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Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)

Gareth 04 Jul 01 - 02:09 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 02:58 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 06:43 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 07:18 PM
Gareth 04 Jul 01 - 07:19 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Jul 01 - 07:34 PM
Keith A of Hertford 05 Jul 01 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Willa 05 Jul 01 - 02:28 PM
Wolfgang 05 Jul 01 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,jayohjo 05 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM
Wolfgang 05 Jul 01 - 02:53 PM
InOBU 05 Jul 01 - 03:49 PM
MARINER 05 Jul 01 - 03:52 PM
Gareth 05 Jul 01 - 04:28 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jul 01 - 04:38 PM
Bert 05 Jul 01 - 05:10 PM
The Walrus 05 Jul 01 - 05:44 PM
Gareth 05 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM
InOBU 05 Jul 01 - 08:45 PM
jets 05 Jul 01 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Keith A at work 06 Jul 01 - 03:13 AM
InOBU 06 Jul 01 - 07:36 AM
Gareth 06 Jul 01 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,jayohjo 06 Jul 01 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,albioaudio 06 Jul 01 - 04:26 PM
Gareth 06 Jul 01 - 07:09 PM
8_Pints 07 Jul 01 - 08:59 AM
Gareth 07 Jul 01 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Iains 08 Jul 01 - 05:37 AM
Keith A of Hertford 08 Jul 01 - 12:24 PM
Keith A of Hertford 08 Jul 01 - 01:09 PM
Sourdough 08 Jul 01 - 03:03 PM
Gareth 12 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM
Teribus 13 Mar 02 - 02:52 AM
Hrothgar 13 Mar 02 - 03:14 AM
Teribus 13 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM
Teribus 13 Mar 02 - 06:01 AM
Wolfgang 13 Mar 02 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Keith A at work. 13 Mar 02 - 07:50 AM
Teribus 13 Mar 02 - 08:28 AM
HuwG 13 Mar 02 - 08:39 AM
Gareth 13 Mar 02 - 02:11 PM
gnomad 13 Mar 02 - 02:54 PM
Gareth 13 Mar 02 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Keith A on tour 31 Jul 02 - 02:56 PM
EBarnacle1 31 Jul 02 - 03:18 PM
Gareth 31 Jul 02 - 05:25 PM
Les from Hull 31 Jul 02 - 05:46 PM
Teribus 01 Aug 02 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Bruce, Melbourne Australia 01 Aug 02 - 10:00 AM
Les from Hull 01 Aug 02 - 02:41 PM
selby 01 Aug 02 - 02:55 PM
Gareth 01 Aug 02 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Jan Christensen 02 Aug 02 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Jan Christensen 02 Aug 02 - 12:29 AM
Les from Hull 02 Aug 02 - 08:03 AM
EBarnacle1 02 Aug 02 - 01:10 PM
Charley Noble 02 Aug 02 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,HelenJ 02 Aug 02 - 03:14 PM
Bilge Rat 03 Aug 02 - 02:54 PM
Teribus 05 Aug 02 - 04:33 AM
Charley Noble 05 Aug 02 - 10:15 AM
Charley Noble 05 Aug 02 - 02:12 PM
Teribus 06 Aug 02 - 05:08 AM
Charley Noble 06 Aug 02 - 08:31 AM
Teribus 07 Aug 02 - 03:48 AM
Wolfgang 20 Aug 02 - 06:49 AM
HuwG 20 Aug 02 - 07:43 AM
EBarnacle1 20 Aug 02 - 01:12 PM
Gareth 07 Sep 03 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,Santa 08 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Ross 08 Sep 03 - 12:08 PM
Gurney 09 Sep 03 - 03:03 AM
Wilfried Schaum 09 Sep 03 - 05:04 AM
Phot 09 Sep 03 - 06:33 AM
Gareth 09 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM
Billy the Bus 09 Sep 03 - 10:20 PM
Billy the Bus 09 Sep 03 - 10:47 PM
Wilfried Schaum 10 Sep 03 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,scotmac@bigpond.com.au 06 Oct 03 - 01:43 AM
GUEST,Ross 06 Oct 03 - 04:48 AM
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GUEST,Don Card don@gregorycard.fsnet. 17 Dec 03 - 09:44 AM
Charley Noble 17 Dec 03 - 05:35 PM
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GUEST,bruce_felknor 29 Oct 05 - 12:37 PM
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Jeri 15 Nov 05 - 05:57 PM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Feb 06 - 03:44 AM
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Phot 28 Feb 06 - 11:58 AM
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Subject: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 02:09 PM

The thread "Battle Aniveraries" got me thinking.

A search through the index does not reveal anything humorous or serious on the Russian Convoys from late 1941 to 1945. I suspect there were some. I believe that an exposure as long and unpleasent as the "Murmansk Run" was to the Allied Navies, and the Merchant Marine must have generated some folk comment. I suspect the Kriegsmarine may have also have some ballards on this.

My German linguistic skills are not good enough to pick anthing out of the German Language songs on Ricks Music Pages.

Can any Mudcatters help.

FYI 59 years ago this month they were trying to plot the position of the "Tirpitz", on the Admiraltie's charts, before issueing the instruction "Immediate. Convoy is to scatter.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 02:58 PM

I have "Russian Convoy Escort Song" but I'm just off to an evening of dance and song in St Albans. Watch this space. Also the excellent 23rd Flotilla song. I bet someone else posts them before I get back!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 06:43 PM

A good night out and work in the morning . Just going to start typing. Gareth, you owe me a pint next time youre in Hertford!


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Subject: Lyr Add: 23rd FLOTILLA SONG
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM

23rd FLOTILLA SONG
Capt C J Cunningham DSC RN (HMS Savage) & Lt Dickie Birks RCNVR
Tune Lili Marlene

Up to Kola Inlet, back to Scapa Flow,
Soon we shall be calling for oil at Petsamo.
Why does it always seem to be
Flotilla number 23
Up to the Arctic Ocean,
Up to the Barents Sea

When we get to Scapa do we get a rest?
All we get are signals invariably addressed:
Savage, Scorpion, from your Com.(D),
"What brings you here?Get back to sea,
Back to the Arctic Ocean,
Back to the Barents Sea"

Now and the we get a slightly different job,
But its always screening around the same old mob,
Watching the "A" boys prang the Hun<
With never a chance to fire the quarter gun,
Up in the Arctic Ocean,
Up in the Barents sea.

Once we lay in Harbour, swinging round the buoy,
Waiting for the drifter, but still there was no joy,
In came the signal "Weigh, proceed,
At your best speed, great is your need
Up in the Arctic Ocean,
Up in the Barents Sea".

Over in our mileage, due for boiler clean,
When we're not with convoys there's shooting in between,
Now as you have surely guessed
We do our best, but need a rest
Out of the Arctic Ocean,
Out of the Barents Sea.

