James Bairnson, R149951

3rd December 2012, 20:22
Can anyone give me any information regarding why my Uncle - James Bairnson - has no entries in his discharge book for 1941 apart from signing off from the MV " Kinross "in January 1941, my Mother is sure he was torpedoed in that year, subsequently rescued and landed in Scrabster in the North of Scotland, where she met him -the "Kinross" was torpedoed in June of that year but I can find no record of his being on her at that time as his next ship, according to his discharge book, was the "Empire Bard" signing on in Dundee in March 1942, joining convoy PQ14/15 to Murmansk. I know it is a long time ago but just wondered if anyone has any information as to why his discharge book seems to give no mention of him being at sea for the rest of 1941??

Hugh MacLean
3rd December 2012, 20:57
Hello and welcome,

Best thing to do would be to obtain his records of service.

Seaman's pouch, held at Kew: BT 372/93/80 (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C8149460)

The main record you would need is his CRS 10, service record from Jan 1941. Held at Kew in piece BT 382/64 (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=C10988290)

Failing that you could always obtain the crew agreement for KINROSS for 1941 and check his name against the list of the crew for the period you think he was aboard. The file will be held at Kew in piece BT 381/1562 (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C11043953) under the ship's official number, 161578.

These files are not that straight forward or cheap to obtain online best viewed by visit to Kew.


3rd December 2012, 21:00
On behalf of the 'SN Moderating Team', welcome aboard johninshetland. I hope you find the information you are seeking.

3rd December 2012, 21:31
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3rd December 2012, 21:38

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Allan MacLeod
1st May 2013, 11:51

I have a similar problem in that my father's Discharge book makes no reference to his being on a ship from June 1941 when he was 1st Mate on Scottish Monarch which was sunk in South Atlantic until June 1942 when he joined the Ocean Vanity in Glasgow.

I know that he was on arctic convoys and suspect he was on the Empire Howard which was sunk on PQ17 on 16 Apr 1942.

If the Empire Howard was under the control of the Ministry of War Transport at the time, I wonder if there are records which might show him as a crew member or a survivor. He is not listed on the uboat site as a crew member. He told us that he was transferred to HMS Edinburgh for a while and she was sunk on the return voyage from Murmansk. But he was very reluctant to talk about any of it.

Any help would be appreciated.

Maybe a visit to Kew as Hugh MacLean suggests. Is is his Discharge Book number the main identifier?



1st May 2013, 20:08
Hi Allan,

Thank you for your reply, I have not tried any new enquiries lately so will try Kew as You and Hugh suggest, I had wondered if the ship he was on in 1941 could have been under the control of the MOWT at the time ! Thereby no discharge book entry. Just as a matter of further interest my Uncle was landed sick at Skalafjordur in the Faroe Islands on or around 9th May 1945 from the "War Pindari"and his repatriatation to Shetland is also a mystery although I wonder if perhaps a Trawler of the Northern Patrol such as the "Leicester City" may have been his passage home - he was soon thereafter discharged from the Merchant Service as physically unfit, he died of Muscular Dystrophy a few years later.

Best regards, John