A liberty ship battles heavy seas during Convoy RA-64, a return convoy that sailed February-March 1945.

Global Search for Arctic Convoy Veterans

A Scottish museum has launched a worldwide appeal to find survivors of the notorious Arctic Convoys.

Between 1941 and 1945, thousands of sailors and merchantmen braved horrific seas, fog, ice, seasonal all-day darkness or daylight, and German attacks to help sustain the USSR, with more than 100 ships lost and 3,000 Allied sailors killed. The threat-strewn route was the most direct way to ship aid to the beleaguered bloc and accounted a quarter of the total goods sent there.

The Arctic passage was the most dangerous of the supply routes but had particular political resonance. The convoys led to clashes such as the Battle of the North Cape on Boxing Day 1943, when the British sank the Scharnhorst.

On May 16, the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum is hosting a memorial service to mark the 75th anniversary of the last of those convoys at Loch Ewe, where a number of them departed. Project co-chairman John Casson said: “[Those] who endured unimaginable conditions, freezing and under almost constant enemy fire, deserve to be remembered for their heroism and sacrifice.

HMS Duke of York in a 50-knot gale and heavy seas. Conditions could often prove as much a hazard to the Arctic Convoys as enemy action.

“Many lost their lives at the time and others have passed away over the years… The remaining survivors are now elderly and, sadly, this will be one of the last occasions we have an opportunity to thank them in person for their incredible wartime efforts.”

Veterans or relatives wishing to attend should email johncasson@johncasson.com

For more details, see: www.racmp.co.uk

Back to News

Sign up to the newsletter

Choose your subscription

Scroll Up