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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
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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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