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Malcolm12hl

Stoker, later Sub-Lieutenant, William Stephen Cole, C.G.M., D.S.M., Royal Naval Division

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Malcolm12hl

While working on a project surveying the backgrounds and service careers of the first seamen and stokers to enter the Royal Navy through the newly introduced Special Service scheme in 1903, I have come across a very interesting character who I would love to know about.  Stoker WILLIAM STEPHEN COLE, S.S.100113, a native of Dover, enlisted in October 1903, and although his entry was deemed "fraudulent" because he was an Army Reservist (itself perhaps a bit unusual as he was only 22), the Army waived its claim on him and he was able to continue with his naval career.  He was discharged to the Royal Fleet Reserve in 1908 after the mandated 5 years of active service, and was called up in August 1914 and, like many other reservists was packed off to participate in the defence of Antwerp.  From this point on, his career began to blossom.  He was awarded the D.S.M. for his actions in Belgium between 3 and 9 September 1914.  He then went to Gallipoli with the Hood Battalion on the R.N.D., where he was wounded on 15 May 1915.  He was then awarded the C.G.M., which was gazetted on 13 September 1915, the same date on which he was commissioned a Sub-Lieutenant in the R.N.D., capping an eventful and distinguished year of active service.

 

I have no idea of what happened to him after he was commissioned, and will not be going back to the National Archives until the New Year, so I would be very interested to hear anything Forum members can add to this fascinating story.

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Dianne Buckley

Fascinated that you have shown interest in my Grandfather Capt. William Stephen James Cole CGM, DSM (1881-1953).  He served in the East Kent Regiment (the Buffs) during the Boer War (including Johannesburg, Driefontein, Paardeberg, Relief of Kimberley) before joining the Navy and the Hood Battalion.  During the second world war he served in the Civil Defence.  Unfortunately, I was only 3 years old when he died, but I believe he was quite a character and very Victorian!  He and my Grandmother had 13 children: one son, Thomas (Grenadier Guards) was killed at Nijmegen.  My Father (Major Reginald Stanley Cole MBE) was a career soldier - having been at the Duke of York's School in Dover, he then went in to the RASC (later RCT) serving in India/Burma during the war.  

 

I was aware that my Grandfather had been in the RAF, but do not have any knowledge of his time with this service.  I hope this is of interest

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michaeldr
Posted (edited)

1846494468_ColeHoodBtnRND.jpg.0d5845d66bf91801cf6ae9773e2021d1.jpg

 

This is a potted version of Cole's record as given by Len Sellers in his magazine RND, issue No.18, September 2001; see page 1770.

The record is give by Len, as Cole receives several mentions in the diaries of Sub-Lieut James Curzon Hilton as transcribed in the above issue of RND and in issue No.20 of March 2002.

Alas, these brief mentions amount to passing references only, nevertheless they may be of some interest.

A disc with the complete run of 24 issues of Lens Sellers' magazine RND is available from The Crystal Palace Foundation – see http://www.crystalpalacefoundation.org.uk/shop/world-war-one-two/royal-naval-division

Edited by michaeldr

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