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skyflyer
26-06-12, 16:13
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/5211

Arctic Convoys, world war 2

Responsible department: Ministry of Defence

That the Government issue a medal for all those members of the Armed forces and the Merchant Navy involved in the Arctic Convoys during the second World War.

Morven
26-06-12, 17:36
Done, posted it on a WWII forum as well.

A1Sailor
26-06-12, 17:46
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/5211

Arctic Convoys, world war 2

Responsible department: Ministry of Defence

That the Government issue a medal for all those members of the Armed forces and the Merchant Navy involved in the Arctic Convoys during the second World War.

A good cause. Sadly, since it was 70 years ago, a lot of those deserving of a medal died waiting. My Father-in-Law was one of them.

diapason
26-06-12, 17:51
Done. Recognition is long overdue for these, some of the bravest of the brave.
N

Reverend Ludd
26-06-12, 18:01
Can I ask, is there not an atlantic medal that they would have got ?

RestlessL
26-06-12, 18:09
Can I ask, is there not an atlantic medal that they would have got ?

http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/hmso/campaign_stars_defence.htm

Reverend Ludd
26-06-12, 18:29
Atlantic Star then maybe ?

A1Sailor
26-06-12, 18:40
I think something was introduced, almost as an afterthought, but those eligible may have had to purchase it.

RestlessL
26-06-12, 19:29
I think something was introduced, almost as an afterthought, but those eligible may have had to purchase it.

http://www.veterans-uk.info/medals/arctic.html

http://www.halcyon-class.co.uk/new_arctic_star.htm

A1Sailor
26-06-12, 20:07
http://www.veterans-uk.info/medals/arctic.html

http://www.halcyon-class.co.uk/new_arctic_star.htm

Thanks:
"Mindful that those who served in the Arctic regions were often subjected to especially dangerous circumstances including extreme weather conditions and determined resistance from German forces, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues believe that the service given and the conditions undergone by the Arctic veterans warrant tangible recognition in the form of something that can be worn. As a result, on 7 March 2005 the Prime Minister announced at a reception for Arctic veterans, the introduction of a new Arctic Emblem that can be worn as a unique, recognised addition to medals."

Five years too late. My FiL died in February 2000, aged 80.

reginaldon
26-06-12, 23:02
My uncle who first went to sea in 1915, served until 1945 as did his brother, sailed to Arkangel(?) suffered v. much with bronchitis, denied any pension, Another cousin, whilst his father was at sea, signed on; on his first voyage out of Middlesbrough, was torpedoed TWICE, tried to keep the cabin boy afloat - had to let him go in the end, came home and joined the RN, another brother at sea in RN Patrol Service on trawler-sweepers
These MN men suffered great privations and massive stress, received no medal for war service and if their ships were sunk, their pay was stopped immediately, 20% of them of lost at sea - 40,000+.
I worked with a ret'd PC who had been stationed at the gangplank of tankers at Thameshaven to make sure none of the crew went ashore and returned across the Atlantic without leave

Any award too late for 95% of them, All my relatives long gone - including my cousin.

Penton Hooker
26-06-12, 23:08
Much too late for far too many. My father was a member of the Observer Corps, went as a volunteer on an American ship to help ensure that they didn't shoot down friendly aircraft, some things don't change.

maxi77
26-06-12, 23:18
Can I ask, is there not an atlantic medal that they would have got ?

Having known some of those who served in both areas, the Artic was very very different to the Atlantic. To suggest to an Artic survivor that an Atlantic medal will do is a very insulting thought. Wash your mind out withsomething nasty.

Reverend Ludd
26-06-12, 23:52
Having known some of those who served in both areas, the Artic was very very different to the Atlantic. To suggest to an Artic survivor that an Atlantic medal will do is a very insulting thought. Wash your mind out withsomething nasty.

I was actually just asking a polite question rather than making a suggestion but hey ho

Seajet
27-06-12, 01:09
I am sure the sentiment was correct.

My chum Charlie Solley who first ever took us sailing and encouraged me, owner of a Mystic, Enterprise, Otter then Folkboat among others, served on the Murmansk Convoys, his first attempt to volunteer under age was seen through, but at 17 he was accepted; he didn't say much about it, but I remember him shuddering, " How I hate North-Easterlies !"

