Essex Regiment & Essex Militia History

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2nd Lieutenant Frank Bernard Wearne VC

Frank Bernard Wearne was born on 1 March 1894, the second of 4 sons, to Frank and Ada Wearne. Franks father was a successful wine dealer and the family lived in a nice home in Greencroft Gardens, Hamstead.

2nd Lt Warne VC

Photo from Essex Regiment vol 6 by J W Burrows

At the time that he joined the 3rd Essex Battalion the family were living at Worcester Park, Surrey.

2nd Lt Wearne  was then attached to the 10th Essex Regiment where on 5th June 1916 while he was the Battalion Scouting Officer where he was able to take a German prisoner in no mans land. The information gained proved important enough for 2nd Lt Wearne to be thanked by the Brigadier.

He achieved respect and a reputation as a plucky and resourceful officer.

While on patrol on 3 July 1916 he received a wound that required treatment away from the front line.

On his return to duty 2nd Lt Wearne was attached to the 11th Essex (Service) Battalion.

Sadly his older Brother Captain Keith Morris Wearne also of the Essex Regiment was killed in action on 21 May 1917 shortly before the family lost their second son.

On 28 June 1917 2nd Lieut Wearne was in command of 2 sections of the 11th Essex  during the Battle of Loos.

His mission was to act as part of a larger raiding party on the German lines.

The London Gazette dated 31st July, 1917, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a small party on the left of a raid on the enemy's trenches. He gained his objective in the face of much opposition and by his magnificent example and daring was able to maintain this position for a considerable time, according to instructions. During this period 2nd Lt. Wearne and his small party were repeatedly counter-attacked. Grasping the fact that if the left flank was lost his men would have to give way, 2nd Lt. Wearne, at a moment when the enemy's attack was being heavily pressed and when matters were most critical, leapt on the parapet and, followed by his left section, ran along the top of the trench, firing and throwing bombs. This unexpected and daring manoeuvre threw the enemy off his guard and back in disorder. Whilst on the top of the trench 2nd Lt. Wearne was severely wounded, but refused to leave his men. Afterwards he remained in the trench directing operations, consolidating his position and encouraging all ranks. Just before the order to withdraw was given, this gallant officer was again severely hit for the second time, and while being carried away was mortally wounded. By his tenacity in remaining at his post though severely wounded, and his magnificent fighting spirit, he was enabled to hold on to the flank."

In October 1917 the father of 2nd Lieut Wearne was invited to Buckingham palace where the King presented him with the Victoria Cross awarded to his son.

2nd Lieut Wearne is buries in the military cemetery at Loos along with so man of his colleagues

The VC that he won is displayed along with many other VC's at the Lord Ashcroft gallery of the Imperial War Museum in London.