Author Topic: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment  (Read 4657 times)

Offline PhilipG

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L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« on: June 11, 2016, 11:30:54 AM »
3531708 L/Cpl Frederick Langridge, Manchester Regt. was killed in the 5th June 1940 at the age of 23.  He has no known grave and his name is engraved on the panels of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.  His name is also recorded in the Royal Navy's list of those who died in WW2.  The CWGC indicates that he was part of the "Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships Personnel".  Duties required by "DEMS Gunners" in WW2, as they were commonly called, were usually carried out by Naval Ratings and men of the Maritime Regiment Royal Artillery,   I note that this soldier died on the 5th June 1940, a date which happens to be the day after the evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk.  Lastly, he may have lived in Audenshaw.

During the research the following questions arose:-

Was Langridge formerly with the 2nd battalion, which I seem to recollect was a "Machine Gun Battalion"?

Could Langridge have been detailed to carry out DEMS' duties aboard ship, a task which their expertise with machine guns would have made his party well fitted to take action against low flying enemy aircraft approaching their ship?     

Opinions wanted, please.  PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 09:57:21 AM »
The draft to a merchant ship as a DEMS Gunner did not indicate a carefree voyage.  To illustrate. On the 17th January 1941 the "Almeda Star" was sunk by U96 with the loss of all hands, including 29 DEMS Gunners.  Amongst those ratings lost was a whole course of FAA Observers on passage to Trinidad for further training.

I take it that, at this late stage, there is no way of discovering in which battalion of the Manchesters Corporal Langridge was serving at the time of his transfer to DEMS Personnel.   PhilipG.

Offline Atherton

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 05:41:13 PM »
Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 18 June 1940

Offline PhilipG

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 06:56:18 AM »
Atherton,

Thank you.  PhilipG.

Offline Frederick

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2017, 05:47:14 PM »
Fred was in 2nd Battalion. He was a bren gunner and his Gunner No 2 was Pte Wilf Gregory who was also killed. They were two of several from the battalion who volunteered for DEMS duties. Interestingly, such men were spuriously registered as civilians to allow them access to foreign ports. As a result the CWGC listed them as civilians until I supplied details of their correct status.
Fred lived in Audenshaw and Wilf in Ashton. I did a lot of reseach on this incident which you will find earlier on this forum.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 10:27:15 AM »
Frederick,

Very many thanks for this clarification.  I do not think "Dems Gunners" were given the recognition they deserved and I write as one who was glad of their services in 1943.   Thanks again. PhilipG.

Offline Frederick

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2017, 03:28:59 PM »
You're welcome. This is a tragic case in many ways. M/V Capable struck a mine on approach to Portsmouth, and the obvious question is, 'was it a British mine?' We will never know.
Fred had expected to rejoin his unit a few days earlier when he was in port at Southend. The expected order never came and so he made the final voyage to Alderney and Portsmouth.
Can I ask what prompted your interest here? My cousin and myself are currently preparing a book containing, among other things, Fred's letters home from his short time on the ship.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: L/Cpl F.Langridge : DEMS Gunner : Manchester Regiment
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2017, 11:21:38 AM »
Frederick,

You ask what prompted my interest. It was purely by chance when I came upon his name in a list of naval casualties.  The connection between the Manchester Regt. and Dems gunners seemed unusual.   I see that MV Capable went down off Bembridge, IOW.  Take care. PhilipG.