Battleships and cruisers lying round in state,
Watching poor destroyers sail out of Switha Gate,
They're the ships the papers call "The Fleet",
They look so neat, but have no beat,
Up in the Arctic Ocean,
Up in the Barents Sea.,

What it is to have a crazy Number One,
All the boys are chocker although they've just begun,
The wretched pilot sits and drinks,
The Captain thinks, the whole thing stinks,
We hate the Arctic Ocean,
We hate the Barents Sea.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 07:18 PM

I forgot to mention that my mother's brother Sid sailed on the Black Prince on a Murmansk run. His Action Station post was on an AA gun . He was 16.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 07:19 PM

With pleasure but only one ?

And if you are in South Wales anytime,

If you ever come to Wales
You must try our Brains Pale Ales
If you want to drink on Sunday
Man, You got to wait till Monday.

Have you ever saw
etc

Keith, Thanks, but no burning hurry, I am very much obliged for your help, but please, at your leisure.

The s/s "Benchrachaun" and her crew, including my Grandfather Ben Williams, have been at rest somewhere off the North Cape for nearly 60 years now !

Greatful thanks,

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM

RUSSIAN CONVOY ESCORT SONG
Unknown
(Tune !2 days of Xmas)

On the tenth day from Iceland old AC-Ic said to me
10 Captains driving, 9 destryers hunting,
8 U boats strafing,7 merchantmen sinking,
6 Heinkels dropping 5 bloody great bombs,
4 88s, 3 Fokke-Wolfes, 2 Blohm and Voss,
And a Whitley up a gum tree.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 07:34 PM

Cheers Gareth. The Merchant Marine lost far more sailors than the RN. They deserve more recognition. Best wishes,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 02:13 PM

I have just found a song called The Kola Run, again about Murmansk covoy escorts. However as it is in the Oxford Book of Sea Songs which I know many Catters have, and since there has very sadlly been no interest in this thread, I will photocopy and mail it to you Gareth.
I just wish that I had a Merchant Navy song for your grandfather Gareth, lierally an unsung hero.
Very best wishes,
Keiyh


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 02:28 PM

There is a Russian Convoy survivors Club of some sort in the Hull area; don't know the details, but you'd get a contact number, I think, from the City Information Bureau, tel 01482 223344


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 02:37 PM

Not 'no interest', but 'no success'.

I had tried to find songs from the Kriegsmarine (not my type of songs). It is easy to find on the web a list of titles (no indication of convoy hunting in the titles), but I had a hard time finding lyrics. The only two I located were rather unspecific like (transl.) 'We sail against England' and so I didn't post.

In the title lists there are a couple of submarine songs and I guess in one or two of them will be allusions to convoys, but as I said, no luck with lyrics so far.

While writing this bit I got a new search idea and here you are, a German WWII submarine song mentioning waiting for convoys:

Das U-Bootlied

the relevant part of the German lyrics:
Die Tage gehen vorbei
in ewgem Einerlei
- aber Beute gibt's noch immer nicht.
Da plötzlich tönt Alarm vom Turm!
Ein großer Geleitzug
schiebt schwer durch den Sturm!
Jetzt kommt es auf jedes Lederpäcken an
Vom Kaleu bis zum letzten Mann.

rough translation:

The days go by
none of them any different
but there is still no prey (prize)
There all of a sudden alarm sounds from the tower(?; the uppermost part of a submarine however you call it)
a big convoy
rolls through the storm
now it's up to each submarine man
from captain to the last man.

There are more songs, but that's the only one mentioning convoys

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,jayohjo
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM

I know this is going off on a bit of a tangent and I might start a new thread, but on the Russian theme does anyone know any songs about the Siege of Leningrad? I met some incredible people in St Petersburg, and I'd love to sing something for them, but so far I've found nothing.
With hope, Jayohjo XX


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 02:53 PM

jayohjo,

here is a list of Russian songs with lyrics and if you scroll down you find those from WWII. It might help you if you can read kyrillic.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 03:49 PM

"Funny" story from PQ17. I will check with my old pal Joe Doyle, the labour historian... for tighter details, here is my best recoleciton... he and I and a fellow seaman, Vic Tiech were doing an oral history of the NMU. We were interviewing someone about PQ17 who related a story, forget who from, about a communist NMU memerber, who was on watch on the 4th of July, the officer of the deck said to him... "How can you be a red on a lovely day like this, the sun shinning, the colors flying..."... Then the U-boats hit, and the British destroyers withdrew, as they were concidered more vital than the cargo ships on their way to Mermansk. The fellow traveller pointed to the retreating escort and said, "That's how I can be a red on a day like this..."
Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: MARINER
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 03:52 PM

I sailed with two survivors of Convoy PQ17.The tales they could tell of the convoys to Russia would make the hairs rise on the back of your neck. The Merchant Navy never got full appreciation for their role in the war. I'm open to correction but I think that there were 35,000 British Merchant Seamen lost in WW11.Far out of proportion to the amount of men in the service.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 04:28 PM

Wofgang - many thanks

Larry InOBU - That story has a ring of truth, thought to be fair to Captain Broome, Comander of the close escort, the Destroyers were withdrawn to form a distant screen to the Convoy's ships to try and keep the "Tirpitz at bay, and buy time to scatter.
For from the information available to Captain Broome the "Tirpitz" was thought to be just over the horizen.

As I said previously, not one of the Admiralties better decisions. But hindsight is hindsight !

A nasty business.

I can confirm that nigh on 35,000 members of the Merchant Marine were lost between 1939 and 1945.

If you visit London take some time to deviate on your trip to the Tower and visit the Merchant Marine Memorial at Trinity Sq. I weep every time.

On a more serious note my late Grandfather was torpedoed in early 1940 whilst sailing into neutral (then) Norway.

His lifeboat was picked up by a German frieghter also going into Norway, whose Captain very happily discharged them as shipwrecked Mariners to the Norwegian authorities.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 04:38 PM

I'm not sure how tightly this thread is focused, but from the America to Russia convoy side, there's The Good Ruben James. I don't think contemporaneous, though.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 05:10 PM

Did you read the book '73 North' by Dudley Pope?


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: The Walrus
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 05:44 PM

I user to work with a chap who served in "Cassandra" on the Russian Convoys, now he had a few tales to tell. He, like quite a number of destroyermen on that run, was invalided out with TB before the war's end.

Walrus


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM

Bert - yes it's in my collection

Dave 0 - USS "Reuben James" noted, and treasured (if thats the right word) as a memorial, but factually It was not a Russian convoy, I believe this was part of the undeclared war of the US Navy protecting the "neutrality Zone".

Canada to UK convoys Code HX, HS etc were routed North on a basic Great Circle Course to take advantage of the weather conditions. And also before refuelling at sea was perfected there was the option of detatching Escorts, Corvetes or Escort Destroyers to Iceland to refuel and restock on Depth charges.

