Able Seaman Mark Coulman Meins was born in Teignmouth, Devon in January 1879 and entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in April 1898. Joining the Ship's Company of H.M.S. Cossack as an Able Seaman in March 1900, he went on to serve in the Somaliland operations of 1902-04 and to enjoy a wide variety of other seagoing appointments right up to the eve of the Great War. The outbreak of hostilities found him aboard the Cruiser Doris, in which ship he served in the Dardanelles between 1915-16 prior to removing to a Shore Establishment in early 1917. Meins had received his L.S. and G.C. Medal in May 1912 and was eventually pensioned in December 1919.