Diary of Peter Birch, Marconi Wireless Operator.
|Gallery location||Not on display|
|Description||Diary of Peter Birch, Marconi wireless operator.
The handwritten diary begins on the 5th November 1916 and possibly finishes in 1918, although no date is given. The diary lists the many ships and voyages he went on, the first being aboard RMS GRAMPIAN as Junior Operator under Captain H Parry. This ship was a passenger mail boat to Quebec.
His second voyage was aboard RMS NORTHLAND, White Star Line, from Liverpool to Halifax and Portland, a ship which carried 800 wounded soldiers and 50 Canadian Red Cross Nurses. He also sailed aboard RMS BALTIC, SS ALBANIAN, SS ATLANTIAN and ROYAL SCEPTRE within these years.
He sailed to many places including: Jamaica, USA, Aden, East Africa, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Port Said, the Suez Canal, Malta, Ceylon, Tahiti, Australia, Japan, Constantinople, the Black Sea and the Panama Canal. He gives a very clear account of passage through the canal, he describes the locks and refers to the canal as ‘the last word in modern engineering science’.
The diary also includes many details of individual crew members; their attributes and failings, weather conditions, ports of call and some of the ‘entertainment’ that he enjoyed in Tahiti and elsewhere, alongside descriptions of other ships in harbour at the same time. He describes a time in Adelaide: ‘This place is also very hot and dusty and mosquito ridden at night. There is a nice beach where most people adjourn to of an evening. While we were there the White Star liner 'MEGANTIC' arrived from England bringing 900 English girls out here, some with husbands and some with fiancees and others with nothing but hopes of finding the blighters that deserted them in England’.