Authors to note on this Nicholas Monserat, MacIntyre, and Rayner all Corvete and Escort Comanders.

It also brought Convoys within Air Cover (see Song index the North Atlantic Squadron)

Yes - TB was rife in the crews of Escort Vessels, close crowded quarters, wet, no ventalation, poorish diet, and irregular sleeping habits, and little leave. Perfect conditions for TB and other nasties to breed.

Gareth.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: InOBU
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 08:45 PM

One of the old fellas also said, so much of PQ17 was sunk (3/4?, more, I forget...) that one life boat refused to be picked up by a liberty ship, feeling they had a better chance to row to Mermask.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: jets
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 10:55 PM

I worked with a seamen who after losing 2 ships on the Murmansk run, refused with others in the lifeboat, to board the ship that was attempting to rescue them.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Keith A at work
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 03:13 AM

Good story Larry but it gives a wrong impression of how things were. The escort destroyers were utterly expendable and were expected to sacrifice themselves if necessary to protect merchantmen. The action of the Jervis Bay is commemorated in song. This was I think a cruiser escorting a N.Atlantic convoy that sailed to certain death against a vastly more powerful Battleship to give the convoy time to scatter.
Best wishes
Keith


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: InOBU
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 07:36 AM

Actually a true story Keith. What ever the reasons were at the Admerality, to the seaman on the bridge, it looked like abandonment, and the result was the loss of the majority of the convoy. Often to the working guy who has to pay for the blunder, the fact that it was good intentioned, is lost.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 02:44 PM

Walrus - a sister ship of the "Cassandra" HMS"Cavalier" is preserved in Chatham (Kent) - One of the War time build Class "C" destroyers she also served on the Russian Convoys.

InOBU/Keith A

"Jervis Bay" was a converted passenger liner, formerly running between the Uk and Australia. Armed with old WW1 6 inch guns in single open (no turret protection) mountings she was commissioned as an "Armed Merchant Cruiser" and was the sole escort of A Halifax to Liverpool convoy, in Novenber 1939.

Intercepted by the "Scheer" A pocket Battleship 6 X 11 inch guns in triple turrets, and a secondry armament of 8 x 5.9 inch guns, the "Jervis Bay was out gunned, out ranged and sunk with very few suvivors. She and her company bought enough time for the convoy to scatter, and was able to get off a position report on the radio.

The Captain Fogarty Fergan was awarded a posthumous VC.

The film "San Demetrio - London" was about that convoy and the sucessful attempt by part of the crew who reboarded the burning Tanker "San Demetrio", put out the fire and sailed into port.

On appeal in the British Courts No Salvage was awarded, instead the crew members were given an "Ex-Gratia" payment of £7,000. between them by the Oil Company.
Source Lloyds Law reports.

Incidently it was not until later that Merchant Seamen were paid after a sinking. Your pay stopped when your ship sank.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,jayohjo
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 03:57 PM

Wow! Thanks Wolfgang, that's great - I just have to start translating them so everyone else can understand them now.... Jayohjo XXX


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,albioaudio
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 04:26 PM

My father was on the Russian Convoy's during WWII, and was iced in for the winter in Archangel. He has passed away now, but he was a member of a club called the Ancient Order of the Bluenose which is part of the North Russia Club. I have the original proclamation given to my father in 1985. I suspect the organization was nothing more than an excuse for old sailors to swap stories and drink beer, not that there is anything wrong with that. Hope this information is helpful, let me know.

Bob Hitchcock. albionaudio@earthlink.net


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 07:09 PM

This thread is driffting a tad, and I am as Guilty as the next.

My original request was for folk/service songs about the Russian Convoys - thank you to all, there is a wealth of matterial to mine - so keep em comming !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: 8_Pints
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 08:59 AM

I'll have a word with my team mate Charles Reeve who I know served as 16 year-old in the RN performing escort duties on that run.

Will report back later.

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 04:28 PM

8 Pints - Ta !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Iains
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 05:37 AM

Heard this song in the irish bar in Stavanger a couple of years ago. The title is The Medal, awarded by the Russians, not recognised by the British government and therefore could not be worn. First verse below. It was only a medal in gratitude given for brave service rendered a long time ago. For hardships endured and sacrifice suffered in cold northern waters of fog ice and snow.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 12:24 PM

My Uncle Sid, mentioned above, applied for and was awarded the medal about 10 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 01:09 PM

Larry, I never doubted that the story was true, I just felt it important to challenge the interpretation.
Good to be chatting again,Keith.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Sourdough
Date: 08 Jul 01 - 03:03 PM

WIth Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston having survived at least one sinking, I have to believe that somewhere in the Guthrie archives there are some convoy songs.

I had to inteview a former officer of a Canadian corvette about something that had nothing to do with the war but the subject of his wartime service had come up. I was so taken with his convoy escort stories that I gave him a copy of "Convoy: the battle for convoys SC.122 and HX.229 by Martin Middlebrook whch I had recently read. He later told me that it was a very accurate book with lots of insights on life at sea during that time.

It is a very readable, with lots of insights into the strategies of that part of the war. It was far more complex than I had imagined and always fascinating. (it is out of print but available through Amazon in paperback)

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM

Refresh - any New comment ? Thanks

Gareth


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RUSSIAN MEDAL
From: Teribus
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:52 AM

Guest Iains,

The song you referred to is called "The Russian Medal", the only song I have ever written, and as Gareth wanted lyrics of songs about the Murmansk Run - here it is:

THE RUSSIAN MEDAL

It was only a ribbon in gratitude given
For brave service rendered a long time ago
For hardships endured and sacrifice suffered
In cold northern waters amid ice and snow
For two weary years our Merchantmen strived
To sustain our islands lone stand
But with Russia invaded, we now had an ally
To make good Churchill's promises, convoys were planned

All the hard lessons on the broad wild Atlantic
Were pressed into service to see those ships through
'Tween the cold Arctic pack ice and the long coast of Norway
They ran such a gauntlet as none ever knew
Fog, ice, storm and blizzard were welcomed as friends
They served as a shield from the foe
To sail in the summer risked certain destruction
Far better to fight through the darkness and snow

In old worn out ships, long neglected by owners
From the 'Tail o' the Bank' and Newfoundland they sailed
To the east coast of Iceland, where formed into convoy
To take on the German and cruel winter gales
With a nonchalant courage, they ventured their lives
Well knowing the cost should they fail
In the cold Barents Sea there was no taking prisoners
To Murmansk and Archangel the convoys did sail

Throughout World War Two, on all the world's oceans
Convoys of merchantmen plied to and fro
Had their crewmen proved wanting in pure naked courage
Then surely our island defeat would have known
With a fierce stubborn pride not inspired by gain
They'd come back and sign up for more
To fight their ships through to where cargoes were needed
Or to vanish and litter the deep ocean's floor

