This autobiography records the author's remarkably varied maritime career. In 1939 he obtained his Scottish Higher Leaving Certificate and, unable to obtain an apprenticeship, later passed his 2nd Mate's Certificate, and sailed as a navigating officer. This gave him the freedom to serve on a very large variety of vessels, beginning aboard MacBraynes' paddle steamer PS Gondolier as a First Class Pantry Boy until war was declared. In the following ten years, including the entire Second World War, he served aboard a UK coasting vessel converted for service as a Convoy Rescue Ship, a Portuguese coaster flying the Panamanian flag, two liners, a millionaire's steam yacht, four tankers (one of which was Norwegian and one adapted to fuel the Royal Navy escort at sea) and nine cargo ships (again one was Norwegian and one a weather-reporting ship). While probably not unique, this assortment would certainly be hard to equal, far less surpass. "Making Waves" thus provides a wide-ranging account of what life in the Merchant Navy was really like and the conditions in the countries visited, and contains many anecdotes and a deal of humor.
Following his years at sea Charles Aitchison worked for the Scottish Civil Service before joining Customs & Excise in 1950, where he worked in breweries, distilleries and bonded warehouses concerned with Purchase Tax and VAT until 1983. He was also a professional chorister with Scottish Opera from 1968 to 1978, which earned him an Equity card, enabling him to do various walk-ons and small speaking parts in film and TV. He has been writing professionally since 1990, and has had many articles published in nostalgia and maritime publications.