confused and needing clarification!

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by daisy1942, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    My father in law's wedding cert. says "Gunner RA now on war service". his name does not appear in RA records.
    1. As i understand it there was a "hostilities only" maritime unit where RA gunners were assigned to ships as DEMS gunners (correct me if I am wrong!).
    2. Again as i understand it DEMS gunners signed on as "ships crew".
    3. Did DEMS gunners have CRS10 records? As they do not seem to appear in RA records.

    Any advice how to trace a DEMS gunner from 1940 - 1942 would be very much appreciated!
     
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    Hopefully the forum maritime expert Hugh MacLean will pick up on this topic and will be able to answer your queries.

    Good Luck

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Ships' crews could provide gunners but the Gunners of the Maritime Regiments, RA were proper soldiers and paid as such (they didn't get the MN danger money but did get paid if their ship was sunk - not much consolation, I suspect).

    As for records, it would be best to apply for his from the MoD, although they may not identify the ships he was on.
     
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  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    When you say that his name does not appear in Royal Artillery records, which ones do you mean? Have you looked in the Royal Artillery attestation papers which can be found on Find my past?
     
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  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    There are numerous posts and threads on the Forum from this member. She's confused and so am I. One day it may all become clear.

    Tim
     
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  6. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Tim,
    My confusion concerns solely the records of DEMS gunners. I have been told that both the RA and the Merchant Navy hold them.

    As to my many posts - when I first tried to track Dad I knew very little about him and nothing at all about his early life. As time has progressed and I have found out more, it has raised lots of questions.
     
  7. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Thanks Idler,

    This has raised some questions for me as I remember a comment about not being paid when a ship sunk!. Also asking the MoD could be a little difficult as Dad went by more than one name!
     
  8. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi hugh,

    I have tried both FMP and contacted the RA and could not find a record of him. The situation is not helped by the fact that I have two different names for him!
     
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Can you give us his name as we might be able to find something?
     
  10. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi,

    For many many years I searched for his records under the name Dominic Michael Stringer. If you enter that name in a search engine you will finds a huge number of entries charting my search. This link was written some years back but provides what I knew of him at that time. Stringer-Dominic-Michael

    However, tStringer was not his birth name. his birth name was Dominic Cunningham Casey, born in Glasgow 14.4.1922. His wedding certificate (30/12/1940) states "Gunner RA now engaged on war service"
    I know by February 1942 he was in Singapore and escaped successfully. By the end of that year he was in the West Indies under the name of Stringer and in the US Coast Guard! By May 1944 he was in Montreal, Canada and in the British Merchant Navy. From this date I can track his movements because I have a partial CRS10 for him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi again Hazel, let me help you here and these are the facts.
    1. 'Hostilities Only' refers to Royal Navy ratings - wherever you see the word 'hostilities only' in reference to the maritime war it means only Royal Navy. The Maritime Regiment, Royal Artillery were formed for D.E.M.S. duty at sea to help the RN protect merchant shipping which was being sunk at an alarming rate. They sailed sometimes as the only gunners aboard but mostly alongside Royal Navy D.E.M.S. gunners but don't get confused with 'HO' which always refers to the RN.
    2. Yes, they did and can be tracked via Crew Agreements if you know the name of a ship.
    3. CRS = Central Records Section [belonging to the Board of Trade] = Merchant Navy. Military personnel signed the Articles of Agreement as members of the ship's crew under the ship's master but as military personnel their records are held with the Ministry of Defence [MOD]. Royal Navy ratings and Maritime Royal Artillery gunners were not MN so therefore will not have a CRS10 which is only a Merchant seaman's record. Royal Artillery gunners sea service was recorded on a maritime card - some survive, lots do not.

    In answer to your last question - there is only one way in the absence of a maritime card and that is to know the name of a ship he served aboard in 1942 then use Crew Agreements to find him on the ship at that time and usually but not always his previous ship will be shown. You can back track to 1940 using this method and it is a great aid for researchers and I have used in successfully many times but it is not foolproof and you need luck.
    Happy as always to answer your RN or MRA, D.E.M.S. or MN questions - just ask. By the way over 150,000 merchant seamen were trained on D.E.M.S. gunnery to assist the RN and MRA when called to do so. They were never called D.E.M.S. gunners but often Merchant Navy gunners - at least on records.

