13th June 2014, 13:36
Hello! Looking forward to finding out about DEMS.....

13th June 2014, 14:07
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

13th June 2014, 16:15
Greetings Barbaraf and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

13th June 2014, 18:03

Also on behalf of the SN Moderators, a warm welcome aboard from the Isle of Anglesey.
You will thoroughly enjoy the SN experience and, since you share common interests with many of our members, you will also undoubtedly be exchanging messages before long. (Thumb)

13th June 2014, 19:05
Thanks to you all for a warm welcome!

13th June 2014, 20:05
Do you mean Defence Emergency Merchant Ships? All I can remember from my 1974 DEMS course given by a Chief Petty Officer was a nuclear suit, a 10' long broom and how to use a one time code pad (Jester)

stan mayes
13th June 2014, 22:14
Hi endure,
I was told during the war that DEMS =Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships.
I was an AB and during 1941 I had a four days course on HMS Chrysanthemum
in London followed by four days on heavy guns at Sheerness.
I have a Merchant Seamans Gunnery Certificate and was paid sixpence per day
when signed on ships Articles of Agreement.

13th June 2014, 23:47
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer

14th June 2014, 11:45
Hi Stan

Thanks for your reply. Interesting as always.

When I did my Sparky training at Riversdale in 1972 we did a DEMS course which covered what we should do in the event of war. Ships had a DEMS box which contained stuff to use in case of nuclear or biological attack.

I remember that if it was nuclear we had to put the suit on and go on deck with a firehose and the broom to wash the decks down. I think we had a Geiger counter to measure how long we were allowed to stay on deck for.

There was also a code book that you used with an aluminium frame to generate one time messages.

Obviously this was all theoretical unlike yours which was the real thing and something which we are all immensely grateful to you for.

The gunnery course sounds like fun :-)

Hugh MacLean
14th June 2014, 12:20
Welcome Barbara,

The Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (D.E.M.S.) service of WW2 was the successor to the Defensively Armed Merchant Ships (D.A.M.S.) organisation of WWI. In 1919 the Cabinet approved an Admiralty and Board of Trade (BoT) policy to strengthen merchant vessels during construction, in order to fit armament when necessary. This obligation was withdrawn the same year due to opposition from ship owners on cost grounds.
In 1937 talks resumed on the way forward and by the end of 1938 the Admiralty and the BoT had come to an agreement regarding costs. Ships were strengthened in readiness to receive armaments and some MN officers received the first gunnery training course on the 18th July 1938. In June of 1939 the Admiralty Trade Division established the Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship (DEMS) organisation.

I do have quite a lot of information about the DEMS organisation of WW2. Just ask, but of course there is no better person to ask than our own Stan Mayes who like my own father was a Merchant Navy gunner who assisted the RN and Royal Artillery Maritime Regiment DEMS gunners at Action Stations. Over 150,000 MN gunners were trained during WW2.

stan mayes
14th June 2014, 14:49
Thankyou endure and Hugh,
I did have much time on guns at action stations especially during ten weeks of
operations off Normandy.My ship Dolabella had been converted for that service and was equipped with much more armaments and consequently had many more DEMS gunners..A total of 16..
Three of us AB's who had Gunnery Tickets made up the crews of the Anti-aircraft guns.

14th June 2014, 16:06
What a wonderful community here!

I would love to find out more about the DEMS. I remember Dad was proud of his Oerlikan (sp?) gun...