Eric Leslie Edney R160560 Merchant Navy

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by JoshGE, Dec 23, 2020.

  1. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone could help me with finding out any more information about my grandfather in relation to his time in the Merchant Navy during WW2 that I can use as evidence when applying for his medals. He never claimed them and died in 2007 aged 85. I have found some voyage records on Ancestry, FindMyPast, and Family Search and have also found some records in The National Archives but I suspect I have missed some as I do not know what I am doing with TNA. Would anyone be able to help? Back in 2013/14 my dad applied for the Arctic Star for his dad and hired a researcher to do some digging in TNA to find any evidence of entitlement to that medal. He did not find any entitlement to the medal based on the records he found but did find him to be entitled to the War Medal 1939-1945 and the France and Germany Star. I have since found records that add up to over 360 days at sea during the war and would have him eligible for the 1939-1945 Star and the Atlantic Clasp to his France and Germany Star, though I am sure it should be the other way around with the France and Germany Clasp to the Atlantic Star since he served throughout the entire war and as of yet I have not found any evidence of voyages in 1943 so there must be 2 months worth of voyages before his September-November 1944 voyage that earned him the F&G Star that would entitle him to the Atlantic Star with F&G Clasp. I would appreciate any help.
     
  2. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    A place to start might be with HMAS Esperance Bay. A date of engagement is given with the HMAS Esperance Bay as 23 November 1939 which is also the date of her commissioning into the Royal Australian Navy. I have downloaded the merchant shipping movement cards 1939-1945 for Esperance Bay from TNA but there are no cards for 1939 so I do not know how long he was onboard for (the next port of arrival after 23 Nov 1939). He signed a T124 agreement to serve on the ship and I believe he served on it before the war too.
     
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Josh I am sure one of our Merchant Navy experts will be along shortly to assist you further

    regards
    Clive
     
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Apply for a veterans badge or a medal

    Apply for a UK merchant seafarers veterans badge
    Apply for a UK merchant navy medal

    If you apply for them then they will check out his service and verify which medals he (or you) should be issued with. The people at the medals office have always been very co operative and helpful so you can always ring them for help and advise

    The criteria for award of medals is shown here Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility

    TD
     
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  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Josh,
    If you can bear with me while I get sorted in my house I will tell you all you need about MN records for your grandfather.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
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  6. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Thank you everyone for your replies,

    I will have to try your advice TD and see if anything new is found. I have seen the UK Merchant Navy Medal before and wondered if it was worth applying for on behalf of a deceased WW2 merchant navy veteran. Surely their service across the Atlantic and other oceans in the face of U-boats, mines, enemy aircraft, ships, and extreme waves & weather, to keep the country functioning and able to defend itself during a state of total war while facing a death rate (not casualty rate) of 1 in 6 should be considered meritorious? Unfortunately I highly doubt they will actually grant my grandfather posthumously the MNM because only 20 are allowed to be awarded each year, and if that was the case, they would probably all be 20 WW2 merchant seamen! I will still apply for it none the less to get them to look for records for me. Also thanks a lot Hugh, I will await your response as I will take any help I can get with this!

    All the best,

    Josh
     
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  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Josh,
    Firstly, evidence of service for medals has to be official documentation. Ancestry, FMP and online documentation although good for you and a place to start will not suffice as evidence.
    I have been through the process many times and I am happy to help you through it.

    Registry of Shipping and Seamen,
    Anchor Court, Keen Road,
    Cardiff
    CF24 5JW
    Tel. No: 0203 90 85206
    Email: seafarers.registry@mcga.gov.uk

    So not really knowing what steps you have taken so far, the first thing I would suggest is contacting the Registry of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff to check whether there is a medal entitlement for him. Just because it comes up blank on a search does not mean they do not have one for him. Of course if you are sure he or his NoK did not apply for them then fair enough just approach them for a medal application form which they will send to you. It has to be signed by next of kin and you will need copies of evidence of service and copy of a death certificate.

    In the absence of his discharge book - which I am assuming you do not have - you will need to provide evidence of area and time qualification. The acceptable evidence of service will be his form CRS 10 [time qualification] which will list his ships from Jan, 1941. Prior to Jan 1941, if he has a surviving seaman's pouch then he may have a CR2 card giving details of ships otherwise you will need crew agreements from his first known ship in 1941 and work backwards [I can advise].
    Once you know the ship's he served in then you need the movement cards for those ships to determine the theatres of the war they operated in [time qualification]. Movement cards are available online and free of charge if you sign in to TNA Kew website. Once you have the information, complete and sign the application form and send it off.

    So the most important file you need is his CRS 10 which should be held at TNA Kew in piece BT 382/531
    This will list all his ships including sign on/off and ports of engagement and discharge etc. This file is best obtained by visit to Kew or via a researcher as not available online. Note if he served after 1965 I will need to give you another file.