It's hard to find words that describe that grim struggle
The terrible deaths thirty thousand men died
Of the three thousand ships that were lost in the battle
Their epitaph hear in each lone seagull's cry
With peacetime came salvage for greed and for gain
Motives of profit and loss
No merchant ship granted the status of war grave
No resting place sacred for the men who were lost

It was only a medal in gratitude given
For brave service rendered a long time ago
By Russia awarded in grateful remembrance
To civilians who triumphed o'er storm, ice and foe
But British bureaucracy then had its say
On foreign awards the F.O.
Sent each man his medal, enclosed with a letter
Informing him that it could never be worn

Now every November, come Remembrance Sunday
Those veterans assemble, in sorrow and pride
To remember their mates who the reaper did gather
To remember their comrades who paid with their lives
As a mark of respect to the men who were lost
Let the medal be worn with pride
By brave merchant seamen who sailed Arctic convoys
To the memory of thousands who laid down their lives

As a mark of respect to the men who were lost
Let the medal be worn with pride
By brave merchant seamen who sailed Arctic convoys
To the memory of thousands who laid down their lives


The Arctic Convoy Association has been campaigning for years for the survivors to be awarded a medal in recognition of the extreme hardships they suffered on the runs to and from the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel. The cost to the British Government has been worked out as £32,000. This year is the Queen's Golden Jubilee - everyone serving in the british armed forces will be awarded a Jubilee Medal, the cost amounts to something like £3,000,000. There is a great injustice in that - and more disgusting is display of total ingratitude.

Rant over, hope you liked the song.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Hrothgar
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:14 AM

I seem to remember that back in about 1971 there was a libel case in the English courts over PQ17. Somebody wrote a book about it, and one of the admirals involved sued him for libel. I suspect the old adage that "The greater the truth, the greater the libel" might have been true.

The reason I remember the case is that the judge, I think in his summing up, pointed out that somebody who wasn't there and hadn't served during the war would not know as much about the situation as those who were there.

This struck me at the time as ludicrous, as someone who did the research at leisure later on, with so many sources available, would obviously be in a better position to know what happened.

I doubt that this contributes much to the thread, but it is an interesting sidelight.

A good place to find Royal Navy songs is in Cyril Tawney's "Grey Funnel Lines," published by Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1987 ISBN 0-7102-1270-4. "The Russian Cobvoy Escort's Song" and the "Twenty-Third Flotilla Song" mentioned above are both in it.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM

Merchant Navy losses were somewhere in the region of thirty-five thousand, Royal Navy losses were over fifty-one thousand men. Which makes sense really considering the difference in crew sizes for individual ships. For example, HMS "Royal Oak" - over 800 men lost; HMS "Hood" - around 1200 men lost; HMS "Prince of Wales" and HMS "Repulse" - around 2000 men lost. That's only four ships, but the casualties amount to over ten percent of the total merchant marines losses.

At one stage the philosophy was go for the escorts, then pick the merchantmen off at will. Strategically the escorts could not be carelessly sacrificed - they took longer to build and more importantly the men to fight them took longer to train.

The "Jervis Bay" is mentioned above in an earlier posting, other examples were the "Rawlaphindi" (another armed merchant cruiser) and Sherbrooke's action in HMS "Onslow" against the German Heavy Cruiser Scharnhorst. All of which were actions sought and fought with the end result a foregone conclusion. In the case of the last one mentioned, Sherbrooke managed to delay Scharnhorst long enough for a covering force to arrive. In the ensuing action Scharnhorst was sunk off North Cape by HMS "Duke of York".


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 06:01 AM

Correction to my mail above - If Sherbrooke delayed Scharnhorst he must have been at sea for a hell of a long time!! The convoy he was protecting was attacked by the German cruisers Hipper and Lutzow.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 06:06 AM

There's a new German one on the web now: click

The first song (full of typing errors by the way; it starts with 'Zehn grosse Britenfrachter...') is to the tune 'Ten little niggers/indians' and follows closely the predictable pattern 'Ten British freighters...and then there were nine' etc.

Another page with German submarine songs (one to the tune of Lily Marlen.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Keith A at work.
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 07:50 AM

Fine song Bill, well done. Does it go to a known tune?
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 08:28 AM

Thanks Kieth,

The words and tune are my own. If you can PM me I'll arrange for a copy of the CD with the song on it to be sent to you. If you can't PM me come back on this thread and we'll get something sorted.

I wrote it after watching the Remembrance Day parade in 1994. The BBC commentator picked out the men wearing white berets and told the story about the medal and how Malcolm Rifkin had written the letter. Three of my uncle's were Merchant Navy Chief Engineers during the war and two of them sailed on the Murmansk runs. On hearing the story I was so bloody annoyed I wrote the song for them and all the others.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: HuwG
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 08:39 AM

Hrothgar - the libel action was by the Escort Commander of PQ17, (then) Commander Jack Broome, against the historian (or pseudo-historian) David Irving. Irving's book, "PQ17", implied (or bluntly stated) that Broome's withdrawal was the main cause of the losses to that convoy.

Broome won. All copies of Irving's book were withdrawn from sale (though there may be a few out there). In essence, the signals from the Admiralty gave all commanders concerned the impression that Tirpitz was just over the horizon. Broome went to fight her, not run away from her.

Broome's own experiences of the incident (and some hilarious reminisences of his earlier career) are in his book, "Convoy is to scatter", now probably long out of print.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:11 PM

Thank to you all on this

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: gnomad
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:54 PM

There is a song by Ron Baxter, recorded by John Conolly (of Fiddlers Green fame) called The Dublin Fireman, despite the title it touches on this matter. Quite lyrical and well worth the listen, though not written at the time as far as I know. Hope this may help.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:03 PM

A piece on the AMC HMS Jervis Bay Here
Here - Sorry no photo of the ship as an AMC.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Keith A on tour
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 02:56 PM

Gareth, this would have been a PM if I were home, and you may not be interested anyway, but I saw in a church near the Lizard 3 Commonwealth War Graves, the first I have ever seen of Merchant Seamen. One grave gives name and ship, one only the ship, and the third grave is the first I have seen to hold two bodies, both unknown sailors of WW2.
I am thinking of going to the mumbles in the vain hope of finally having that drink you promised me a few posts above!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 03:18 PM

JBilgeRat is working on a song about a merchant vessel with only a Naval Auxiliary gun crew and a six inch gun sinking the Scheer. Both vessels sank. It is, as far as I know, the only documented example of a merchant vessel sinking a major ship of war.

On the question of who lost more men, both groups lost a lot of sailors. Arguing over who suffered more is like [sorry, but the only analogy I can come up with is very uncomplimentary. Out of respect for both groups, I'll leave it out.]


