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AM87

Q Ship RMLI DSM - Help

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AM87

Hi all, straying a little bit out of my comfort zone here as the Royal Navy in WW1 is not my strong point.  I am researching a friends family member who won the DSM in  Feb 1918 for "actions against Submarines in the AtADM-159-53-10867.pdflantic".  I have pulled up his record which i have attached, all i can see is that he was assigned to HMS Chatham and HMS President 2 over these periods and i believe these were shore establishments?  Could anybody help, how can a Royal Marine win the DSM in the atlantic when he is assigned to a shore establishment?  Could it of been a Q Ship action?  His details are Lce.-Corpl. William Samuel Clements, R.M.L.I., No. Ch./10867 (R.F.R.Ch./B1518).

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RNCVR

Hello -- It appears from what I am able to make out on his Service Record that he was employed in DAMS during the period in which he was awarded his DSM.  He was carried on the books of HMS President III at this time - 3 Mar '17 to 1 Jan '19.

 

DAMS = Defensively Armed Merchant Ships.

 

Earlier in the war he was carried on the books of HMS Victory for the RM Brigade from 12 Sep '14, he would have seen service in France as part of the Royal Marine Brigade thus earning a 1914 star (possibly with clasp).  I am unable to read the next entry immediately below this  but he was there until 30 Dec '16 when he was drafted back to the Chatham Division.

 

Horatio will be along shortly to assist you better than I.  RM's are not my  specialty area,

 

Best....Bryan

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RNCVR

Lower right block of his record states that he -- "served at Dunkirk 20 Sep to 2 Oct 1914", & "took part in Defence of Antwerp 3 Oct to 9 Oct 1914",  so he saw some action early in war ashore as part of RM Bde.

Appears he also qualified for the clasp to his 1914 star as he likely saw action during this time.

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AM87
Posted (edited)

Thanks Bryan - ive had a look at the gazette and it looks like (i have found an old thread on here) that when a Q ship sunk a u boat, the whole crew received an award? Could be a clue i guess.  In his records the location of his "action" is given as The Atlantic, if https://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritishQships.htm is correct then here were only 2 u boats sunk by Q ships in the latter half of 1917 - these are:

 

HMS Acton (Q.34), credited by German sources with sinking coastal submarine "UC.72" on 20th August 1917 in Bay of Biscay. Some sources still show her loss due to aircraft attack on the 22nd August 1917. Assuming "Acton" did sink "UC.72" this would have been the last confirmed Q-ship sinking

 

HMS Pargust, damaged 7th June 1917 while sinking coastal minelayer "UC.29" off SW Ireland (third sinking by Cdr Gordon Campbell and his second Q-ship command. Two VCs were awarded by ballot)

 

Perhaps my man was part of the crew on one of these ships?

 

Edited by AM87

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horatio2

1914 Star and Clasp with Chatham Bn RND.  DSM in London Gazette 22/2/18 page 2302 (Services in action with enemy submarines) certainly from his time in DAMS. No hint of a Q-Ship. so a red herring, [DAMS and Q-Ships were totlally different,] Unfortunately WW1 DAMS records are few and we have no way of telling in which medhant ship a man served as gun's crew (unless he was lost in her sinking).

I think the record shows that on 1 Jan 1915 he was drafted from the 'RM Bde' to the 'RND Train', serving with that unit for two years in the MEF and the BEF.

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AM87
Posted (edited)

Thanks Horatio, out of interest how would Q Ship service be annotated on a service record?  I had a quick google of DAMs DSMs and the following appeared as being sold at auction in 2011.  

 

D.S.M. London Gazette 22 February 1918.

Harold Freeman John enlisted in the Welsh Division of the “Wavy Navy” in June 1916 and was decorated for his gallant deeds as a D.A.M.S. Gunner aboard the Marie Suzanne in an engagement with two enemy submarines in the Atlantic in November 1917. Hurd’s history of the Mercantile Marine in the Great War takes up the story:

‘The Marie Suzanne (3,106 tons) had on the 19th fallen some distance astern of her convoy owing to her lack of speed, and she was attacked in quick succession by two submarines. She forced both of them to submerge, firing ten rounds at the first one, and thirty at the second. The Master, Mr. P. E. George, who afterwards received the D.S.C., gave high praise to his gunners for their coolness and good shooting, by which the ship was saved.’

 

This is the same date that my man was gazetted, could this be a coincidence? 

 

Edited by AM87

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RNCVR

The name of the Q ship, or perhaps her assigned number, would be in ( ) beside the accounting base ship.

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RNCVR

I think the record shows that on 1 Jan 1915 he was drafted from the 'RM Bde' to the 'RND Train', serving with that unit for two years in the MEF and the BEF.

 

I thought I saw Train in that notation but could not make it out for certain.  I thought it was RN then perhaps a 2 or Q, then Train.

What was he doing on a train tho, was he a Gunner RM? 

I cannot see any rank for him, but note he qualified as a Barber!  (yr possibly 1917)
 

Best....Bryan

 

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horatio2
36 minutes ago, AM87 said:

This is the same date that my man was gazetted, could this be a coincidence? 

Almost certainly. Fifty DSM awards were made for the same reason in that Gazette. The date of the LG is meaningless. It is the date of any action which would count and that is not recorded, It is also possible that the DSM award was not for a single action but a 'cumulative' award for service over a period.

 

Strangely. the award to Henry JOHN appears in the LG not as RNVR but as a Mercantile Marine award to a Seaman.  -https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30536/supplement/2305

 

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horatio2
Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, RNCVR said:

What was he doing on a train tho, was he a Gunner RM? 

I cannot see any rank for him,

His rank was private RMLI. To serve as a DAMS gunner he would have to be qualified in gunnery, as he did in 1900, 1903 and 1907.

The Divisional Train was not a locomotive but the supply organisation to a division. The RND Train was an RM organisation (Divisional Train, Royal Marines) on the Army Service Corps model. In the BEF it was known as the 63rd Divisional Train.

Edited by horatio2

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RNCVR

Guess I missed his Gunnery qualifications, yes, that certainly makes sense Horatio.

 

Thanks for explanation on Divisional (Supply)Train.  I had Armourered Train, similar to those employed by the RN during the Egypt '82 campaign, in my mind, thinking they might be same idea.

 

Best.... Bryan

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Michael Lowrey

The Acton attribution for sinking UC 72 is no longer considered valid. There are two issues: A tug with a barge in tow was stopped and sunk in the area by a German submarine the next day. No surviving U-boat claimed the sinking and UC 72 was the only boat to go missing at about that time. In addition, the wreck of UC 72 has been found in the Straits of Dover, where she was mined in late August 1917. The identification is based upon marking on one of the U-boat's propellers.

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Yorts
Posted (edited)

There is a book called Their Majesties' Jollies published by Token Publishing (the same people who publish medal news) that lists all Royal Marines awarded the DSM and DSC together the the recommendations for the awards. This will tell you why Clement's award was made. My phone wont let me post a weblink, but its listed on their website.

 

edit to add link: https://www.tokenpublishing.com/shop/product/7991/18

 

Clements' recommendation for the DSM appears on page 50.

 

Rgds.

Edited by Yorts
edit to add link

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