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A wartime Diary

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Old 20th June 2018, 10:26
Ted Else United Kingdom Ted Else is offline
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Smile A wartime Diary

Content of a diary (1944) kept by
George Baker. Leading Air Fitter (E) 1st class.

Diaries were forbidden to be kept by their Lordships. Luckily for us this ruling was broken by many who served, both on the Lower Deck and among the Commissioned Ranks.
However, George Baker fx 113573 was/is not a person to flaunt Rules without some serious thought.
Realising that a record was needed to be kept of the events that were happening in his life, he joined the ranks of those who disobeyed. (This was lucky for us who are interested in the real history of WW2.)
George was sailing in the M.A.C. Ship MV ‘Empire MacDermott’ a converted grain carrying Merchant Ship.

The ship, having had a ‘Flight Deck’ welded over the whole of topside, retained the capability of carrying Grain cargo. Manned by men of the Merchant Navy; George was a member of the attached flying wing of the RN’s Fleet Air Arm: Squadron 836.

George opens this particular diary with -
Wednesday 6/12/1944.
“Sailed from Halifax today. Weather was fine, no mishaps.”
Thursday 7/12/44.
“Hit bad storm, cargo settled down and began to shift, no damage.”
Friday 8/12/44.
“Up at 5 am. Weather fine, did a Dawn and Dusk Patrol. Aircraft landed on OK. No subs about (thank Goodness)”
Saturday 9/12/44.
“Excitement in the convoy today. Explosion in Engine Room of one of the ships, one chap badly injured.
Our Doctor was transferred to Rescue Ship by B’Suns Chair to perform an operation on injured chap.
Rest of day uneventful.
No Flying, ‘Make and Mend’.”
Sunday 10/12/44
“Dawn Patrol aircraft landed on 9am. No subs in vicinity of convoy (big sigh of relief).
Doc came back aboard (same way as he went) and reported operation successful (3 hearty cheers for the Doc)”
Monday 12/12/44.
“Nothing today except flying. Am getting a bit chocka with the same in the evening. We had a jive session in the P.O’s Mess, pretty swell.”
Tuesday 13/12/44.
“Terrific swell on today. Ship still rolling heavily, still no flying. Make and Mend this afternoon so I make a case for my ‘rabbits’.
Thursday 14\12\44.
“Sea still rough again today. High seas washed the Deck. One big wave entered our mess and flooded it. Spent a couple of hours bailing it out, still ‘no flying again today. Make and mend.”
Friday 15\12\44.
“Up at 5 am today, U-Boat reported attacking convoy. Unable to get kites off owing to heavy seas. Ranged one aircraft on flight deck, ship was rolling badly, expected to lose kite over the side.
This afternoon another wave flooded the mess. I wish the *?*!!o?!!* people would leave the Bulkhead doors closed,
This evening we got the aircraft back down into the hanger without any mishaps. Incidentally, we had another Make and Mend this afternoon – ain’t life grand.
Saturday 16\12\44.
Up 6am. Ranged 2 aircraft, unable to fly, Ship rolling too heavily. Learned this morning that a chap fell overboard off a ship in the convoy. No news of him being picked up, it was a dark night and a heavy swell so presume he is lost.
Rest of day uneventful, finished work 3:30pm. Rest of day to self.
Sunday 17\12\44.
Very heavy seas today, two aircraft flew off on Dawn patrol. Ship was rolling very heavily when they came to land on.
No prangs. Cleaned down aircraft this afternoon, the rest of day off. At 10pm tonight , U boats attacked convoy. D.C’s were being dropped for some time. Escorts got one u boat (three cheers) all action ceased around midnight. Safe to turn in now.
Monday 18\12\44.
Dropped anchor off Bar, just off N. Brighton today. That is one trip finished. Everyone happy to be back in Port again.
Tuesday 19\12\44.
Are laying alongside the Grain Wharf today and unloading. Have got a bit of work today. Loading and unloading Stores. No chance of Shore leave.
Wednesday 20\12\44.
Am going on 4 days leave today but am chocka because we have to return before Xmas.”

So ends George’s entries in the diary concerning his work as Leading Aircraft Fitter (E) 1st Class onboard the MAC Ship, ‘Empire MacDermott’.
George’s Diary has several other but personal entries. One that he will be glad to share is the planning for his wedding.

And our George remains solvent to this day
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Image 14.jpg (179.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 20180616_145909.jpg (122.8 KB, 14 views)

Last edited by Ted Else; 21st June 2018 at 14:09. Reason: Rotated Images - added 1
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Old 22nd June 2018, 12:20
Ted Else United Kingdom Ted Else is offline
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Posts: 25
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MAC MV 'Empire MacDermott'

Does anyone have an authenticated image of the Empire MacDermott.
Several images of the MAC ships on the internet but on closer examination, none can be definitely ID'd as the Empire MacDermott.
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Old 24th June 2018, 22:06
Hugh's Avatar
Hugh Scotland Hugh is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Inverness, Scotland
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Thanks for sharing Ted.


There are a few photos of her on the net when she was returned to owners.

"If Blood was the price
We had to pay for our freedom
Then the Merchant Ship Sailors
Paid it in full”
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Old 25th June 2018, 22:25
Ted Else United Kingdom Ted Else is offline
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Posts: 25
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Many thanks Hugh
I have seen that image before but without the solid authentication as shown with that website.
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