Author Topic: DEMS Gunner Records  (Read 462 times)

Offline Chicken Nugget

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DEMS Gunner Records
« on: Saturday 23 November 19 21:35 GMT (UK) »
My Grandfather was a DEMS gunner in WW2. I am having a lot of trouble finding his service record. The main reason for this is that I would like to apply for the Arctic Star on behalf of my father as my grandfather served on the Arctic convoys. I know a couple of ships he served on and I have his service number but nothing much else. Can anyone tell me where i can find his service record?

Offline seaweed

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 23 November 19 21:54 GMT (UK) »
Welcome to rootschat!
DEM'S Gunners are always difficult to reseach not least because they could be Royal Navy or belong to one of the Royal Artillery Maritime Regiments. Several thousand Merchant Seamen were also trained as DEMS.
First we have to establish which service your Grandad served with.
Could you give us his his full name, date and place of birth together with his Service Number and the names of any ships he may have served on and we can take it from there.
Do you know if he received any Campaign medals?
Dim ateb yn well nag ateb anghywir. Nid oes dim yn ddall fel rhai nad ydynt yn dymuno gweld

Offline Chicken Nugget

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 23 November 19 22:15 GMT (UK) »
Hi Seaweed. His name was Allan Edward Turner. Service number JX227648. I think he joined 2/10/40. I do know he served on the SS Empire Lightning and I believe he served on the Duchess of Atholl when it was sunk, but survived. He was awarded the Italy Star, Atlantic Star and the 1939-1945 Star.
Many Thanks


Offline HMac

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 24 November 19 12:56 GMT (UK) »
Hello and welcome, Seaweed has already stated that D.E.M.S are very difficult to research and that is very true.

Firstly, you need to obtain his service record from the MoD – that has got to be your starting point.
https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records - cost would be £30.

You should complete the application form and also tell them he was a D.E.M.S. gunner and ask specifically for a search of his Pay and Victualing record – this is important as his military record will not mention any of the merchant ships he sailed on. P & V search will probably delay the return of his full record – or you may get a partial record with the remainder to follow - but it is the way to go. P & V searching is not fool proof however so it is good to have an alternative research plan. This alternative plan would involve the search of Merchant Navy Crew Agreements because we know that D.E.M.S. gunners signed the articles of agreement therefore they will be visible on Crew Agreements. The CA will usually, but not always, show his previous ship so you do need a bit of luck using this method. The most important and crucial thing though is you need to know the name of a ship to begin with and it would be best if that known ship was nearer the end of the war so that it gives you a chance to backtrack to the beginning. Ship sinkings are a negative factor when backtracking though as the logbook would have gone down with the ship and records were completed using shore-side information and only the bear minimum would be recorded.
 
I believe he was born about 1902? If so, I have also found him aboard EMPIRE LIGHTNING in 1943, and probably BRITISH CHARACTER in 1944 and the Norwegian GC BROVIG in 1945. He is noted as a deck hand in all but GC BROVIG where his rating is given as PO/GL [petty officer – gun layer] – he would be the senior military gunner aboard this ship.

Do you know which ship’s he served on while on Arctic Convoys? This is where the P & V would be very useful but if that fails you can resort to searching the known Crew Agreements.
Regards
Hugh   
Merchant Navy Research
ss CITY OF CAIRO

Offline seaweed

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 24 November 19 13:09 GMT (UK) »
Hello Hugh,
I was just about to contact you on this one. Beat me to it!

Chicken Nugget. Neither EMPIRE LIGHTNING or  DUCHESS OF ATHOLL and the two vessels mentioned by Hugh were involved in Arctic Convoys.
It's important to get hold of his service records.
Dim ateb yn well nag ateb anghywir. Nid oes dim yn ddall fel rhai nad ydynt yn dymuno gweld

Offline aussiesailor

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 05:51 BST (UK) »
Hi folk, my father was in the British Merchant Navy during the war, and was trained as a gunner. I have a lot of info on him. My wife's father, on the other hand, was a DEM. His name is George Fowler Taylor, born 27 June 1916. I have his service number (JX339236), a copy of his service certificates showing he did training at Glendower and Wellesley. His accounting base was President III. He joined Glendower as an OD on 13/7/42, and paid off in 1946 (can't read the month). He has the Atlantic and Pacific stars. I want to identify the merchant ships he was on. From forum posts, I think I need to get the next of kin to request pay records (as a starting point). However, does anyone have any other advice for me? Thanks in advance.

Offline seaweed

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 14:07 BST (UK) »
Apart from the advice offered by Hugh (above) theres very little to add. Get hold of his Pay and Victualling record from the MOD.
 Logbooks and crew agreements of British merchant vessels, for the period of WW2 are stored in the British National Archive, mainly in the series BT380 and BT381. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/advanced-search
You cannot see the documents online and you would need to visit in person or appoint a researcher to look for you.
These records are catalogued by the ships official number. Names and official number can be viewed on this site.
http://www.crewlist.org.uk/#Data
 Glendower was a seamanship training establishment at Pwllheli and Wellesley a DEMS training Establishment at Liverpool.
Dim ateb yn well nag ateb anghywir. Nid oes dim yn ddall fel rhai nad ydynt yn dymuno gweld

Offline aussiesailor

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Re: DEMS Gunner Records
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 29 July 20 06:06 BST (UK) »
thanks seaweed, that is most helpful. I'll go down the suggested track.