Baker, Ronald Wilson

Baker, Ronald Wilson

Assistant Steward

SS Lurigethan (Belfast), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Thursday 23 January 1941 (aged 21)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 66)

BIOGRAPHY

Ronald Wilson Baker was born in Belfast on 30 November 1919 and he was a grandson of Edward and Martha Baker (nee Wilson) who were married on 24 December 1887 in Fortwilliam Park Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  He was a son of John Samuel Baker and Eileen Florence Baker (nee Aiken) who were married on 11 July 1918 in Duncairn Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  John Samuel Baker worked as a brass finisher and in the CWGC Debt of Honour it is recorded that the Baker family lived in Comber.

Ronald Wilson Baker went to sea as a Galley Boy and during the Second World War he served in the Merchant Navy as Assistant Steward aboard the SS Lurigethan.  This ship was built as the Dutch cargo steamer Celaeno by the Rotterdam Dry Dock in 1916 and then in 1933 she was renamed Lurigethan when she was sold to G. Heyn and Sons (Ulster Steamship Company Ltd.), Belfast.

In 1941 the SS Lurigethan was sailing unescorted from Africa to Great Britain (she was a straggler from convoy SLS-61) with a cargo of cotton seeds and general goods when she was bombed at 11.15 am on 23 January 1941 by a German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 aircraft some 280 miles west of Galway.  Of the 51 people who were on board the ship, sixteen died – including Assistant Steward Ronald Wilson Baker.  The survivors abandoned ship in lifeboats, but the SS Lurigethan did not sink immediately.  She sank after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-105.

Assistant Steward Ronald Wilson Baker was 21 years old when he died and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London and on the Wilson family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.  James Wilson MN died on 9 March 1948 and his wife Eileen Florence (formerly Baker, nee Aiken) died on 14 November 1975.