Exceptional Naval and Polar Awards from the Collection of RC Witte

Date of Auction: 13th December 2007

Sold for £550

Estimate: £400 - £500

The Great War and Second World War group of seven awarded to Commander C. B. Elbrow, who was aboard the Conquest in the Lowestoft raid of April 1915, in which action his ship was hit by five 12-inch shells from Scheer’s cruisers - and suffered 23 killed and 13 wounded

1914-15 Star
(Lieut. C. B. Elbrow, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. C. B. Elbrow, R.N.); 1939-45 Star; Defence and War Medals; French Croix de Guerre 1914-1917, very fine and better (7) £400-500


Claude Bertram Elbrow was born in Stoke in December 1888, the son of Engineer Rear-Admiral George Elbrow, and entered the Royal Navy as a Naval Cadet in Britannia in September 1903. Appointed Midshipman in February 1905, and advanced to Lieutenant in December 1910, he was serving as Navigating Officer in the cruiser Andromache on the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.

Removing to the Conquest in March 1915, the flagship of Commodore Tyrwhitt’s Harwich Force, he was quickly in action in the following month, when, on the 24th, Admiral Scheer’s cruisers, having attacked Yarmouth, proceeded to Lowestoft. Tyrwhitt intercepted them, fought a spirited action, and was for 13 minutes subjected to a heavy fire, Conquest taking five 12-inch hits and sustaining casualties of 23 killed and 13 wounded. Elbrow remained actively employed in the Harwich Force until removing to the Dragon in July 1918, a period that witnessed him participating in some hair-raising sorties into the Heligoland Bight - as one officer put it, they were very grateful for their paravanes, for they were constantly cutting mines; so, in fact, it probably came as no great surprise when Conquest did indeed hit a mine in mid-June 1918 - luckily the Curacoa was on hand and towed her back to Sheerness. Elbrow was commended on the same occasion, and awarded the French Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 17 May 1918 refers). Having then been advanced to Lieutenant-Commander in December 1918, served in the Dragon in anti-Bolshevik operations in the Baltic in the following year, he was placed on the Retired List in the rank of Commander in October 1929, in which latter year he took up employment as Assistant Port Officer, Basrah.

Recalled shortly before the renewal of hostilities in 1939, Elbrow served in the Operations Division at the Admiralty, but died of angina in the R.N.H. Chatham, in November 1943.