HMS A-7
Message Board

1.
July 11, 2010

In 1959 we bought a Royal Navy officer's sword at an Antique shop in Polperro. It was in nice condition and engraved G. M.Welman, R.N. When I've cleaned it, I've wondered for 50 years who G. M.Welman was. I'd written to the Imperial War Museum with little success and then last week, I found it! My computer earned its keep for once. So all these years later, his sword stands in my living room and I can give a thought to a brave young man and his comrades in HMS A-7 in 1914.

Thank you,
Beryl Johansen
Springfield, Oregon

Reply 1
Oct. 7, 2010

I was looking on the internet this morning for some information on Lt. Henry 'Sunny' Welman, Royal Marines (Gilbert's younger brother) who was killed on the Western Front in 1916, and I was very pleasantly surprised to come across your posting of Lt. Gilbert Welman's sword on MaritimeQuest from July.

Gilbert Molesworth 'Gibby' Welman (1889-1914) is my great-great-uncle (my great-grandmother's older brother). He was the third and eldest son in a family of eight who spent their childhoods in various locations across the UK and Europe. He went into the Royal Navy (at some ridiculously young age) as one of the last cadets to be based on wooden training ships. He then travelled as a midshipman to the Far East and Australia on both surface ships and submarines (the first ones to travel that far).

In 1914, he inherited Trewarthenick House just outside Truro, Cornwall on the death on his aunt. As you will be aware, he died shortly after that so leaving the house to his middle brother, Paul. The house and contents were sold by Paul and his family in the 1950's from whence the sword appeared in the antiques shop in Polperro. Gilbert left a girlfriend named Enid Russell-Brown who was subsequently close with his younger brother, Sunny, who was then killed in France two years later.
 
If you are interested, I could send you some excerpts from my great-grandmother's memoirs which refer to Gilbert and send you a copy of a photograph of him.

Yours sincerely,
Charles Tarvin 
Harpenden, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom



Reply 2
Oct. 12, 2010

Lt. Gilbert Welman's sword is flying to Santa Monica tonight to Mr. Tarvin's mother. Mr. Tarvin is going there for Christmas, whether he'll take it home with him, I've no idea. But it is out of my hands, after what he described was a 50 year deployment in Oregon. Mr. Tarvin said he'd send me a photo copy of Gilbert with some historical detail. So now that saga has ended. I found the receipt for the purchase, The Old Curiosity Shop in Polperro, I wonder if it still exists! I've mailed that to Mr. Tarvin, part of the history, that Monday morning, crisp and sunny. Seems like yesterday to me.

Regards and thanks,
Beryl Johansen

Reply 3
Oct. 17, 2010

Thank you for the part you played in bringing my great uncle Gilbert Welman's sword back to his family. We are all deeply touched by Mrs. Johansen's generous gesture and the sword will be truly home when it leaves California and returns to England in the not to distant future. I believe that my son will be forwarding you some pictures of Gilbert. Thank you so much. The family are all very appreciative and delighted to have the sword back in the family. 

Lis Tarvin



Reply 4
June 5, 2017

Dear Charles,
I have come across your name haphazardly researching “Gibby” who was engaged to my great-Aunt (Enid) who I can remember very clearly as a very old lady. Gibby was undoubtedly the love of my Aunt's life – even though she eventually married many years later it was neither a happy nor harmonious time. I now live in her house and thought it would amuse you to know that even though we live on thin chalky soil, our ferns taken from Trewarthewick are still growing strongly. What a lovely story about your great uncle's sword.

Kind regards,
Robert FitzPatrick

 
Lt. Gilbert Welman's sword.
(Photo courtesy of Beryl Johansen)





To post a message, comment or reply please email the webmaster.
All replies will be forwarded to the original sender.


Message Board
Page published June 2, 2007