    You will I am sure see many of my answers to D.E.M.S. questions here and on the web - I usually start with the statement - RN and MRA gunners are very difficult to research - that statement is as true today as it ever was but give me a good lead and I will find him.

    This for me is the crux of the matter and your biggest problem but you already know that. Do you have a death certificate for any of those names? Have you tried sending in an application for his military records


    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have looked through the Royal Artillery Attestation books on line and I can confirm that there are no enlistments before 1942 for anyone by the name of Dominic Michael Stringer or Dominic Cunningham Casey. There are 77 Dominics, 190 Stringers, 177 Caseys and 465 Cunninghams. I have checked all three surnames for those with either Dominic or Michael as a Christian name.

    Given that this individual appears to have had something that he did not wish to disclose, as evidenced by his interchangeable names, it is very likely that he enlisted under an alias. If you use an alias, you need to choose a name that you can remember easily, so it would be sensible to use a name that either uses elements of your own name, or the name of someone you know who you can personate. The real question would appear to be why did he need to use an alias, what was he hiding or running away from?

    Given that the individual is said to have enlisted into H.M. services, it would suggest that he would have enlisted for at least "Hostilities Only", and could only therefore have been officially discharged before the end of hostilities as sick, wounded, dead, or no longer fit for active service. We know that the hostilities did not end in 1942, the year he appeared in the West Indies and the fact that he had changed his name to enlist in the U.S. Coastguard would suggest that he was a deserter.

    Singapore, in December 1941, would have been an ideal location to unilaterally revoke the terms and conditions of one's employment with H.M.'s Forces, providing of course, that you could escape the Japanese and leave the island. A ship to the West Indies and the Americas would seem an obvious choice for starting a new life if you had the means. However, employment in the U.S. Coast Guard would suggest naturalisation or at the very least, false papers.

    I think that an answer to the following questions would be helpful in your search.

    Why did he leave regular employment in the U.S. and move to Canada?
    Was it because he may have been called up to serve in the U.S. Military?
    What name was he using when he enlisted in the Merchant Navy in Montreal?
    Was it a name that he had used before?

    I have found a deserter from the Royal Artillery by the name of Michael Joseph Casey, which contains two names that he was known to use. This is almost certainly coincidence, but given what I have stated above, it might be worth checking out.

    Simon


    Michael Joseph casey.png
     
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  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The only Dominic Michael Stringer that I can locate in the right time frame was born in 1919 and his death was registered in 1986 in Tower Hamlets. I have also found a reference to a Dominic Stringer in a 1968 newspaper, where he is described as a 50 year old electrician.
     
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  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have just read the web page regarding Dominic Michael Stringer via the link that you provided and the only fact that I can verify is that a man of this name died in London in 1986. If, as you say, he was born in Ireland in 1919, why do you now think that he was called Dominic Cunningham Casey, born in Glasgow in 1922?

    It is entirely probable that Dominic Michael Stringer was a Merchant Seaman and that his travels to Singapore, Jamaica, North America and Canada were entirely legitimate. What is less likely is that a Merchant Seaman joined the Royal Artillery in order to become a Gunner on a merchant vessel without leaving a trace in Military Records.
     
  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have checked the Medals issued to Merchant Seaman 1939/45 records (BT 395) on the National Archives web site and I have found that no medals were issued to anyone called Dominic Michael Stringer.
     
  16. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Re medals - that just means that none were issued or claimed by relatives or if they were issued the record does not survive. For the medals to be issued D.M. Stringer's service would need to be proved using service records and movement cards. Hazel's only MN record gives no discharge book number and only records service from 1944. The D.M. Stringer death registered in Tower Hamlets is I believe the person that Hazel is researching.
    regards
    Hugh
     
  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am well aware of the implications but as a researcher I have to deal with verifiable facts. Yes, indeed he may have been entitled to service medals and yes, he may not have applied for them or the documentary evidence has been lost, but years of research by the original poster has produced very few verifiable facts. I have tried starting from scratch this morning and have, via a post from Tricky Dicky on another thread, seen documentary evidence that a man called D.M. Stringer served as an engineer in the Merchant Navy.