He did say once how the Swordfish aircraft on his Escort Carrier had to have the Pegasus engine started on the lift to the flight deck, or it was straight down to the hangar again as the windchill would prevent anything starting on deck...

I mentioned this at Charlie's funeral, we owe such people an unpayable debt.

Charlie later become Chief Inspector on the Harrier trials & sales programme, ( and brought back his bride Magda from Chile ! ) ---- legendary Chief Test Pilot John Farley commented,

" He didn't do his job for money or fame, just because he could ".

maxi77
27-06-12, 09:06
I am sure the sentiment was correct.

My chum Charlie Solley who first ever took us sailing and encouraged me, owner of a Mystic, Enterprise, Otter then Folkboat among others, served on the Murmansk Convoys, his first attempt to volunteer under age was seen through, but at 17 he was accepted; he didn't say much about it, but I remember him shuddering, " How I hate North-Easterlies !"

He did say once how the Swordfish aircraft on his Escort Carrier had to have the Pegasus engine started on the lift to the flight deck, or it was straight down to the hangar again as the windchill would prevent anything starting on deck...

I mentioned this at Charlie's funeral, we owe such people an unpayable debt.

Charlie later become Chief Inspector on the Harrier trials & sales programme, ( and brought back his bride Magda from Chile ! ) ---- legendary Chief Test Pilot John Farley commented,

" He didn't do his job for money or fame, just because he could ".

I had a mate who was an observer on one of those swordfish, ditched and was very lucky to survive. Was taught at school by 2 teachers who served on artic escorts. The artic convoy guys earned the right to their own medal.

maxi77
27-06-12, 09:09
I was actually just asking a polite question rather than making a suggestion but hey ho

Sorry you see it that way but yor suggestion would never have been made if you had had the decency to do even the slightest research into the subject. It has been that sentement that has denied the artic convoy survivors due respect since the war.

reginaldon
27-06-12, 10:39
Sorry you see it that way but yor suggestion would never have been made if you had had the decency to do even the slightest research into the subject. It has been that sentement that has denied the artic convoy survivors due respect since the war.

And had he been alive and aware during WW2 he would not now be crusading for some rejection of the Monarchy - Churchill and the King & Queen helped provide the will to continue - maybe he thinks it might have been better that way.

Talbot
27-06-12, 10:49
Atlantic Star then maybe ?

My father had the Atlantic Star for trips across the Atlantic in a Fleet Oiler. However, you cannot compare those with his trips to Murmansk. A lot of these very brave people wear a white beret at remembrence services, and I managed to obtain one of these for my father. Any medal now is too late for him unfortunately.

Government treatment of veterans in UK is pathetic - witness the bomber command memorial where some of the organisers may end up loosing their homes due to the financial liabilities for provision of security at the unveiling. An unveiling to be attended by the Minister of Defence after reneging on promises for finance.

Compare this with the benefits for veterens provided in USA

Reverend Ludd
27-06-12, 11:03
Sorry you see it that way but yor suggestion would never have been made if you had had the decency to do even the slightest research into the subject. It has been that sentement that has denied the artic convoy survivors due respect since the war.

IT WASN"T A SUGGESTION !!
You have no idea what decency is you bombastic fool, I was asking politely as I thought that this was a forum of "friends" who want to chat rather that people like you who want to wear their sentimentality as some kind of medal themselves.


And had he been alive and aware during WW2 he would not now be crusading for some rejection of the Monarchy - Churchill and the King & Queen helped provide the will to continue - maybe he thinks it might have been better that way.

You have no idea if I was alive during the war or what I think about it.

What I think about the men and women who fought and in some cases gave their lives for this country is completely unaffected by what I think of the Monarchy. There were many many people who fought with equal bravery in the war who had already abandoned Monarchy. Perhaps you need to go away and have a read. I'll give you a starter, (A big country to the West of us)

"maybe he thinks it might have been better that way" That makes no sense at all, what way ?

