Poignant memorial service for Arctic Convoy veterans at Loch Ewe

Arctic Co 1nvoy veterans at Loch Ewe memorial 1

A poignant Memorial Service for Arctic Convoy PQ18 was attended by over one hundred people today, Sunday 2nd September. It was held at the Russian Arctic Convoy Memorial site on the shores of Loch Ewe, Wester Ross.

Arctic Co 1nvoy veterans at Loch Ewe memorial 2

It was especially moving for the two veterans who attended the event –  Reay Clarke from Tain and Geoff Holmes, who travelled up from Lincoln.

They have first hand memories of the voyages that were called ‘the worst journey in the world’ by Prime Minister, Churchill.

Arctic Co 1nvoy veterans at Loch Ewe memorial 3

Reay was on HMS Farndale that left Loch Ewe 70 years ago in Convoy PQ18. He remembers it as if it were yesterday.

‘I remember the comradeship – we were like a family. That helped us through the horrors of the journey. We left Loch Ewe at 16.10 exactly 70 years ago today, and were protecting the merchant ships carrying the supplies.’

Arctic Co 1nvoy veterans at Loch Ewe memorial 4Veteran Geoff Holmes travelled up to Loch Ewe from his home in Lincoln with his friend George Webb – and was so pleased to be able to take part in the service.

He served aboard the merchant ships Samaritan and Fort Yukon which were carrying supplies to Russia. He too, found the event very moving. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the families of veterans by Leona Thomas from Edinburgh and David Farrance of West Yorkshire, both of whom travelled up specifically for the service.

Families of veterans came from all across the country to show their respects for the sacrifices made by their relatives.

The Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Janet Bowen, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen.

Local youngsters from the Air Training Corps and Sea Scouts also attended the service, together with the local community and many who travelled from afar to be part of the PQ18 Memorial event.

The event was organised by the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project which is fundraising to build a Museum on the shores of Loch Ewe, to create a lasting legacy to all those that took part in this important part of WWII.

Arctic Convoy PQ18 included a strong ‘fighting escort’ of destroyers that were rigorously trained as a unit and the first ever deployment of an escort carrier with a Russian convoy.

The convoy was made up of 39 ships carrying 4,400 vehicles, 835 tanks, 566 aircraft, over 11,000 tons of high explosive, over 157000 tons of general cargo and 9,541 tons of fuel oil. Between 1941 and 1945 over 3,000 men lost their lives on the Russian Arctic Convoys.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • As friend of Ken Tipper I agree with his every word. Iwas there on Sunday happy to do my little bit, I hope the Museum comes to fruition sooner than later. Something Tangible to pay tribute to my cousin and the other brave men who payed the ultimate price in those icy Arctic waters.
    Surviving veterans should be given their medals or is this
    government waiting until there are none left to receive teirs?

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    David G Farrance September 5, 2012 8:28 pm Reply
  • My late father Laurie Lambert, sailed on the Russian convoys from Scapa he was Chief P.O Tel on the aircraft carrier HMS Campania to Murmansk they had an Admiral on board Paddy Boyle [Earl of Cork and Orrary and spoke of the Blizzards and cold, the Bloeman Vossers and the u. boats attacking the fleet. They transmitted in morse for 24 hours a day to jam the u boats to stop them getting their messages through.

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    jenifer Cousins September 5, 2012 10:15 pm Reply
  • I only know of Geoff Holmes was in this conflict, and how brave he and many many others during this time. It is about time that they are shown the respect they so well deserve.

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    Mrs Margret Coates September 8, 2012 10:44 am Reply
  • Hi my father Harry Oldroyd on Hms Trumpeter served on the convoys as a telegraphist for “Y” branch.
    He is approaching 90 now. Any info would be appreciated

    Chris Oldroyd (son)

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    Chris Oldroyd September 23, 2012 2:48 pm Reply
    • Chris, we have emaikled you directly but for you and others in the same position, Jacky Brooks – info@russianarcticconvoymuseum.co.uk – who is at the heart of the very effective group working to establish a Russian Arctic Convoy Museum at Aultbea, Loch Ewe, would it valuable to hear from you.

      It will be helpful to each to you to make contact with the other – and, Chris, we hope it is good for your father to know of this, to realise that there are many who value profoundly the way he and his colleagues met conditions, challenges and disasters the rest of us cannot even imagine during these convoys. We hope he enjoys the contact with the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum, either directly or through you.

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      newsroom September 23, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
  • My father sailed on the Convoys,I would like to attend the next Memorial service

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    James Innes_Macleod March 19, 2013 6:37 pm Reply
    • We are sending your email address to the Loch Ewe Russian Arctic Convoy Museum people, who will be delighted to see you in May this year. You can expect to hear fmor jacky Brookes, Secretary to the project.

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      newsroom March 19, 2013 10:56 pm Reply

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