    From the few records available I can only say with any certainty that Dominic Michael Stringer was born in 1919, was serving as an engineer in the Merchant Navy in 1945 when he left Bombay for Liverpool via Port Said, was convicted of drunkenness in Fulham in 1968 and died in the borough of Tower Hamlets in 1986. Without documentary evidence, everything else is just conjecture and the opening phrase on the original poster's link to the FEPOW site, "Dominic told a tale" may be the only statement that can be accepted without verification..

    That said, I do not doubt that there are records, that I do not have access to, that might confirm the original poster's narrative.I look forward to them being produced.

    Simon.
     
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  18. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Quite apart from how did he get into the US Coast Guard is the question of how did he leave? Any one joining after 1 February 1942 was signed on as a Regular Reservist and was obligated to serve for "the duration plus six" months. His arrival in Canada must mean that he jumped ship. If so he could have been a double deserter and would certainly have been on some wanted list in the USA
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  19. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    That is not in doubt Simon, and good luck. Hazel the o/p has been searching on and off the web for quite some time - I pointed her to the MN records available some time ago and she has copied them to me in the past. He was certainly due medals for his service in the MN but we don't know the full picture prior to 1944 as nothing exists in MN records. this thread appears to be looking into any possible service as MRA, DEMS which is something that Hazel has been checking. She certainly has staying power and good luck to her but it can be quite confusing for everyone who is trying to help as the request is on lots of sites on the web with little bits added here and there and a full list of the known facts is I suppose only with Hazel.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  20. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi Simon,

    Many thanks for your informative response. It gives me much food for thought. I have tried to answer to some of your points.

    "Given that this individual appears to have had something that he did not wish to disclose, as evidenced by his interchangeable names, it is very likely that he enlisted under an alias...."
    Dad claimed he had "to get out of Glasgow in a hurry" and later when his son wanted to go to Glasgow to find out about his Dad's childhood he was told "if they find out who you are they will kill you" Certainly, the Casey Dad and elder brothers were not averse to bending the law when it suited them, so there may be some truth in those comments.

    "We know that the hostilities did not end in 1942, the year he appeared in the West Indies and the fact that he had changed his name to enlist in the U.S. Coastguard would suggest that he was a deserter."
    I have received a message earlier this evening that there is a Cunningham Casey listed on a tree on ancestry which lists "Military service
    Possible RA record for Cunningham Casey was posted missing 15.2.42 later assumed P.O.W. Regiment: Royal Artillery; Rank: Gunner; Service number: 1112401" Obviously this needs looking into and some careful research!!!


    I
    "A ship to the West Indies and the Americas would seem an obvious choice for starting a new life if you had the means. However, employment in the U.S. Coast Guard would suggest naturalisation or at the very least, false papers."

    Here I have a "chicken and egg" situation. As far as I can tell from the information I have discovered so far Dad arrived in Trinidad late in 1942. By the end of January 1943 he was married to a girl from Barbados - did he do this to obtain the right to stay in the West Indies?

    I think that an answer to the following questions would be helpful in your search.

    "Why did he leave regular employment in the U.S. and move to Canada?"
    Wellandoc was his last known ship before he transferred into the British Merchant Navy. It was registered under the Panamanian flag but assigned to a Canadian company - Paterson Steamship Company. I cannot trace any voyage record cards or log books for this ship.


    "What name was he using when he enlisted in the Merchant Navy in Montreal? Was it a name that he had used before?"
    He signed on Samspeed as an engineer using Dominic Michael Stringer - the same name he used on his Wedding certificate in 1943.

    "I have found a deserter from the Royal Artillery by the name of Michael Joseph Casey, which contains two names that he was known to use. This is almost certainly coincidence, but given what I have stated above, it might be worth checking out."
    I think this is well worth some research - thank you! Joseph is another name used in the Casey family!

    Thanks again
    Daisy1942
    (Hazel)
     

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