AN ELLON veteran has shared his wartime photography with the world for the first time, almost 70 years after the end of World War 2.
Jim Magee, who stays at Castle Park, served in the Merchant Navy prior to the war and was drafted into the Royal Navy when hostilities commenced. Serving as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier HMS Striker, Jim accompanied flotillas bringing vital war materiel to the USSR as part of the Allied war effort. Strafed by the Luftwaffe, and dodging mines, the flotillas performed their duties with horrendous loss of life, particularly among the airmen flying from the carriers.
“We set out with 32 pilots and returned with two”, Jim told the Times. “They were the salt of the earth, and they took horrendous casualties.”
He added that the Russians, though grateful for the assistance, were reluctant allies.
“You could see in their eyes that they didn’t trust us,” he said. “They weren’t friendly!”
Jim, who was a keen photographer, was lucky to have been allowed to take his camera on board, given restrictions on wartime photography.
“Officially we weren’t allowed to take photographs,” he said. “The rules for merchant sailors were more relaxed than for RN sailors, so I was allowed to keep a photographic record.”
Originally from Ayrshire, Jim moved to Ellon thirty years ago with wife Jean and children to start a career with the Wood Group at a time when the company still employed ten people. Despite retiring 12 years ago, he continues his involvement with the company in an informal capacity,
“The group employs around 42,000 people today,” Jim said proudly. “It’s come a long way from when I started. There are still many opportunities in the oil industry and I’m always happy to speak to youngsters about their careers.”