Saturday, 24 May 2014

Induction into a different world

Ross's Personnel Dossier, now held by The National Archives in Canberra, is only two pages long. He was in the Royal Australian Navy for less than a year. He joined up on 3rd October, 1939, and died on 17th September 1940. However, even those two short pages appear to be riddled with inconsistencies. The most obvious one is that his dossier states that he was serving on the "President III" on 17th September when he died. However, the "President III" is a land based facility on the Thames which is where he did his DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships) training before being assigned to the "SS Tregenna".

So, here is how I think his time in the RAN was allocated:
  • HMAS Penguin (Balmoral, Sydney) - 3rd October to 8th October 1939
  • With 20 others, he took the "Spirit of Progress" to Melbourne
  • HMAS Cerberus (Crib Point, Westernport) - 12th October to 4th November, 1939
  • HMAS Penguin (Balmoral, Sydney) - 4th November t0 22nd November, 1939
  • Port Kembla, Wollongong - 23rd November to 2nd December, 1930
  • Unnamed vessel in convoy to Durban, Freetown, thence Liverpool (UK) - 3rd December 1939 to 12th February, 1940
  • Leave
  • HMS President III (Thames, London - 1st March to 30th May, 1940
  • SS Tregenna - 31st May to 19th September, 1940 (his death)

The first card of Ross' dossier is confronting, with that - DEAD - top centre. They were not to know that 75 years later these dossiers would be freely available on the internet.

I gather from something else I read, that Ross had joined the RAN for the duration of the war, making him a member of the Naval Reserve.

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