Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

D.A.M.S.


Marian
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been hearing stories about someone who claimed to have been working under a degree of secrecy, via D.A.M.S. He had authorisation to move from ship to ship as necessary, and worked with a pal for much of the time, but that pal lost his life on the one occasion they split up.

I have the man's name and know someone who has his service number - will I be able to access any records that will tell me more about what he really did in the war?

Mell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mel

I have never heard of something called "DAMS" in WW1, but then I don't know that much about 14-18 shipping matters anyway. If there was such a thing I would be interested in learning about it too!

Are you sure that "your" man was not involved with "DEMS" in WW2?

DEMS = Defensively Equipped Merchant ships.

Here is a bit about it:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/annemariepurnell/dems.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had noticed from an Internet search that D.E.M.S. seemed to be the official term, although I found the phrase 'defensively-armed merchant ships' on several sites, so perhaps some servicemen used 'D.A.M.S.' in private.

It was definitely WW1, as he was in the Home Guard in WW2. I will have to get the service number to make any progress, I think. If I find that relevant files are closed for 100 years, it is only another 10 - 12 years to wait . . . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had noticed from an Internet search that D.E.M.S. seemed to be the official term, although I found the phrase 'defensively-armed merchant ships' on several sites, so perhaps some servicemen used 'D.A.M.S.' in private.

It was definitely WW1, as he was in the Home Guard in WW2. I will have to get the service number to make any progress, I think. If I find that relevant files are closed for 100 years, it is only another 10 - 12 years to wait . . . . .

Mel

No doubt some WW1 nautical expert will be along to tell you all about it.

Have you thought that someone who was in both wars might be using a WW2 term in order to describe his WW1 service?

Have you tried "Q Ships"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mell,

Welcome to the forum, the short answer is yes you will be able to access records that will give you more information. Do you have his name and the name of his pal? some information is available online.

Regards Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is encouraging to know that D.A.M.S. was an official WW1 term, thankyou.

Name: Horace Charles Burch Lewis (not likely to be two with that name combination!). I've looked for him on AD 188 without success, but of course I don't know that he was actually in the Navy. Unfortunately, his pal's name isn't known, as I could have looked him up on the CWGC website.

I'll try to get hold of Horace's service number, but may take a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have just been looking up Q ships, and they sound like a possibility, ditto the RMLI.

Thanks for all ideas so far, and I'll see what else I can find out.

Mell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mell,

Welcome to the forum.

ADM 188 is the collection of service registers for Royal Naval ratings, I have yet to see an entry for Defensively Armed Merchant Ships on one, but I have seen entries for RMLI, usually time served men who had joined the Royal Fleet Reserve. The usual entry is 'President III for DAMS. President III had also been an accounting base for the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, so he might have been in either; also they would have had merchant navy crews (probably they had to join the Mercantile Marine Reserve). There are medal rolls (not online) for the Royal Marines, RNR, RNVR and MMR. There are service papers for the first 3 and papers for merchant seamen who served after 1918.

The name President III was used as the accounting base for Defensively Equipped Merchant ships in WW2.

Per Mare

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Might he have been a member of a gun crew that moved from ship to ship and from convoy to convoy i.e. when they got to port they changed to a ship about to leave rather than waiting for the one they had been on to unload and load.

In WW2 there was an organisation (forget the name) that did this so as to optimise use of manpower

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your man was RMLI (i.e. DAMS gun crew) there may be some information on his movements around the DAMS fleet in his papers at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The Chatham Division papers, in particular, tend to have a record of DAMS service (usually detailing dates, ships, departure and destination ports, etc) for large numbers of WW1 DAMS men. Worth a try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mell

The Royal Marine list of abbreviations gives the following,-

DAMS Defensively Armed Merchant Ships (1914-18)

DEMS Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (1939-45)

Regards

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

D.A.M.S. were crewed generally by Merchant Navy crews,however they did have the addition of Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Ratings who operated the weapons on these ships.Most of the RNVR ratings from circa 1916 onwards either joined the Royal Naval Division or served on DAMS.I do not have a lot of time today to give a full answer but the difference is usually in the number of Victory they joined on their service record.On DAMS they were paid extra pay and entitled to extra pensionable service.I have 2 RNVR service records where DAMS are mentioned,one to an Able Seaman who survived the sinking of "SS LEANDER" off the IOW in 1917.DAMS were different to Q-Ships. :)

Will reply again when I have more time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been hearing stories about someone who claimed to have been working under a degree of secrecy, via D.A.M.S. He had authorisation to move from ship to ship as necessary, and worked with a pal for much of the time, but that pal lost his life on the one occasion they split up.

