On 21st December 2012, we published a story questioning whether the belated award of a medal - the Arctic Convoy Star – would be limited [as is almost certain, given the protocols] to Brits. With Royal Navy escorts for tthe Merchant Navy which was the heart of the operation and using many of the US-built Liberty Ships, there were many American participants in that epic World War II campaign to keep the supply lines to Russia open regardless, so that a key ally could remain a participant.
Responding to that story, Jack Gillen from Florida has emailed us to say:
‘I would like to give you some information regarding the wreath at the base of the monument pictured in your Dec.2012 story [Ed: shown again above].
‘If you look at it you can see the British flag and the United States flag.
‘I am from the USA and travelled with a long-time friend from Cheshire in England. We both were in Law Enforcement, I was a US Secret Service agent and he a detective.
‘We visited many sites in our trip – including the Menin Gate, the Tyne Cot cemetery, Omaha Beach and many other WW1 and WW2 sites.
‘My friends Dad was in the Royal Navy and participated in the convoys. Just thought you might enjoy this information…’
We all welcome the texture of this story by having increasing knowledge of those who were in and affected by these historic convoys.
We are putting Jack Gillen in touch with the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum at Loch Ewe in Wester Ross – the gathering place for so many of these convoys, in the hope that he can connect bhis friend wiht them too and that there may be a story of his friend’s father who served in the navy escort ships.