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 05:25 PM

Keith, if you can read this try 07721 585081 - Will be at Mumbles on Sat & Grove Weekend after for I definitly ow ye a pint or so.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Les from Hull
Date: 31 Jul 02 - 05:46 PM

EBArnacle - I presume the action you are referring to was the liberty ship Stephen Hoskins and the German raider (armed merchant cruiser) Stier. Although a converted mercahntman, the Stier had a regular naval crew and was a commissioned naval unit. The Hopkins gun was a four inch, seemimgly no match for Stier's 6 5.9 inch guns. Both ships had several smaller guns.

This action is well described in Chapter 9 of 'Liberty - the ships that won the war' by Peter Elphick (Chatham Publishing). The actions of Cadet Edwin O'Hara of the US Armed Guard deserve to be recorded in song.

The Admiral Scheer was scuttled in 1945 following heavy damage by RAF Lancaster bombers.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 04:08 AM

EBArnacle:

I take exception to your comment above
"On the question of who lost more men, both groups lost a lot of sailors. Arguing over who suffered more is like [sorry, but the only analogy I can come up with is very uncomplimentary. Out of respect for both groups, I'll leave it out.]"

My posting of the 13th March was in direct response to the following statement from Keith A of Hertford in an earlier post in the thread:

"The Merchant Marine lost far more sailors than the RN. They deserve more recognition. "

The casualty statistics clearly show the opposite to be true - FACT. Had the statement said that the merchantile fleet lost more ships, that would have been true. In my post I attempted to illustrate why Royal Navy losses were higher although they lost fewer ships - i.e. crew size.

"JBilgeRat is working on a song about a merchant vessel with only a Naval Auxiliary gun crew and a six inch gun sinking the Scheer. Both vessels sank. It is, as far as I know, the only documented example of a merchant vessel sinking a major ship of war."

Good luck with the writing of the song - hopefully it will accurately reflect what occured and names the correct vessels, and does not describe the action as stated in your post quoted above. The fate of the German pocket battleship Scheer is correctly described by Les from Hull above.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Bruce, Melbourne Australia
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 10:00 AM

During WWII there was a lot of bad feelings between the merchant sailors and the Navy.

Most of it concerned things like pay and condition, on most merchant seamen were higher paid than their navy equal's and on top of that many received bonuses for completing a voyage, they also spent reasonable time in port between convoys and were not subject to rationing. Also they were able to make a extra quid by bring goods in for the blackmarket. Certainly many ships were sunk but also remember that by proportion to the total number of ships sailing they were in less danger than many others in WWII

While the sailors on the escorts were paid the mimimun the Government could get away with, spent very little time in Harbour, often just enough time to fuel and provision the ship and land mail. At sea they were four hours on four off, subject to constant call for action stations, the ships were target of first choice by the U-Boats, they were constantly wet, eating cold and poorly cooked food. Have a read of books like "ONS5 The Fiercest Battle" is see what the conditions were like.

Bruce D


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 02:41 PM

I think that in most cases the main targets were merchant ships. Certainly in the North Atlantic and Arctic convoys. Sitting on 10,000tons of ammunition or aviation spirit wouldn't have been my idea of a peaceful or profitable war.

Let's hope that people never have to go through that sort of thing again.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: selby
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 02:55 PM

Do you know that the largest troop carrying convoy was WS7 that went round by South Africa. Keith


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Aug 02 - 07:23 PM

And a reminder, untill (I think) 1943 When yer ship went down, yer pay stopped.

Nice thought, the time yer spent clinging to a Carley Float was unpaid.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Jan Christensen
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 12:19 AM

Re Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston: Have you read Jim Longhi's wonderful book, "Woody, Cisco and Me - Seamen Three in the Merchant Marine"? Jim Longhi sailed with Woody and Cisco on the North Atlantic convoys and it's a rollicking tale of their adventures on the high seas (including snatches of lyrics to songs Woody wrote).

The book came out about four years ago. Can't lay my hands on the copy I have so I can't give you the publisher or date, but the title is correct. (I had the honor to be part of a group of friends who played at a book-signing he had at Seamens' Church Institute in New York. Jim signed my copy, "Keep our memories alive, Kid." [I'm 54 now].)

If you can find it, grab it. You'll love it!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Jan Christensen
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 12:29 AM

I'm the JBilgeRat who's writing the song about the "Stephen Hopkins'" encounter with the German raider "Stier" on Sept. 27, 1942. I'm going to be posting a separate thread asking for more information and details on the battle from anyone who can help. It's a story that needs to be told.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Les from Hull
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 08:03 AM

Jan - get the book I mentioned earlier. The ISDN is 1-86176-158-9. It also mentions a privately published monograph by RJ Witt and PM Heaton 'The gallant ship Stephen Hopkins'.

I said earlier that Cadet O'Hara was of the armed guard, but I'm wrong. He was an engineering cadet, and became friends with Ensign Kenneth Willett who commanded the armed guard.

The battle also involved the Tannenfels, a German supply ship which was in company with Stier. The Tannenfels had a 6 inch gun.

31 days after the battle, fifteen survivors landed from their lifeboat in Brazil. Their epic journey and struggle probably deserves a song of its own!

The chapter I've noted gives all the detail you will need, and plenty of the names of the people involved.

Good luck, Les


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 01:10 PM

Teribus, sorry you misunderstood what I was saying. Once a vessel is away from the quay and subject to sinking, the risks are there for all. Yes, cargo vessels were primarily targetted. None the less, if a target was there, a raider would sink it, if possible, whether it was naval of commercial. Danger was shared.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 02:37 PM

Hmmmmm. Don't know if I dare contribute to this thread. There's the battle between the light Australian cruiser Sydney and the German raider Kormoran, 11/19/42, in which both ships were sunk. The Sydney came up close alongside the Kormoran assuming her to be a more innocent vessel, and was effectively ambushed with gunfire and torpedo; the Kormoran was also mortally damaged in turn. The grim details are described in THE SECRET RAIDERS by David Woodward.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,HelenJ
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 03:14 PM

My cousin sailed on the Murmansk 'run'.His name - Ray Pearson. He had an amazing run of luck. Each time he moved to a new ship, the one he had just left was torpedoed. I remember the name of one - the Fort Frederick - from Manchester I think.

Paradoxically - later on I was very friendly with a German POW from the Kriegsmarine who had been a crew member of a U-Boot. That's how it goes...

HelenJ.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Bilge Rat
Date: 03 Aug 02 - 02:54 PM

Les, Many thanks for this! There was a posting from Charley Noble that mentions David Woodward's good book, "The Secret Raiders" (W. W. Norton & Company, 1955 - now, sadly, long out of print). Since I'm a fan of "unconventional" seafaring (piracy, smuggling, cruiser warefare, etc.), I saw it and grabbed it at a used book store in Downtown Brooklyn while I was on leave from jury duty some years ago. This book is where I first found the story of the 'Stephen Hopkins' and got me inspired to write a song.