Reverend Ludd
27-06-12, 11:08
My father had the Atlantic Star for trips across the Atlantic in a Fleet Oiler. However, you cannot compare those with his trips to Murmansk. A lot of these very brave people wear a white beret at remembrence services, and I managed to obtain one of these for my father. Any medal now is too late for him unfortunately.

Government treatment of veterans in UK is pathetic - witness the bomber command memorial where some of the organisers may end up loosing their homes due to the financial liabilities for provision of security at the unveiling. An unveiling to be attended by the Minister of Defence after reneging on promises for finance.

Compare this with the benefits for veterens provided in USA

I sorry your dad didn't get a medal before he died that is pretty disgraceful given the amount of governments that we have has since the war and the lip service they have paid to our veterans.
You might console yourself with the knowledge that many people still feel immense gratitude to people like him even without a medal. Did he care I wonder, I know my Granddad didn't, the things he had witnessed made him loose all faith in government anyway.

jimi
27-06-12, 12:45
Many of those on the Arctic Convoys were not servicemen but merchant seamen, one of my father's friends was one, he succeeded in getting torperdoed three times on separate ships during the same convoy and lived to tell the tale. I suspect he begat a reputation as a Jonah!

Reverend Ludd
27-06-12, 19:07
Many of those on the Arctic Convoys were not servicemen but merchant seamen, one of my father's friends was one, he succeeded in getting torperdoed three times on separate ships during the same convoy and lived to tell the tale. I suspect he begat a reputation as a Jonah!

I was thinking what a Jinx and wondering how I could say it until I read the last few words :D

jimi
27-06-12, 19:22
I think it was PQ17.

Seajet
27-06-12, 20:58
I think it was PQ17.

I think PQ17 was a transatlantic convoy not the Arctic, and lack of tactical intelligence
and disinformation had a disastrous effect, though I don't agree with the castigators, if I was in charge of a 17 knot merchant ship and signalled ' Scatter, bloody great enemy heavy cruiser coming' I'd make every attempt to break world speed records !

toad_oftoadhall
27-06-12, 21:00
I think PQ17 was a transatlantic convoy not the Arctic, !

It was going to Russia IIRC.

Seajet
27-06-12, 21:10
It was going to Russia IIRC.

Yes but the action took place a while before the rather hoped for destination...If I put a smilie icon on this I'd deserve to be shot...

Reverend Ludd
27-06-12, 21:11
It was going to Russia IIRC.

I think that is correct

Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convoy_PQ_17)

DogWatch
27-06-12, 21:33
It was going to Russia IIRC.

http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/pq/index.html?pq.php?convoy=17!~pqmain

http://warsailors.com/convoys/index.html

Seajet
27-06-12, 21:48
For an example of the sort of guys these people were, google 'Admiral Percy Gick'...

When I used to visit Emsworth marina there was a parking space designated 'The Admiral' and a Rolls Royce, I thought ' another stuffed shirt' - how wrong I was !

Attacking the Bismark with torpedos and building the marina by hand ( well he did use a piledriver witch took a finger off ) was nothing...

Very much the Miles Smeeton / Francis Chichester type I think.

It does sadden me that people only remember pilots not observers, for instance John Derry's accident at Farnborough also involved observer Anthony Richards; it wasn't either of theirs' fault, but if you'd ever been for a drive with my girlfriend you'd agree it takes a lot more courage to be an observer !

Morven
27-06-12, 22:53
I think PQ17 was a transatlantic convoy not the Arctic, and lack of tactical intelligence
and disinformation had a disastrous effect, though I don't agree with the castigators, if I was in charge of a 17 knot merchant ship and signalled ' Scatter, bloody great enemy heavy cruiser coming' I'd make every attempt to break world speed records !

Roger that!

DogWatch
28-06-12, 00:42
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v708/Shipswoofy/HMS-Borage.jpg
HMS Borage


Able Seaman Sidney from Hoylake in Cheshire was a crew member on HMS Borage (K 120), a flower class corvette. She was on convoy escort duties in October 1942 when The Robert H. Colley was reported in difficulties in position 58 57N 26 20W (https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?authuser=0&vps=2&hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=207934076159194965429.0004c37c96cf72d0a58f7) and it was not known even by the survivors whether she had been torpedoed or her back had broken in the Atlantic storm.

