Baird, George Holden

Baird, George Holden (George)

Civilian War Dead

SS Rutland

Died as a result of enemy action on Wednesday 30 October 1940 (aged 39)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour in Westminster Abbey, London

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor, Co. Down


George Holden Baird (known as George) was born on 10 August 1901 in Westminster Terrace, Bangor and he was a son of Robert and Eliza (Lizzie) Baird (nee McCay, sometimes McKay) of 15 Farnham Park, Bangor.  Robert Baird was from Letterkenny in County Donegal, he was born on 28 May 1860 and he worked as a grocer and then as a tea agent.  Lizzie Baird (nee McCay) was from Londonderry and she was born on 12 July 1860.  Robert and Lizzie were married on 10 April 1883 in Carlisle Road Presbyterian Church, Londonderry and they had nine children:

John James McCay (born 6 March 1884 at 4 Mountjoy Street, Londonderry; died of bronchitis 26 April 1885 at 2 Genoa Street, Belfast)

Kathleen Alison (born 27 March 1885 at 2 Genoa Street, Belfast)

Robert Henry (born 4 April 1888 at 58 Carlisle Street, Belfast; died 26 March 1953)

Lizzie Christina (born 10 July 1890 at 31 Lothair Avenue, Belfast; died 2 October 1895)

Ethel (born 29 May 1892 in Belfast)

Albert Ernest (born 20 June 1894 at 14 Eblana Street, Belfast; died 25 October 1894)

William Norman (born 4 August 1895 at 14 Eblana Street, Belfast)

Gertrude (Lillie, born 22 November 1896 at 14 Eblana Street, Belfast)

George Holden (born 10 August 1901 in Westminster Terrace, Bangor).

Their father, Robert Baird, died on 10 January 1924 and their mother, Lizzie Baird, died on 27 October 1944.

It was reported in the press that George Baird attended Bangor Grammar School and later played rugby for the Bangor Club.  He was a member of Bangor Operatic Society and he worked as a radiographer in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and also in Bangor Hospital.  George Holden Baird and Lily Downing Moores, who was born in 1911 in Prestwich, Lancashire, were married in 1933 in St Mary’s, Moston, North Manchester and they later lived at 24 Osborne Drive, Bangor.  Their daughter, Valerie Lillian Baird, was born in 1935 and on 22 April 1938 the Baird family boarded the SS Inanda (Harrison Line) in London bound for British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America where George was going to take up a three-year engagement as a radiographer in a hospital in Georgetown.  The Baird family lived at 67 Camp Street, Georgetown and in February 1939 George’s wife and daughter returned to Bangor.  They lived at 6 Osborne Drive and, after the outbreak of war, Lily Baird held the position of Deputy Food Officer for Bangor.

When war was declared, George Holden Baird decided to return to the United Kingdom some six months before the scheduled end of his colonial appointment and he was a passenger aboard the SS Rutland when he died on 30 October 1940.  Some records give 31 October 1940 as the date of the sinking.  The SS Rutland was a cargo steamer built in 1935 by the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd., Dundee and owned by the Leith, Hull and Hamburg Line.  While on route from Demerara in South America via Bermuda to Larne with a cargo of charcoal bauxite, the SS Rutland (a straggler from convoy HX-82) was torpedoed and sunk southwest of Rockall by the German submarine U-124.  There were no survivors.

Of the many civilians of the Commonwealth whose deaths were due to enemy action in the Second World War, the names of some 67,092 are commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour, located near St. George’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.  George Holden Baird was 39 years old when he died and he is commemorated on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Co. Down.  It bears the inscription:

Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name, thou art mine

Isaiah 43 1