The local chapter of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Association at Seamens' Church Institute in Manhattan (just north of South Street Seaport, where we hold our Monthly Chantey Sings) is named for Edwin O'Hara. There are two bronze plaques on the wall there that honor the Merchant Seamen and the the Naval Armed Guard who brought the ships through against so many odds. No matter what generation we are, we have to keep the memory of so many folks, from so many nations, who did what had to be done at a time when it needed doing.

I'm going to be posting a separate thread asking for more leads on the story of the 'Stephen Hopkins'. Jan C.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 05 Aug 02 - 04:33 AM

Hi Jan C,

Slight thread creep, but as you are a fan of "unconventional" seafaring, you might be interested in the exploits of a Captain Mueller(Sp?). During The First World War he commanded a commerce raider named Zee Adler - a sailing ship. He survived the war having served his country faithfully and with some success. What was possibly unique and really remarkable was that during the entire course of his active service he never killed, or injured a single person. Having ordered crews off their ships, prior to sinking them, he would take them onboard Zee Adler with their lifeboats in tow then sail for the nearest port. He would then put the crews back into the boats and give them directions to that port.

Son of a fairly well off family in Hamburg, he ran away to sea when he was fifteen and worked his way up to command. He was a massive man whose party trick was tearing up telephone directories, first tearing them in half then doubling the halves together and tearing the halves into quarters.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Aug 02 - 10:15 AM

Teribus-

Always wanted to read more about the captain of the Zee Adler. Karl von Muller was captain of the light cruiser Emden in WW I, and also had a reputation of taking the greatest possible care to avoid casulties and look after prisoners. You may be confusing him with the captain of the Zee Adler.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Aug 02 - 02:12 PM

More drift alert!

There may be even more confusion about which ship is which, Teribus! The sailing raider I was thinking about was the former Pass of Balmaha, captured by a German submarine in 1915 and sent home to Hamburg. She was then converted into the sailing commerce raider S.M.S. Seeadler (Sea Eagle), commanded by Count Felix von Luckner, and set sail December 21, 1916. Luckner was able to make several captures in the South Atlantic, narrowly avoided capture himself rounding Cape Horn, making 3 more captures in the South Pacific. Unfortunately for Luckner and his crew, they stopped for reprovisioning at the remote coral island of Mopeha, part of the Cook Islands, and came to grief as their ship was swept onto a reef by a tidal wave. All aboard survived the ship wreck but Luckner and some of his crew were captured later near Fiji as they tried to capture another boat. The rest of his crew on Mopeha were later able to capture a small French schooner that stopped by, and then escaped east to Chile. This information is drawn from THE CRUISE OF THE RAIDER WOLF by Roy Alexander, Appendix II.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 05:08 AM

Thanks Charley,

After writing my post above I went and looked up the Seeadler and discovered my error. Luckner sank fifteen ships, with about 300 prisoners onboard Seeadler he captured the French Barque "Cambronne", removed sails to reduce her sailing performance and placed his prisoners onboard her so that they could sail to port slowly enough to allow Seeadler to clear the area.

All the best,

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 08:31 AM

Well, it looks like we're on the same boat now with the same captain. Now I wish someone would point us to a good translation of Luckner's biography.

Much to Luckner's embarrassment, he and his heavily armed launch crew surrended to a group of unarmed policemen sent out in a small island steamer to investigate the "strangers."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Teribus
Date: 07 Aug 02 - 03:48 AM

Just got this from the local Portsmouth Paper:

"Whitehall blocks honour for convoy heroes

FIRST it refused to give them a medal. Now the government wants to stop our naval war heroes from receiving a medal from the Russians.

Whitehall does not want sailors who endured the worst conditions imaginable to wear campaign medals given by the Russian people.

The Russian government plans to honour hundreds of former sailors who served in the grim Arctic convoys, presenting them the same medal it awarded to Soviet heroes half a century ago.

But the British Government says the move would be inappropriate: it does not want British veterans to wear a medal meant for foreign soldiers.

Whitehall has already refused to cast its own medal to honour the Arctic sailors.

Livid convoymen say the latest move shows the government will stop at nothing to deny the 1,600 or so survivors their right to an award.

'These decisions are made by people who've never seen a shot fired in anger. They have no idea of the hell we went through,' said Commander Eddie Grenfell, from Havant, who survived the sinking of his ship in the Arctic in May 1942.

'We veterans are dismayed and disgusted by the government's ungrateful attitude. It's sheer bloody-mindedness.'

The Soviet government struck thousands of medals at the end of the second world war to reward its men and women on the fighting front, including the Defence of the Soviet Polar Region medal.

They want to give convoy survivors this honour as the Russian people realise more and more the importance of the convoys to saving their country from the Nazis.

Whitehall plans to put a spanner in the works. It has got wind of the Russian plans to hand out the 1945 medal.

In a letter to veterans, civil servant Richard Coney says that 'it is most unlikely that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is responsible for dealing with such requests from foreign governments, will recommend to the Queen that permission should be granted for British veterans to either receive or wear the medal'.

The government made an exception for wearing Russia's 40th anniversary victory medal and is happy for first world war heroes to wear the Legion d'Honneur given by the French decades after the Great War to honour their service in the defence of France.

But this time around it believes it would not be right for Britons to wear awards originally struck for foreign servicemen.

Furious Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock is writing to defence secretary Geoff Hoon, saying the government's petty-minded attitude is a disgrace to war heroes.

'It's incredibly insensitive and crass. It denies these men even the honour from a grateful foreign nation. Most Britons would be horrified to know that our veterans are being treated in this disgraceful way.'

06 August 2002 "

What ever happened to - LEST WE FORGET.

What a shameful crowd of complete and utter tossers now mans the Commonwealth & Foreign Office of the United Kingdom.

The major stumbling block appears to be a decision by the late King George VIth in 1947 to draw the line under awards for WWII - The Queen and her Government could revise that ruling - my message to HM would be that - Liz, your dad was wrong, you have a unique opportunity to put the matter right. Please do so while the few remaining survivors of this conflict are still alive - It would mean much and cost little.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Aug 02 - 06:49 AM

I don't know whether Luckner's autobiography 'Seeteufel' (Sea devil) has been translated into English.

The part of the story of the voyage of the 'Seeadler' that amuses and amazes me most is that the 'Seeadler' has been intercepted and searched five days after leaving Germany by a British aux. cruiser off Iceland. Luckily for Luckner, the British didn't see through the disguise as a Norwegian sailor and didn't find the entrance to the hidden part of the ship holding the ammunition and the only canon.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: HuwG
Date: 20 Aug 02 - 07:43 AM

Long-postponed postscript to my earlier posts on this thread, after re-reading my fading copy of "Convoy is to scatter" by Jack Broome, escort commander of PQ17.