I have the man's name and know someone who has his service number - will I be able to access any records that will tell me more about what he really did in the war?

Mell

Look on cwgc surname jones initials h e l , this shows a rnvr casualty who served on defensively armed merchant ships DAMS, his service records show this service and are available at the NA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further to my earlier post I enclose a scan of part of the service record of Thomas Newton Able Seaman TZ 9673 (Tyneside Division Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) RNVR.In civilian life he was a Switch Board Attendant and resided at 320 Eccleshill Road,Bradford.He signed for sevice on 7/12/1915 and was mobilised for immediate service on 1/6/1916.He appears to have served in the RND until 24/7/1916.After this he had spells at Victory VI (one day),HMS Daedalus (2 months),Victory VI (4 months),Vivid I (2 months),Vivid I (3 weeks) demobilised on 22nd April 1917.Very next day 23rd April 1917 Remobilised at President III ? This is the start of his service on DAM,s.Until 21st March 1919 when demobbed. DAM,s vessels appear not to be mentioned by name only the accounting base which in this case was President III.From comments it is clear that an increse in pay and pension was applicable to service in DAM,s.As can be seen the reference to S.S. Leander only seems to appear as she was sunk and Thomas was rescued.On his enlistment papers his group of enrollment changed to "Wireless" so this could explain his service on DAM,S. :) Regards Bob.

post-6059-1152470643.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hoping to get Horace's service number soon, then I can make some progress. Thanks everyone for all the pointers.

The pay increase with DAMs is an interesting point, and obviously ceased with the end of hostilities.

I think Horace may have left the forces before the end of the war (although I don't recall hearing that he was injured), as he married in early 1918. I suppose that might have been duing a period of leave, though.

Mell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mell,

Technically these men where lent to the Board of Trade and recieved Mercantile Marine rates of pay which was considerably higher than Naval Rates. They also wore civilian clothes in harbour. Lots of debate as to the legallity of the arming of merchantmen.

Regards Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I can confirm what has already been mentioned.

My grandfather, Albert Edward Jones, was in the RNVR.

His service number was WZ 3158 and his service record

shows the time spent on DAMS:

Victory VI July 24, 1916

Victory VI October 24, 1916 - March 12, 1917

Pembroke I March 13, 1917 - June 7, 1917

Demobilised then Remobilised

President III June 8, 1917 - October 30, 1917 (RNVR)

President III October 31, 1917 - April 18, 1918

Pembroke I April 19, 1918 - June 18, 1918 (DAMS)

President III June 19, 1918 - August 16, 1918 (RNVR)

Pembroke I August 17, 1918 - August 19, 1918 (DAMS)

President III August 20, 1918 - July 24, 1919

Time served in DAMS to count for increase of pay, pension etc.

Reverts to Naval Rates February 1, 1919.

He was at Chatham and Hull during his time in the RNVR.

It is said he was torpedoed 3 times and survived them all.

I have a photograph of "Gledhow" taken at Chatham, a

merchant ship with guns on it. I thought that it is his time at

Pembroke I that counted for extra pay, pension etc. but I stand

to be corrected. In civilian life my grandfather was a clerk

in Swansea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

Thanks for that, have you anymore information on what ships he served on Im particularly intrested in Hull.

Regards Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have got a service record to casualty who served in the rnvr and on the ww1 service record it clearly states paid extra towards service on DAMS dd1917 (date of death)

so you can access his records via the national archives but the rnvr are not on line yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no details of any ships my grandfather served on.
I only know he was in Hull as there was a studio portrait of him
with a friend done at the port, complete with their Navy uniforms.
As you can see his record shows shore and accounting bases only.
This was obtained from ADM 337 at the National Archives having
first obtained his service number from a "dogtag".
The only ship he may have been on was the "Gledhow" as a picture
of it at Marseilles was found amongst his belongings.

Other links you may like to try are:

Early Radio History

and

WW1 Merchant Ship Losses

I do know that, early on in his Navy days, my grandfather was described
as a signaller and this is perhaps what he trained as at Crystal Palace.
I'd love to know the ships he survived torpedo attacks on, but if you
look at the list of losses it becomes a daunting task.

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello

As a point of reference, the abbreviation "DD" is declared dead. Usually this occurs when no body was recovered, but circumstance indicates that the person had not survived.

All best

don

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not quite correct. Strictly, 'DD' is Discharged Dead' and has nothing to do with whether or not a body was involved. The DD date is the official date of discharge from the service of a man who dies in the service, whether the date is the actual one (e.g. Died of disease or k.i.a.) or one assumed by a service inquiry (as, for example, happened with many men missing at Gallipoli).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...