RMS Pretorian Dec. 1921

J.V. Waddell appears in this photo of the crew of a ship, presumably the RMS Pretorian which brought him to Canada in December of 1921.

Jim Waddell, Ship Steward, RMS Pretorian

The following comments by his wife and son were what was "known" about how and when Jim Waddell came to Canada:  

"Jim was brought to the house by somebody who knew him in Scotland. Because he came over here, he jumped a boat. He was a waiter on the boat. A lot of them jumped the boat when they came over here."  - Nell Shill Waddell (His wife)

"Some time after demobilization, Jim became a Steward on board ship. In those days, there were many, many big liners taking people to North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand by the hundreds of thousands. Without doubt, Jim liked being a Steward, wearing the uniform and getting the chance to entertain a little." - Keith Waddell (His son)

One of the tricks that Jim learned to entertain people with was to pull a tablecloth off of a table while set without losing any dishes or cutlery.  Click here to watch an example of this being done.  Now imagine a handsome young steward onboard ship doing the same thing!!

There is a suggestion that Jim (J.V.) might have worked for a while on the ships, but crew lists to Canada are not accessible.  Jim saved coins and one that he had in his collection was a 1919 Newfoundland coin, which begs the question of whether he traveled there while working.

Three months after Jim's arrival in Canada, the RMS Pretorian began its last voyage on March 3, 1922 travelling from Glasgow to St. John, N.B. 

Jim Waddell is standing far right of this photo of crew on board a ship, perhaps the RMS Pretorian. The other crew members are unknown. This photo was colourized using the app available at MyHeritage.
Jim Waddell is standing in between two other crew members whose identity is unknown.
Close up of a the photo of the crew including the young fellow who appears in the colourized photo above.

CP Archives

In an effort to get more information on the RMS Pretorian's voyage in December of 1921, I contacted the CP Archives.  Their response was:  

Please note that CP archives are now housed at Expo Rail.  Requests for access or additional information should be directed to archives@exporail.org.

CP Archives and Expo Rail do not hold or have access to employee records and are unable to perform any genealogical research.

The archives and records for CP Ships and CP Air are held by the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

The Fairmont organization should be contacted for questions regarding CP Hotels.

The links at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology lead to a description of the "Fonds CPS - Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited fonds."

"The fonds consists of archives related to Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited’s promotion and operation of passenger, freight, and cruise lines. The records date from just before the creation of Canadian Pacific’s steamship services in 1883 to the late 1990s. The fonds includes records showing the management of the CPS and its precursors, but also reports from individual voyages of different vessels over time. There is a large series of records that appear to have been compiled together by Canadian Pacific historian George Musk. The fonds is arranged into five series: CPS-1) Business and Operations; CPS-2) Promotional Materials; CPS-3) Voyage Reports and Immigration Records; CPS-4) Musk Collection and CPS-5) Ledgers and Movement Books."

The Fonds is further described here

Unfortunately, in response to an enquiry I was told the archives does not have the crew list or the voyage report for this ship.  Wouldn't it be interesting to try and link the images to names?


A Concert Programme

Another important piece of memorabilia was a programme from a concert which took place on the RMS. Pretorian on Friday, December 16th, 1921  in aid of Seamen’s Charities.  On the programme, J. Waddell is listed as singing the second and last songs and as one of two accompanists. A number of people signed the programme, including the ship’s commander, John Hall.


"Jump Ship"?

1. Lit. to leave one's job on a ship and fail to be aboard it when it sails;[for a sailor] to go AWOL. https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/jump+ship

Did Jim Waddell actually "jump ship"? He was hired in Scotland and "failed to be aboard" when the ship sailed back home.  At the same time, he was listed as a passenger on the ship, which is unusual for crew on the Canadian passenger lists.  It must not have been a surprise that he didn't work the trip back.

On arrival in the port of St. John, New Brunswick, Jim completed the "Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A)" declaring his current occupation as steward and his  intention to stay in Canada and work as a janitor.  The outgoing UK and incoming Canadian passengers lists are also available on Ancestry.

The declaration also mentions a "cousin" J. McKenzie whose actual relationship to Jim has not been discovered.

Passenger Declaration

Source: Ancestry.ca Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924 for James Verner Waddell December 1921

1921 Landing Card

Jim Waddell saved his landing card from his arrival in Canada which is in my possession almost 100 years later.

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