The information available to Broome when he withdrew his escort was contained in the three admiralty signals:

"Cruiser force to withdraw to the westwards at high speed"
"Owing to threat from German surface forces convoy PQ17 is to disperse and proceed independently to Russian ports etc."
"Convoy is to scatter"

Because it wasn't directly addressed to him, Broome received the first of these only after the other two. The rising tone of panic of the second and third gave the impression that Tirpitz was only just over the horizon. Finally, due to navigational errors, the Cruiser force was in view (they should have been out of sight), and Broome could see them "treading on the gas". Unaware that they were withdrawing and under the impression that they were going to fight Tirpitz, Broome gathered his miscellany of destroyers and went with them.

Oddly, one factor which may have influenced his decision was not mentioned in his book. Before being appointed to command HMS Keppel and the First Escort Group, Broome had been Chief Staff Officer to Admiral Percy Noble, Commander of the Western Approaches Command. In this position, Broome must have been aware that the German Naval Enigma codes were being regularly cracked, and may therefore have placed more trust in the Admiralty's instructions than they warranted.

Broome's career didn't appear to suffer as a result of PQ17. He was promoted to Captain, commanded the escort carrier HMS Battler (I think - he doesn't say which) and collected a DSO. He left the Navy after the War; there were more senior officers than ships to command, and his habit of doodling acerbic caricatures of admirals made him some enemies.

Broome and Admiral Dudley Pound (the First Sea Lord who ordered PQ17 to scatter) met when HMS Keppel paid off, but neither man could apparently bring himself to broach the subject of PQ17.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 20 Aug 02 - 01:12 PM

There are several books about von Luckner in English. They are probably available in any reasonable good library.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 06:21 PM

As the Scapa Flow thread has prompted me to re read this one - refersh.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 10:08 AM

There is another Ron Baxter song: the Lord Middleton. Sung by the Taverners on their Windmills LP many years ago, concerning seeing the Lord Middleton being broken up in Fleetwood docks. The Lord Middleton was a trawler used as a rescue ship on the Russian convoys, including (IIRC) PQ 17.

There is a niggle that it might have been PQ18, and maybe the song was written by Alan Bell with inspiration from Ron - I'll check on the LP tonight. Any way round, it is relevant to this thread though not an actual wartime song.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Ross
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 12:08 PM

My Dad was in the Royal Naval Patrol service

They cleared the mines on trawlers & the like

Reunion is in Lowestoft on 11th October

Here's a song I wrote about them

Trawler-men go off to war
To clear the seas, defend our shores
Joined by the likes of you & me
Their names should go down in history

Chorus        Well, they fought on the seas, while the seas fought back
                And they never were far from hostile attack
                They cleared all the mines, to keep ships free
                And some know no graves, except the bottom of the sea

The year was 1939
And our ships were threatened, by sea mines
They looked to the likes of you & me
To brave all the dangers, and clear the seas

Chorus        Well, they fought on the seas, while the seas fought back….

The Royal Naval Patrol Service
A name that doesn't mean so much
Who braved their lives for you & me
With a silver badge attached to their sleeve

Chorus        Well, they fought on the seas, while the seas fought back….

In Sparrows Nest in Lowestoft
Lies a monument, with a ship on top
Engraved with names, like you & me
Whose ghosts can be seen, still protecting the seas

Chorus        Well, they fought on the seas, while the seas fought back….

Try to remember, please don't forget
Those forgotten sailors, on their small ships
Who braved their lives for you & me
Their names should go down in history

Chorus        Well, they fought on the seas, while the seas fought back
                And they never were far from hostile attack
                They cleared all the mines, to keep ships free
                And some know no graves, except the bottom of the sea


Ross Scrivener - 2003


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gurney
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 03:03 AM

30 years ago 'The 23rd Flotilla Song' was one of Cyril Tawneys standards, and he naturally saw it from a RN viewpoint. I remember him introducing it by saying the Arctic convoys were one of the worst jobs in the war, the men always wet, exhausted, cold, despairing, and knowing that every merchantman that was lost meant that the escorts had to turn around that much faster to keep the pressure up.
Anyone pitched into the oggin had a 5min life expectancy.
In a (translated)German historical account of the war in Russia, I read that the Wermacht(sp?) were surprised by the sudden arrival of 'hundreds of tommy-gunners.' Those Thompson guns arrived via convoy, you can bet.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 05:04 AM

Wolfgang's post of July 5:

Instead of Lederpäcken read: Lederpäckchen.
The meaning is leather parcel. Päckchen is German Navy slang for any kind of dress (parade, fatigue, battle &c.), and the protective leather parcel was worn by every submariner on board of his boat.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Phot
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 06:33 AM

Gareth, I picked up on this thread by chance, my father is also a Bluenose, having served on fishery protection vessels, also he served aboard HMS Caeser (I hope the spelling's right) which is a CA class destroyer, same as the Cavalier presvered at Chatham dockyard, as far as I'm aware they were the last of the open bridge design Destroyer types in the RN.
He went to have a look round the Cavalier a couple of years ago, it brought back a lot of memories, as he left he gave the old lady a pat, to quote Jethro Tull "Last of the breed at an honest days toil".

Great ships, greater men, and a glass and prayer raised to all those who gave their today for our tommrow.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Gareth
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 07:10 PM

Phot - Thanks yer comments.

Ross Again thanks - any tune ???

Gareth

And the empty, wild Atlantic,
With the Convoys to and fro


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 10:20 PM

Thanks for the refresh Gareth - a noble thread!

Major creep from WWII North Atlantic to WWI South Pacific. Count Felix von Luckner and Seeadler (mentioned above) are enshrined in New Zealand folklore, alas not in song. His capture in Fiji, internment in NZ, and subsequent brief escape in the scow Moa in 1917, made him a 'Folk Hero', despite being 'Enemy'. His chivalrous approach to prisoners may have helped. Anyway, here's a Yarn about the Moa incident.

Cheers - Sam


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 10:47 PM

Here's an example of Luckner's Inhumanity to Mariners. What a man! He visited NZ in his yacht just before WWII - it may have been 'espionage'....

I'm creeping too much. Will button my lips until I see me old mate who was on the Convoys - a few weeks off..

