PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster

#41
Always pleased to promote the book DESTROYER CAPTAIN by RODGER HILL.
A very honest account of an RN captain during ww2. He has no qualms about showing his faults instead of emphasizing others cock ups.
By the way anyone interested in submarine warfare in ww2 should read One of our submarines by Edward young.
Fighting Destroyer the story of HMS Petard by G.G.Connell is another good read that lets you into the day to day business of waging war at sea. One thing that strikes me about all the above books is that they appear timeless in so much as the people in desperate situations are not so much different than the same people today. I hope.
Many thanks for that.

My Grandfather was on HMS Matabele - PQ8.
As Ewart Brooke wrote in Destroyer - "froze in less time than it took to boil an egg"
 
#42
My Mum's Uncle, Hilmar "Jack" Stenwick was the Captain of the MV Easton on PQ17. He'd run away from home in Norway around the turn of the Century and joined a sailing ship as a cabin boy.
By the time of the convoy he'd worked his way up to Captain and was awarded the DSC for his actions-it's late and I'm buggered if I can find the book which gives the details but it's real Boys Own stuff.
 
#43
But the Russians do the decent thing and more, the kids in Murmansk & Archangel go to the graves as part of their history lessons and help keep them nice and tidy, same as the Dutch kids with the Para graves in Arnhem and other places.
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?
 
#44
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?
Some bits here:
An American merchant sailor remembers the Arctic convoys during World War II
On my last visit ashore in Murmansk on 27 February, I witnessed a [German dive bomber] Stuka’s deadly attack on [merchant ship] El Oriente. I was alone and had to pass through numerous gates to leave the docks. At each stood a woman sentry with a rifle and its needle-pointed bayonet, and the only English each seemed to know was the stern demand “Your pass, comrade!”


Female laborers were everywhere in Murmansk and they made up most of the stevedore crews unloading the supply ships. Their shifts were twenty-four hours on and twenty-four hours off. There was no fraternizing whatsoever, and the women responded not at all to friendly overtures. Neither did the few Russian men we encountered. Any men we saw would have been classified 4-F by an American draft board. All able-bodied men were at the battlefront.
 
#45
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?

British servicemen being what they are, some appeared to have successfully fraternised to the point of getting married to Russian women. The lads must have been very quick off the mark, given their limited shore time! Not sure how the marriage ceremony was conducted but, IIRC, none of the men were able to take their wives home with them, and the women were all subsequently penalised by the soviet regime.

Whilst in Moscow in the 1990s, I recall that these ladies - now in their 70s - had just been officially "pardoned" by the state and a few of them were got together to give an interview for the English-language press. They'd all been refused contact with their British partners, and had gone on to live very hard lives as "social criminals" under the soviet way of things.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#46
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?
Not sure where I read it, but an MN officer stepped ashore to read the draught marks before sailing (SOPs since ever) and promptly got into strife with the goons on the jetty.
 

Helm

MIA
Book Reviewer
#47
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?
I have a book about Electra I can't recall the Author or title (I'll look later) where they did go ashore, the author wasn't a fan to say the least.
 
#48
Capt. Jack Broome was the escort commander for PQ17. In 1970 he took legal action against the author of a book that he claimed liabelled him for his actions as the escort commander with PQ17.
In 1972 he wrote a well detailed and engrossing book “Convoy is to scatter”, ISBN 7183 0332 6 covering his defence. Broome had accessed the remaining war time signal files regarding PQ17 and he and his defence team rebutted the libel with a verbatim sequence of signals sent and received during that period.
The history from the horse’s mouth.
 
#49
Capt. Jack Broome was the escort commander for PQ17. In 1970 he took legal action against the author of a book that he claimed liabelled him for his actions as the escort commander with PQ17.
He and his defence team rebutted the libel with a verbatim sequence of signals sent and received during that period.
The history from the horse’s mouth.
See post#2
 
#50
My father told me he never got ashore at Murmansk or Archangel, Stalin would not allow western ideology to contaminate his own people. I would be interested to hear if anyone knows of British RN & MN sailors getting ashore as a matter of routine ?
My now long dead uncle was on the white convoys for a hell of a long time. Minesweepers out of Hull & then re-located north of the border. I remember him saying they were able to go ashore every trip although they didn't venture far. TBH most blokes were so chin-strapped that they gonked out after a few vodkas apparently.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#51
But the Russians do the decent thing and more, the kids in Murmansk & Archangel go to the graves as part of their history lessons and help keep them nice and tidy, same as the Dutch kids with the Para graves in Arnhem and other places.
It took a long time for the old Soviet Russia to acknowledge the important role Lend/Lease played in keeping them in the game in 1941 and the first half of 1942. It tided them over until they got the factories moved behind the Urals back into production. (And to be fair, that was a massive organisational feat).

I've seen German kids being taken around Dachau concentration camp. Not to make them feel guilty, but to point out that this is what could happen if democracy ever fails in Germany again.

Unfortunately, Putin's Russia is slipping/has slipped back into being a relatively corrupt, authoritarian state again.

Wordsmith
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#52
IMHO the Russian people have zero experience of living in a mature democracy. For them dictatorship and corruption are pretty much the norm and after the empty years following the collapse of Communism many possibly see Putin as no worse than what they might otherwise get.
 

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