May 30, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

Two Entries for today:

May 30, 1943

Left St. Johns with three Coast Guard cutters as escorts.

May 30 to June 2, 1943

Saw many icebergs, floes and seals.

I am having a hard time finding the Fairfax again in the Convoy lists and it is possible that the information may not exist.  Strangely enough in Early April it sees itself sailing from St. John’s to Greenland in the company of three escorts.  These escorts must have had similar duties throughout the war.¹

The C.G.C. Escanaba Remodeled for War

The C.G.C. Escanaba Remodeled for War

One of the Escort’s for the Fairfax, though not at this time, was the USGC Escanaba which sunk on what I think may have been the return trip of the Fairfax from Greenland, after Merton Departs.  It may have hit a drifting mine, but the exact cause is unknown to this day.²

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.  He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry: June 3, 1943

¹ Arnold Hague Ports Database [Link]
² Wikipedia.Org [Link]

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May 21 to 29, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

May 21 to 29, 1943

Anchored in by waiting for escort to continue trip.  Convoy had gone on (presumably to Europe).  Watched corvettes, destroyers freighters, etc. going in and out of harbor.

Some of the BW-25 Convoy continued to Wabana Nova Scotia while others I am sure went elsewhere.  I am curious if they were stuck aboard the ship the 8 days anchored, or if they had a chance to get off ship and stretch their legs.

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.  He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – May 30, 1943

Organizing Your Files

When I am working on a video project, one of the hardest yet most needed tasks is that of organizing your files.  For any given project I will have folders with only Video in them.  One for Audio (Music, SFX and Voice Over separate of course.) Other folders contain Graphics, Still Photos, Documents and more.  I even have a ‘Cheat Sheet’ on my computer to help me standardize the folder structure.

This is not something I really have for my genealogy stuff however.

William HH Hood - Death Record

Well it just so happens that earlier today the folks over at the Genealogy Insider Blog posted an article entitled  – A Simple Four-Part System for Naming Digital Photo Files – [Link]

I urge you to head over, read it, and subscribe to a system for organizing your pertinent files.

I think I will take the system presented and add the 5th step of placing the major surnames within my tree in their own folders to boot.  You can bet however that I will make sure to add the cheat sheet for these records so I can make sure they too are standardized, just like my video files.

Do you have a system that works for you?  If you do, make sure to leave us a comment and let us know what works, and what doesn’t.

– Dan

May 20, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

May 20, 1943

Saw large flights of planes. Started getting colder.  Reached St. Johns, Newfoundland and anchored in harbor. Saw first iceberg, ships damaged by submarines, one with hole in bow that bum-boats could go through, and a Greek ship with a huge hole in the side.

While the remainder of this convoy moved on a bit further North, the Fairfax and a few others from convoy BW-25 anchored in St. Johns.

It looks like a ‘Bum Boat’ is a small vessel used to bring cargo and goods over from the shore.  Some of the photos I saw looked like they could be up to the size of the small lobster boats we see here in New England.

‘Bum’ boat alongside at Freetown, West Africa

‘Bum’ boat alongside at Freetown, West Africa

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.   He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – May 21, 1943

May 19, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

May 19, 1943

Lights and water pipes broken by depth charges dropped by Coast Guard chasing submarines.  Lost two ships from Convoy.

Wow!

I tried to do a bit of research on the ‘lost ships’ and I am going to guess that these were not sunk but perhaps moved on for repair at safer ports. This could be that Merton’s date may not match the actual as discovered in the previous days.

Searching uboat.net shows no Allied ships sunk in the area where my grandfather was during May.  One ship, the British steam merchant Aymeric, at a loss of 53 crew with 25 survivors, sunk on the 17th much further North near Greenland.¹

The Aymeric - Sunk on May 17, 1943 near Greenland - uboat.net

The Aymeric – Sunk on May 17, 1943 near Greenland – uboat.net

Searching for sunken U-Boats on the other hand yields nothing concrete, however…

U-381 reported for the last time on 9 May from approximate position 51.30N, 36.00W [MAP]  and is listed as missing south of Greenland on 21 May 1943.¹

U-381 was a part of the Wolfpack that sunk the ship mentioned above.

Did U-381 venture close to Newfoundland and succumb to damage from the depth charges dropped by the convoy’s escorts?  My guess is that only her Captain – Wilhelm-Heinrich Graf von Pückler und Limpurg and Crew of 46 will know.

Wilhelm-Heinrich Graf von Pückler und Limpurg – uboat.net

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company. He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – May 20, 1943

¹ Source – uboat.net

May 18, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

May 18, 1943

Arrived at Sidney, N.S. and anchored in harbor overnight.

My Grandfather was a man of many words.

On Arnold Hague’s Convoy Database Page [LINK]  it looks like Convoy HS.86 may have departed on the 19th and arrived on the 20th.  I had noticed an inconsistency with Merton’s arrival in Halifax yesterday but did not think of it.

The Dorchester - From  www.greatships.net

The Dorchester – From http://www.greatships.net

The diary records I have appear to have been typed up at a later date and not a true day to day journal.  I would love to know if that other journal even exists and that these were just the notes.  Perhaps he has lost a couple of days while on the ship or perhaps his memory is a bit off.  I of course can’t rule out that the website is wrong either.

Perhaps in the future he will catch back up with himself.

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.  He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – May 19, 1943

May 17, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

May 17, 1943

Arrived at Halifax, N.S. and anchored in harbor overnight.

Merton’s wife, Doris Madeline Marshall, was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia which is about 2 hours from Halifax.  It looks like her family moved to Taunton, MA when she was about a year old.

In looking for records tonight I came across a couple of great websites for Canadian and Nova Scotia Research.

Excerpt from the 1901 Canadian Census in Middleton Nova Scotia. Two Years prior to Doris's birth

Excerpt from the 1901 Canadian Census in Middleton Nova Scotia. Two Years prior to Doris’s birth

The first is the Library and Archives of Canada.  This site has Canadian Census Records that are searchable and images of them.  I believe I may have found the records for Doris’s Father Theodore H Marshall, his Parents and Siblings as well as for her Mother Winnifred McGill and her Family as well.
www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/Pages/census.aspx

Another must see site for Nova Scotia Specific Research is www.novascotiagenealogy.com.  This site contains Birth, Marriage and Death Records for Nova Scotia and are again Searchable and have images.  While you can not download the images (that I see,) you can order paper copies of them for around $11 Canadian.

I am looking forward to following this branch with these new (to me) found records.

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.  He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – May 18, 1943