Merchant Navy records

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Kernow bys vyken, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Hi, thank you for accepting me to this group.

    I am trying to trace the ships that my friends father served on as a gunner on DEMS. We know he was paid from HMS Glendower and HMS President iii. He name was Arthur Richard Clarke born 25th April 1922 Bermondsey and his service number was JX 311789.

    He received many ribbons and medals, but like many who went through the war would not speak of it.

    Any help or advise would be greatly received.

    Thank you
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    I have sent a message to our forum man on all things Merchant Navy so just hold tight and he will be along I'm sure

    Is the above all you know of his service?

    From recollection [which is not always right] DEMS gunners were not Merchant Navy but Royal Navy serving on Merchant ships, so would assume he will have a Royal Navy service record, and looking at that service number that also indicates he was RN and not MN - Hugh will enlighten

    Might be worth posting his medals details/photos


    Defensively equipped merchant ship - Wikipedia
    The acronym DEMS was used to describe the ships carrying the guns, the guns aboard the ships, the military personnel manning the guns, and the shore establishment supporting the system.[1]

    D.E.M.S.: Naval Gunners in Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS)
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  3. Thank you Tricky Dicky. I look forward to hearing from Hugh. In the meantime I will list Arthur's medals and ribbons.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    DEMs were both from the Royal Navy and the Royal Artillery
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  6. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello and welcome aboard!
    TD is almost right in that DEMS gunners were military; mainly RN, but also Maritime Royal Artillery and even some other army regiments gave some manpower. Also over 150,000 merchant seamen completed gunnery courses to assist the military gunners while at action stations.
    DEMS gunners can be quite difficult to trace mainly due to the way the RN recorded their service usually the parent accounting base is recorded but the actual sea-going ships may not be shown.
    Firstly, you should obtain his service records as per the link posted by TD. We need to see what they say but you should make sure they do a check on his Pay & Victualing ledger as that will hopefully give up more in the way of ship names. Failing all of that if we have the name of at least one ship we can -with a bit of luck - use Merchant Navy records to help.
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  7. Thank you all. Will send for the records today
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Requests for RN Service Records go to Whale Island, Portsmouth (full address on application form) not Glasgow as intimated above which is for Army Records.

  9. Hi, I now have the list of the medals and ribbons that Arthur received. I don't understand them or what the represent. Would somebody please be kind enough to explain. He received The Star, The Africa Star, The War Medal,The Defence Medal, The Burma Star, The Italy Star, The Atlantic Star and the Territorial Medal. Many thanks
  10. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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  11. Thanks Tim, as it happens I was just looking on that site. I can't seem to find what the Territorial Medal is? I know I am ignorant on these matters, but does it having anything to do with being in the Territorial Army?
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Not only Army

    Territorial Efficiency Medal - Wikipedia

    I believe it has been repaced with
    Volunteer Reserves Service Medal - Wikipedia

    The Volunteer Reserves Service Medal (VRSM) replaced the separate medals that used to be issued to personnel of the separate Reserve Forces in April 1999.
    The VRSM is awarded to both officers and other ranks of the:
    Royal Naval and Royal Marine Reserves
    Army Reserves (formerly the Territorial Army)
    Royal Auxiliary Air Force
    These medals may still be issued for qualifying service ending before 1 April 1999:
    Royal Naval Reserve Decoration
    Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Reserve
    Territorial Decoration
    Efficiency Medal for the Army Reserve
    Air Efficiency Award for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force
    To be considered for the VRSM, you must have:
    10 years’ reckonable service in the Reserve Forces
    earned a training bounty in 9 out of the 10 qualifying years
    If you go on to serve an additional 5 years reckonable service you’ll be issued a clasp. The clasp should be worn on the ribbon of the VRSM.
    There are complex rules for service that has been both regular and reserve.
    If you think you might be eligible, please contact your Unit HR or apply to the MOD Medal Office.
    Further information can be found in DCI JS 53/99 and AP3392 Vol 7 Leaflet 702 Annex B.

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  13. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Reserve Decorations and Efficiency Medals were replaced by the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal. Odd that he should have a Territorial Army Medal if he was in the Navy unless he joined the TA after the war. If you post a copy of the ribbon we will be able to identify the exact medal.

  14. Thank you again Tricky Dicky
  15. This is what my friend sent me. She lives in Gibraltar and has been sending me what she has on her Dad
  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hmmm - thats this one I think Efficiency Medal - Wikipedia

    Interesting as its a George VI one and he died in 1952 - was your relative in African wtaers as that seems to count as double

    The medal could be awarded to part-time warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men after twelve years of continuous efficient service on the active list of the Militia, the Territorial Army or of any other Auxiliary Military Force of the British Empire. Service in West Africa, natives of West Africa and periods spent on leave excluded, and war service were reckoned two-fold as qualifying service for the medal. Service during the period from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1950 inclusive need not have been continuous, while breaks in service under certain specified conditions, though not counting as qualifying service, were not considered as a break in the twelve years of continuous qualifying service for the medal.[1][15][16]

    Could do with a nice clear photo

    I have to say he seems to have a good set there, not may people will have sets like that
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  17. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I'm lost on this one. It is definitely an Army only medal and would not be awarded to someone serving in the RN. The naval equivalent RNR/RNVR medal was (I believe) inscribed with the recipient's name on the rim. Can you ask your friend if there is anything on this medal's rim and if she knows of any reason why her Dad would have been awarded an army medal?

  18. Will do Tim.
  19. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Without hijacking this thread do you know how I’d obtain my grandads service / sailing record? He was merchant during the war.


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