Cheers _ Sam


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 02:19 AM

Search in the catalogues of the British Library, all British libraries (Copac) and Library of Congress found no English translation of Luckner's Seeteufel, only Dutch, Irish, and Italian.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,scotmac@bigpond.com.au
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 01:43 AM

could someone help me my father was on the Russian convoythe PQ17 his name was Bill Mc Conalogue and was on a little ship the HARPALLION. i would love to find out anything about it he was also given a ribbon? he was also on the Malta convoy aboard the S.S OHIO and recieved the D.S.M these were lost in a house fire and iam trying to get replacements but need help Billy


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Ross
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 04:48 AM

Hi Gareth - there is a tune - I'm not very good at putting music to paper but I'll try & post the cords sometime

The reunion's this weekend at Lowestoft - service is at 11am at Sparrows Nest


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,John "Jock" Crawford
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 03:32 PM

Hello - If there are any fellow shipmates from any of the PQ or QP runs still around I would be grateful to hear from them. My name is Jock and I was on HMS Wilton from when she first set sail from the Clyde. I have so far contacted a few survivors, including some from Operation Pedestal (Malta).
PQ17 was, of course, the worst of the bunch, the cold was far more than your could ever imagine.
Hope to hear from some of you other old shipmates soon
John "jock" Crawford


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Don Card don@gregorycard.fsnet.
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 09:44 AM

My father served on HMS Pozarica . He was killed 29th.January 1943. When the ' pozy ' was hit by an aerial torpedo.
I was just 5 years old.                                             The computer has been amazing and Im collecting all the information possible. But was anyone on the 'pozy' and did you know of my father Ableseaman Brinley Card P/JX325100


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 05:35 PM

Thanks, Billy, for your link to Count Felix von Luckner's escape attempt, a truly fasinating man.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Tom Fuller
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 05:53 PM

I could be wrong, but I believe that the decision to disperse PQ17 was made by the Admiralty (Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, to be specific) and communicated to the Escort as a direct order. There are a number of accounts of this debacle, but for a seaman's eye view try a book called "Hearts of Oak" by Tristan Jones. According to Jones, who served on one of the "O" class destroyer escorts in PQ17, the crew came very close to mutiny when they learned of the order.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,bruce_felknor@yahoo.com
Date: 29 Oct 05 - 12:32 PM

About Luckner's _Seeadler_: I don't remember whether this book is a translation of a biography, but Lowell Thomas, a (U.S.) radio newsman and journalist and author of the 1920s to 1940s, published _Count Luckner, the Sea Devil_ (Garden City [NJ, USA]: Garden City Publishing, 1932).

Might be findable on Amazon, certainly in US via Interlibrary Loan through any public library.

New subject: this is a gorgeous site. Wish I had found it before I published _U.S. Merchant Marine at War, 1775-1945_ (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Bruce L. Felknor


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,bruce_felknor
Date: 29 Oct 05 - 12:37 PM

erratum: In previous post I meant "translation _or_ biography. Sorry.

BLF


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Santa
Date: 29 Oct 05 - 05:57 PM

To correct one post well up the thread:

The Reuben James was a US destroyer sunk by a U-boat whilst escorting a Uk-bound convoy out of Canada, in the period before the US entered the war but whilst it was escorting convoys partway. I'm sorry I can't recall the hand-over point. I believe that the sinking became quite a cause celebre at the time, the song was written and sung by Woody Guthrie. Nothing to do with the Russian convoys, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:57 PM

Someone posted a message in the Help forum - here:

"My wife`s father was on the Murmansk runs, and my wife would like to get the Russian medal for him(Posthumately) how does she go about it .We heard about you from the T.V. Cenataph parade today"

I don't know if anyone here can help him out, but if you can, his e-mail address is peedof (at) supanet.com


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 03:44 AM

Beside the medal from Russia, all Russian convoys men can now apply for a British badge. A medal was refused.
If you still need help with applying for either I can get details.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ
From: GUEST,Katie Redhead
Date: 27 Feb 06 - 12:34 PM

My Dad was also a bluenose and mentioned a certificate or badge but doesn't know what happened to it. He served o the minesweeper HMS Halcyon which fortunately, survived PQ17. I will ask him more about the Bluenose club when I see him tomorrow.

Katie :)


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Phot
Date: 28 Feb 06 - 11:58 AM

I'm glad this thread was restarted. After my last post, I was lucky enough to be tasked to cover the 60th anniversary of the Russian convoys for the RN. I sailed aboard HMS Sutherland (Type 23 Frigate) to Murmansk, where the ship stayed for a week and a half. The Russian people were most welcoming, and were really greatful for everything that the convoys did. It was a real privilage to meet the Men and Women of The North Russia Club, and the Artic Convoys Club, all of whom I have the deepest admiration for. Several cocktail parties were held for the Vets. The parade through Murmansk was somthing which will stay with me for the rest of my days, when we got to the Aloysha monument just about the whole city had turned out! I'm still getting requests for images now!

Cheers Shipmates!! Chris (Now a Bluenose too!)


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Subject: Russian convoys
From: GUEST,ccmcbride@tiscali.co.uk
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 06:24 PM

Hello,
My name is Colm McBride from N Ireland.

My father Alexander Anthony McBride served on the Ramillies during WW11. My two other uncles also served. They all joined up together as volunteers in 1938. I have a lovely photo of them in their uniforms.
Their names were Charles McBride (emigrated to Australia after the war) and Colm (whom I am named after and I found out was a nurse in Portsmouth and died during the war after contracting TB).
All these men are now deceased and as they discussed very little about these times in the Royal Navy, I would be grateful if any one has an idea how to research what ships they served with and what action they saw.
I think my father's ship was in the Russian Convoys and was involved in a battle in the med with the Italians
Thats all I have on the matter.
Thanking you all in anticipation
Colm


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: GUEST,Wotcha
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 08:11 PM

The "Old Red Duster" tips its hat to the merchant marine ...



I Sailed in the war, like me Uncle before

From Britain, right down to Bombay

With me little convoy bag

I sailed for the flag,

The glory, the medals ... and the pay."



"I was pulled from the poolR
I was nobody's fool

There was a jaunt up to Murmansk for me

But union said "NO" it's a fourth, you can't go

It's the union forever for me."


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Subject: RE: Songs about the Russian Convoys (including PQ
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 10:50 AM

Quote: Lowell Thomas, a (U.S.) radio newsman and journalist and author of the 1920s to 1940s, published _Count Luckner, the Sea Devil_

I have 2 copies of this book. One is 1928 UK published with damaged covers but text and photos OK. Didn't sell on eBay for 99c, so if any one would like it for the price of postage, please PM me, though bear in mind I am in Australia.

Fascinating thread (and the creep too!!!) I had an uncle who died on Russian convoys. Not sure if he was RN or Merchant.

MC


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 09:13 AM

Count Luckner book has now found a new home.
MC


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 10:58 AM

refresh!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Russian Convoys (including PQ17)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 May 15 - 02:22 PM

Mudcat is brilliant! I just entered "Arctic Convoys" into the search box and up came this thread! Why was I looking? Well, during this year's Edinburgh Festival, the theme of one of the exhibitions in St Mary's Episcopalian Cathedral in Edinburgh will be the Arctic Convoys. My friends and I in Scots Music Group have been putting on a couple of concerts for the last 5 years, trying to play/sing anything that fits the theme of the year. We have a few ideas from current repertoire, and I have also been listening to Dave Roylance's "The Battle of the Atlantic" suite, but don't think we can match the full Halle Orchestra and choir + Lesley Garrett!
It would be great to use some of the songs above, if we can get the tunes.
I believe there was a presentation of medals to some of the surviving veterans of this wartime service, just in the last year or 2.


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