    Here are some files you may already have but if not I would advise you obtain them:
    Seaman's pouch piece BT 372/113/107
    Combined Office Merchant Navy Operations [COMNO] pouch - BT 391/30/130
    also proof of service for France and Germany Star.
    T124X pouch - although I believe the contents in this pouch are empty - BT 390/34/23

    I hope that gives you something to go on in the New Year. Any questions please feel free to ask.
    Happy Christmas.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
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  8. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Hi Hugh,

    thanks for all the information. I'm not that good with navigating TNA so it will help a lot. I have attached all of the records I have of my grandfathers ww2 service including the TNA records from when my dad tried to get Eric the Arctic Star (unsuccessfully) so you can get an idea of what records I have on him so far. Would I be able to use the Ancestry and FMP records to find the crew agreement records for my grandfather? Just to note my grandfather served from 1937-1950. I am not sure but I believe the records you have listed should be among the ones I have uploaded. I have seen some CR 2 records among the TNA records I have but I have not seen any CR 10 records which you have mentioned are the most important. I will have to get these ones too. Is there a way to have the archivists at TNA scan it and send it to me free of charge for the CR 10 records as they have done this with other records of my grandfathers before? Or will I have to buy it to see it? I doubt I will be able to visit in person with Covid going on. The ships I know her served on during WW2 (though some of the ships I only have proof of him being on through Ancestry and FMP records which are the crew list records at the start of the massive block of files I've uploaded with this message) are: HMAS Esperance bay, SS Ceramic (he was onboard her when she collided with the SS Testbank on 11 Aug 1940 - I only know this as I have the photos he took of the huge gaping hole left in the side of Ceramic and of the passengers evacuating via the lifeboats; he never spoke of the war so I only found out that fact a few days ago when I identified them with similar ones online ever. I also know he was sunk at least once during the war), Empire Cadet, SS Arabian Prince, SS Hektoria, SS Ile-De-France, SS Sameveron, and SS Colonial (CCN Portuguese Colonial Line - Neutral in WW2). His voyage with the Empire Cadet from 12 September- 24 November 1944 was listed as a "special operation" and I assume it is a COMNO record, the one which earned him the France and Germany Star last time my dad applied for the Arctic Star as well as the War Medal 1939-1945 (as I believe earning any star qualifies you for the War Medal 1939-1945 irrespective of length of service, but I'm not sure so don't quote me!). When I mentioned him being sunk (at least once) earlier, could the date of this be given on the records I have? I say this because on the two pink/purple/red CR 1 records I have uploaded, it says on the first one "Renewal Book Issued free Original reported lost through enemy action 3/5/41" and on the second "Renewal, Original destroyed by enemy action". Thanks for any help you can give with any of these questions, and thanks for the ones you've helped with so far! I will have to wait until London is out of tier 4 before I can attempt to get hold of my grandfathers CR 10 records though.

    Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Regards,

    Josh
    record-image_ (2).jpg record-image_ (4).jpg 41039_b001566-00017.jpg NYT715_6625-0199.jpg NYT715_6808-0528.jpg NYT715_6565-0646.jpg NYT715_6903-0121.jpg Screenshot_8.jpg Screenshot_9.jpg Screenshot_10.jpg Screenshot_11.jpg Screenshot_12.jpg Screenshot_13.jpg Screenshot_14.jpg Screenshot_15.jpg Screenshot_16.jpg Screenshot_17.jpg Screenshot_8 (1).jpg image_67127809.JPG image_67160065.JPG image_67168513.JPG image_67182081.JPG image_67182593.JPG image_67173633.JPG image_67141633.JPG image_67202817.JPG image_67202561.JPG Screenshot_9 (1).jpg
     
  9. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Sorry about the images I thought they would attach as links rather than as entire full size images!!
     
  10. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    He would not be entitled to the U.K. merchant navy medal

    however he is entitled to the U.K. merchant navy seafarers veteran badge if born in the U.K. this is the veterans badge with the red ensign behind it

    he would also be entitled to the 39-45 star and war medal and any other campaign stars

    normally Atlantic France &germany

    hope this helps
     
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  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Josh,
    Yes, you have most of the records as I can see his pouches - Seaman's, COMNO, T124X. The important one you do not have is his CRS 10 - don't get it confused with a CR 10 which is a different record not applicable to your grandfather. This form will hopefully tell you which ships he served in beginning Jan, 1941 until he leaves the service. It should also tell you the ship he was aboard when sunk 3.5.1941 and also any ships that would have taken him into Arctic waters. Unfortunately there is no way Kew will get this record and send it to you free of charge.

    He also appears to have served on WAIMANA in 1937. Also when aboard HEKTORIA he was not serving as crew but a passenger probably outward bound to join a ship in New York.

