70 years on – 40 Arctic Convoy veterans are returning to Loch Ewe

jock d at loch ewe

The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum group at Loch Ewe in Wester Ross have announced that they are hosting a unique Veterans Reunion during their annual ‘World War II and the Arctic Convoys Week’ running from 6th-11th May, 2013.

The Reunion will see over forty Veterans of the Convoys hosted by the Museum Group at Loch Ewe. Many of them have never been back to the area since leaving its tranquil shores between 1941-1945, en route to Russia aboard their navy and merchant ships. Over three thousand never got back.

Museum Project Manager, Jacky Brookes, is delighted that so many are making the journey to Loch Ewe, saying: ‘The Veterans are travelling from all over the UK and we are so pleased to be able to host them here in Wester Ross.

‘All of them are around 90 years of age and are travelling with a relative or carer and the team here are planning a memorable event for them all.’

The Reunion is part of the successful WWII Week, which has a line up of specialist talks from eminent speakers, including:

  • Captain Richard Woodman – leading expert and author of The Arctic Convoys 1941-45, History of the British Merchant Navy and former Honorary Physician to Her Majesty the Queen;
  • Grant McMillan  – who is a naval medical historian with special interest in the Arctic Convoys.

As part of the week, there will also be a Memorial Service at Cove on 9th May where all those that took part in the Convoys will be remembered. There will also be a series of exhibitions around the area on different aspects of WWII and the Arctic Convoys.

Jacky Brookes says: ‘Bringing the Veterans back to Loch Ewe is really squaring the circle 70 years on.  The whole community, the local schoolchildren and also visitors to our WWII Week will have chance to meet and chat to the Veterans and hear their stories.

‘At least three Veterans will be giving talks during the Week, which will give the audience a fascinating insight into the conditions that these brave men faced. This is a unique opportunity not to be missed.

‘And the timing of our Veterans Reunion is all the more important with the recent announcement of the Arctic Star Medal  award – at last the Government are honouring these men.

‘Our Russian Arctic Convoy Museum will continue to honour them for all time and create a lasting legacy for future generations.

The Museum is being developed as a signature project and will be a key part of a regeneration project on the shores of Loch Ewe, for the Aultbea community.’

For further information about WWII and the Arctic Convoys Week, go to the museum project’s website here,  where you can find the full Programme of Events and book tickets in advance.

Details of how veterans and next of kin can apply for the Arctic Star medal are also available on this website.

Note: The photo [top] shows convoy veteran, Jock Dempster, from Dunbar, at the Russian Arctic Convoy Memorial at Cove, Wester Ross. Jock is one of forty veterans travelling from all over the UK to Loch Ewe in May – and a former President of the Russian Convoy Club, Scotland.

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