The fact that Ross Cole was carried on the
books of President 111 ( which was a shore base near London that kept the pay
records etc of all DEMS gunners, means he had trained as a Defensively
Equipped Merchant Ships Gunner ). The Anti Aircraft guns and the stern gun in
Merchant Ships in WW2 were manned either by Royal Artillery Gunners from the
Army, or DEMS trained gunners from the Navy, be it Royal Navy, the Royal
Australian Navy or I believe the Royal Canadian Navy.
They could wind up on any British Merchant ship, and be far far from home, but he was serving in SS Tregenna when she was sunk.
His Official Number was B1592, the prefix B means he joined the Royal Australian Naval Reserve in Brisbane Australia, for the duration of WW2, and was not in the Permanent Navy.
He is listed as R C Cole ( not COLES ) on Panel 43 Column on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Here is his Memorial from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Site.
Name: COLE, ROSS CHARLES
Initials: R C
Rank: Able Seaman
Regiment/Service: Royal Australian Naval Reserve
Date of Death: 17/09/1940
Service No: B1597
Additional information: Son of Cyril Charles and Constance Jane Cole, of Kalinga, Queensland, Australia.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 43, Column 3.
Memorial: PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL
The Americans had a similar scheme but called their gunners Armed Guard.
HMS Fleetwood picked up the 4 survivors from SS Tregenna
Details of U-65, sunk with all hands lost on April 28, 1941.
Laid down 6 Dec, 1938 AG Weser, Bremen
Commissioned 15 Feb, 1940 Kptlt. Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen (Knights Cross)
Commanders 15 Feb, 1940 - 24 Mar, 1941 KrvKpt. Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen (Knights Cross)
25 Mar, 1941 - 28 Apr, 1941 Kptlt. Joachim Hoppe
Career 6 patrols 15 Feb, 1940 - 1 Apr, 1940 2. Flottille (training)
1 Apr, 1940 - 28 Apr, 1941 2. Flottille (front boat)
Successes 12 ships sunk for a total of 66.174 GRT
3 ships damaged for a total of 22.490 GRT
Fate Sunk 28 April, 1941 in the North Atlantic south-east of Iceland in position 59.51N, 15.30W, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Douglas. 50 dead (all hands lost).
Memorial Plaque - Queenscliff
Ahoy Mac's Web Log.
[With grateful thanks to Mackenzie Gregory for the pictures and information provided above.]