The Royal Naval Division

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Draft Dodger, Feb 12, 2013.

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  1. I've been cleaning out and old house over the last few days (my Grandmother who past away a few years ago) and i found a purse with some medals in it (details below) although i'm not sure of the connection. i can see how some of this ancestry stuff gets pretty addictive as i spent my lunch hour having a quick look on the internet google/cwgc.

    the first guy seems to have died in a training establishment (or possibly a RNAS) although there seems to have been quite a few HMS Pembrokes but the second man (Donald Mc not Donald Mac, you'd never know they were from the western isles would you, have a look here Wargraves in Lewis: Macdonald to see what i mean!) seems to have served in the Royal Naval Division as on the back of his 1914 star he's listed as part of "Anson Bttn" RND. what interests me is that it says he died on the SS Glenfrain which in my quick search i found to be listed as a collier. my questions are;

    could he have been placed in the RND but eventually been posted to a ship?
    did colliers act as troopships?
    on his 1914 star he's listed as SEA R.N.R. and his brother on his 1914-1915 star is simply R.N.R., what does the SEA stand for?

    Rank:Leading Seaman
    Service No:3824/A
    Date of Death:19/05/1917
    Regiment/Service:Royal Naval Reserve
    H.M.S. "Pembroke."
    Grave ReferenceE. 1. 57.

    Rank:Leading Seaman
    Service No:2264A
    Date of Death:30/01/1918
    Regiment/Service:Royal Naval Reserve
    S.S. "Glenfrain."
    Panel Reference30.

    in this article it appears they were brothers (both called Donald MacDonald)
    Lewismen lost in the Great War: Donald Macdonald, 20 Knock, Point

    there was also a queens south africa medal and the recipient had my grandmothers maiden name but i've gotten no-where near that yet!
  2. cheers, i'll give it a look. its amazing how you can loose time to this stuff once you start looking into it
  3. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Royal Naval Division: Douglas Jerrold: Books is the starter work on the RND, then

    Four battalions of the RND were raised from surplus Royal Naval Reserve ratings in 1914 by Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty, initially as a private army for him to use without being beholden to the War Office. The reservists were mostly ex-regular ratings with reserve liability. The sailor Bns were brigaded with four battalions of Royal Marines and initially sent to defend Antwerp whence large numbers went into the bag. During the course of the war the Division sustained 48,000 casualties - roughly four times its ration strength. For instance Nelson Bn came out of the Somme with only one officer. Replacements were recruited from Durham miners and the numbers with real naval connections by the end of the war must have been small. Replacement officers had to be drafted in from the army, including for a few weeks my grandfather until he was blown into a shell hole on the Ancre and invalided (for the third time in that war). Hawke, Nelson and Hood Bns each have their own book but as far as I know nobody has written up Anson Bn.

    SEA means seaman.
  4. It seems you have the wrong spelling of the ships name, she was the GLENFRUIN and the date seems to be 29th January 1918 Lost in the Irish Sea with all 32 hands

    See here:

    HMS Narbrough and Opal, killed and died, casualty lists, January 1918

    Glenfruin, steamship, torpedoed and sunk by U.103 in Irish Sea; naval casualties:

    CAMPBELL, John Mc P, Signalman, RNVR, Clyde Z 8533

    CROUDSON, George T, Leading Seaman, RNVR, Mersey Z 1987

    DULLAGHAN, Charles, Able Seaman, RNVR, Palace Z 3573

    MCDONALD, Donald, Leading Seaman, RNR, A 2264

    See also:
    SS Glenfruin, built by A. Rodger & Co., Port Glasgow in 1904 and owned at the time of her loss by Easton, Greig & Co., Glasgow, was a British steamer of 3097 tons.

