The Arctic Convoys of WWII featured in Radio Scotland’s Remembrance Day Service broadcast.
The BBC made contact with the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project back in the summer, to research the subject and was put in touch with veterans and local people who could help to add to the story.
Presenter, Anna Magnusson, daughter of Magnus and sister of Sally, travelled to Loch Ewe and recorded interviews with the Reverend Tim Daplyn, whose father served in the Convoys and also with local resident John Murdo Mackenzie who spoke about his memories of the Convoys in Loch Ewe as a 12 year old boy. There was a service of remembrance held at the Arctic Convoy Memorial Site at Cove from where BBC Radio Scotland marked the two minute silence. The programme can be heard on BBC i player until 18th November.
Further coverage of the Convoys is to be transmitted on Monday 19th November, when the BBC One Show plans to show its much awaited programme about Loch Ewe with presenter John Sargeant.
Initially recorded last June, a series of three pieces was shown in early September under the title of Sargeant Sails the Scottish Sea Lochs – and Loch Ewe was given some coverage. However, there was no mention of the important Arctic Convoys due to the fact that the BBC had decided to make a special piece on the subject. And the planned transmission date for the One Show Arctic Convoy filming is now 19th November.
Convoy Veteran, David Craig from Kilmarnock, attended the Remembrance Service at Cove on Saturday 10th November. He took the opportunity to explain that the Veterans were disappointed that the British Government had turned down a request from the Russian Federation to bestow a ‘Ushakov’ medal on all British servicemen who served in the WWII Arctic Convoys. He noted that other countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA have granted permission to their veterans.
The veterans are grateful to the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project who are including the medal e-petition via their website to try to alter this decision.
There is to be a very special Reunion in May 2013 in Wester Ross, where over 40 Convoy Veterans will be revisiting Loch Ewe, many of them not having been there since their convoy ships departed during WWII.
The Museum Project group is organising the Reunion as part of their annual WWII and the Arctic Convoys Week (6-11 May 2013).
The event is likely to attract major media interest as it is such a unique event and could possibly be the last time that the veterans, all around the age of 90, could get together in such a way.
Project Manager Jacky Brookes is delighted with the plans for the WWII Week, saying: ‘This is going to be yet another exciting week of events, following the success of our 2012 week. And now that we have generous funding to enable veterans to travel up here to Loch Ewe, it promises to provide rare opportunities for many to hear first hand experiences of what it was like to take part in these WWII Arctic Convoys – “the worst journey in the world”, as Winston Churchill described them.’
Notes: The photograph above shows BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Anna Magnusson at Cove, with contributors to the pre-recorded Remembrance Day Service.
Diary date for 2013 – ‘WWII and Arctic Convoys Week’ in Wester Ross, 6th-11th May 2013