    I also agree with James that he would not be entitled to the UK Merchant Navy medal but with regard to the campaign stars you will only get what you can prove with official records and unfortunately the Ancestry and FMP stuff will not do. You can also obtain crew agreements for the ships if required but again will need a visit to Kew or obtain via a researcher.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  12. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Hi Hugh, sorry for the late reply,

    It looks like I'll need to get my hands on his CRS 10 records and crew agreements especially for pre-1941 voyages. I will have to wait though until TNA is open again, however long that may be. Thanks for all the help with the records as before I didn't know how to navigate and find MN records in TNA and I had no idea what clarified as "official" records - I thought Ancestry and FMP would suffice but now I know better! I have a few last questions, is it possible that he does not have his CRS 10 record in TNA? I'm not sure why else the paid researcher back in 2013 would not have provided my dad with this. If this is the case, would I be able to find and use crew agreements based off of the ships I know he was on with Ancestry and FMP records as well as the TNA records I have in order to prove entitlement alongside merchant shipping movement cards? I'm not sure what crew agreement records are like but I was wondering if they would show if my grandfather had sailed multiple voyages on the same ship, e.g. was a crew agreement made every time he went on a voyage on the same ship/did the crew agreement state he would be onboard for however many voyages, or could you not tell from the crew agreement alone?

    Also I thought that only the veteran themselves (or their wife if the veteran had died) could apply for the UK MN seafarers veteran badge James? I will have to look at the entitlement again for that.

    Kind regards,

    Josh
     
  13. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Josh, I will reply to the rest of your post as soon as I can. Just to confirm you cannot apply for the UK merchant seafarers badge as it is a "survivor's badge". The only exception would be if his widow was in receipt of a war pension.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  14. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Hi Hugh,

    thanks for the clarification, that is what I thought the entitlement was. His wife Doris died in 2011 aged 91 and was not in receipt of a war pension so there is no entitlement to the UK merchant seafarers badge then. I await your reply eagerly, I'm currently wondering whether or not I will actually be able to find the records to prove any further entitlement to anymore WW2 medals since it may be possible his CRS 10 is not in TNA like his discharge book.

    Best regards,

    Josh
     
  15. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Josh,

    Firstly, research at Kew, not all researchers are created equally :) which I found to my cost a long time ago when starting to research my father's service. Many are generic i.e.; they may know a little about a lot - WW2 is a huge subject. So best if your researcher knows how to research your specific interest i.e., the Merchant Navy would help and would probably save you a lot of money in the long run.

    Secondly, on saying that, I could be doing your researcher a disservice and he/she never found your grandfather's CRS 10 because it has not survived which is possible. Like lots of filing systems the file could have been lost, misfiled or otherwise not present. That is why I gave you the file reference so you can get someone to actually look where the file is supposed to be rather than ask a generic question like can you find all the records for...? If you know where the files you want are held then at least you can point your guy in the right direction. That is where forums like WW2 Talk come in to their own as the guys on here are all interested in WW2 and many are knowledgeable in the different subject areas that make up this genre.


    His discharge book would never have been held at TNA - this book is the seaman's and belongs to him alone. No copies were kept and the only record that records similar would be his CRS 10.

    Crew Agreements are official documents and would suffice as evidence along with movement cards if his CRS 10 has not survived. Crew Agreements are held in yearly block order and are very useful to researchers as they usually show the seaman's previous ship. You ask if they record multiple voyages? They record a ship's voyages for the whole year showing when signed on and off and in which ports etc. He could easily have done more than one voyage on the same ship and if voyages were done consecutively then it would be marked "Same" in previous ship column. Best to try and go for CRS 10 and movements first as using Crew Agreements is going to cost you time and money and you need some luck as well.

    I note form your post #2 mention of ESPERANCE BAY. She was never commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy but rather she was requsitioned by the Admiralty for service in the Royal Navy as an armed merchant cruiser.

    Just keep them coming if you have more questions, I will help if and when I can.

    Regards

    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
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  16. JoshGE

    JoshGE Member

    Hi Hugh,

    Thanks for the detailed response! That puts my worries about his CRS 10 to rest - hopefully I can get a paid copy whenever TNA opens up again and I'll show them the file reference you gave me. Also, for pre-1941 WW2 voyages that would not be recorded on the CRS10, should I use the crew agreements there instead? I know he was aboard HMS Esperance Bay (ON 151802) with a T124 agreement on 23 November 1939 (I believe in Australia - and it was as you correctly said an armed merchant cruiser with the RN not the RAN) and was trained on her No.5 (I assume that means 5th out of 7) 6-inch naval gun. I also know he was aboard SS Ceramic (ON 135474) on 16 July 1940. These are both recorded on the TNA record I attached below. I also know he was aboard the SS Ceramic when it collided with SS Testbank on 11 August 1940 as he has photographs of the gaping hole in the side of Ceramic and the passengers evacuating in life boats which I only very recently identified by pure luck when I came across similar photos online which match on a website called "Ahoy - Mac's Web Log". I assume that getting the crew agreements for these pre-1941 voyages would be a good idea and I have the UK Official Number of both ships. Hopefully I would be able to find out the ships he was on before them too via those crew agreements. Also, with the second image attached, does any of that mean anything relevant or is it all just dates of issuing of "ration cards and books issued etc". I have seen ME written amongst those numbers and dates a few times for dates around 46-49. Could that stand for Middle East or Mediterranean? Possibly he served on ships during the Palestine Emergency and could be entitled to a Palestine Claps to the 1918 GSM?

    Thanks again for all the help so far! I came onto this sight clueless about Merchant Navy records but I'm slowly getting the hang of it!

    Best regards,

    Josh
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