    On January 29th, 1918, Glenfruin, on a voyage from Seriphos to Ardrossan with a cargo of iron ore, was sunk by the German submarine U-103 (Claus Rücker) northwest from Holyhead in the Irish Sea. Sunk with all 32 hands.
  5. Ah, i should probably have made that leap myself. his victory and war medals both have him listed as leading seaman and assumed that as they'd have been issued at the same time they would've had the same rank on them. thanks
  6. good stuff, thanks. would a cargo ship have been armed? is that why they were on a merchantman? in the above doc he's also refered to as Gunner.

    the RND on the 1914 star just confuses me as i'm basically thinking of him as an infantryman at sea.
  7. possibly a DEMS gunner

    Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    were they really both called Donald? must have been a bit confusing in the McDonald household
  8. My Grandfather was in Drake. Fought at the Somme i think. Remember his service record was full of stays at Field Ambulances and hospitals after being wounded before being invalided out. Poor bugger went to join the Navy and ended up Infantry.
  9. Apparently they went to the trenches in naval rig early on in the war with flat caps and bell bottoms. Heard a rumour somewhere that some matelots went over the top waving cutlasses tho can't verify it on the net. Cutlasses were still used in the Victorian navy tho of course ww1 was later. Seems quite plausible tho as ad-hoc weapons and clubs with nails in were a fairly common feature in the brutal trench fighting.



    I hear there were RN land crews cutting about in Sarf Afrika too during the Boer War and not just for the famous field gun stuff. I wonder why they didn't just use the RM?
  10. Quite common to use RN for the guns especially. On a ship thre weren't that many RMs about.

    The RND carried lots of matelot stuf f in to the trenches, they still used port and starboard and had watches instead of stags etc.

    As stated Blandford was where teh RND went out from in WW1, They still have Drake Square, Collingwood Corner, Anson Square, (There was Anson and Benbow blocks). IIRC Bandford was navy at that time.
  11. thanks all, i fancy reading something about the RND now and if i can ever get a day to sit on my arse and kill time i might spend some £ and try and track down their military records
  12. Many years ago I worked alongside a disabled WW1 veteran who had lost his leg on the Somme. On asking him what was his regiment, he replied "No regiment lad, I was in the Royal Navy, Engine Room Artificer!" Being ignorant at the time and thinking this was some sort of wind-up I commented what was an RN ERA doing at the Battle of the Somme? He replied laconically "I've asked myself that question many times!" He was an educated and very erudite character whose hobby was making violins; he had a number of very clever children. He was remembered for his motoring exploits. He was entitled to a ministry car but was reluctant to accept an AC Petite single seater they tried to foist upon him as he would not be able to take his family so he had a 1934 Austin 10 hp which would never start when he left work. Whereupon he would balance himself as best he could, give the car a sound threshing across the bonnet with his crutch and then pull the starter knob again and invariably it would fire up! Sods law or not but I heard later when he eventually retired, the ministry offered him a Morris Minor 1000 but he had by then been left in a relative's will a very presentable Standard Ten so declined. A great character!
  13. Of one of things the RND did to be both distinctively Naval AND to annoy the Army...
    Was to grow beards. See a WW1 British "soldier" with a beard- he'll be RND.
  14. The following was on Ancestry under Great Britain, Royal Naval Division Casualties of The Great War, 1914-1924

    Name:Donald McDonald
    Service Branch:Royal Naval Reserve
    Unit:SS "Glenfruin"
    Rank:Leading Seaman
    Death Date:30 Jan 1918
    Cause of Death:presumed to have lost his life when ship was lost with all hands.
    Burial:Chatham Naval Memorial (MR 1)
    Service History:Anson Bn. C/73 19/9/14-24/10/14 Discharged to "Vivid"
    Service number:A/2264
    Notes:CWGC = SS "Glenfrain" ; Mother, Mary, 20 Knock Point, Stornoway ; 1914 Star issued to "R.G.S.S." 4/6/20, V.B. issued to Mother.

    Edited to say I don't know why the smiley faces are in there. I copied and pasted from Ancestry so it’s their fault
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