George Reed's account on the internet; That he witnessed the break up of the tanker in ‘mountainous seas / waves’ which were estimated at 80 feet. George was a 20 year old seaman on the MV Taranki in the same convoy HX209. No explosion had been heard and the time was 1645 on the 4 October 1942 when the tanker was observed to be floating in two sections. The forrard part of the Colley had sunk overnight and survivors were observed, huddled on the after part. Some attempted to launch a raft but the storm was too severe and they were washed away. The Borage was ordered to take up station overnight. When daylight broke the crew of the Borage made several attempts to launch the ship's boat into the storm and rescue the remaining men on the Colley. Sidney was an able seaman who had been called up in 1939; He was a fisherman and (RNLI) lifeboat man in civilian life and an expert in handling small boats.

He observed the attempts to launch a rescue boat from the Borage by the first officer and when this failed he went on to the bridge to speak to the Captain, Lieutenant Commander A. Harrison Royal Naval Reserve. He told the captain that if he could pick his own crew he would attempt a rescue. The crew he picked consisted mostly of men who, like himself had been fishermen in civilian life. One had fished in Dories off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, another was a young fisherman from the Outer Hebrides called Murdoch McMillan.

They successfully managed to launch the boat into the Atlantic storm and under oars Sidney steered her alongside the wreck of the Robert H Colley. From his own observations the stern of the Tanker was tipped high up over the 25 foot boat with the storm raging. Trying to persuade the freezing shocked men to jump into the Atlantic torrent was a task in itself.

With the help of some ‘seaman's language’ and Sid's lung power, slowly the survivors made the perilous jump into the boiling ocean where Sidney and his crew safely picked them up and ferried them across to the safety of the Borage. Having come alongside the Borage the swell was so great that the men could be plucked from the boat directly onto the well deck of the Borage as she roiled. They made several trips back and forth to the wreck and rescued all thirty three men.

On the final crossing the crew of the Borage were in the rigging cheering Sidney and the others as he came back aboard. One of those men was George Sherwood who recounted the story fifty years later and is still alive today. Sidney received the British Empire Medal for his bravery that day and promoted by the Admiralty to Leading seaman.

There was always doubt as to whether a U boat had been responsible, but the evidence appears to point towards the terrible Atlantic storm that caused the damage. With gunfire from their small, four inch gun HMS Borage sank the after end of the Robert H Colley. It took a great amount of time to finish her off. How many torpedoes does it take to sink a tanker? Probably just one, with the right conditions, but an Atlantic storm can wreak just as much havoc.

Sidney was also awarded the Russian Convoy 50th Anniversary Medal (FS) in 1994 to acknowledge his Russian convoy service during the winter of 43/44. Sid would also tell me of another story when he had been assigned to submarines and his sub sank off Gibraltar and remained on the bottom for over 24 hours. No-one knows how she resurfaced as the planes where jammed solid and she was behaving like a brick. He always believed that the turn of the tide may have been their saviour (see edit). The whole crew had resigned themselves to death and many were never ‘right’ again, how does a man cope with that situation, I am not sure I would!

Sid was my great uncle who taught me in the family fishing industry. I am proud and fortunate to have been able to know and respect him. He died in 2005 aged 87.

Edit>>> My uncle Sid told me the plane (is that the right term) freed off when the tide was at full ebb. Now I know the med tides aren't massive, but, 1. He was there and 2. You didn't argue with my uncle Sid! he was the med boxing champ after beating the then current American champ on an inter-ship match.

BlowingOldBoots
28-06-12, 11:03
Dogwatch - excellent post, thanks for passing the story.

DogWatch
28-06-12, 15:38
Dogwatch - excellent post, thanks for passing the story.

I thought of my uncle Sid when reading the thread as I knew he had been awarded a Russian Convoy Medal albeit from the Russian Government. Had I known at the time (it was a limited period for application, which my aunt did on his behalf) I would have applied posthumously for my Grandfather who made the run (turkey shoot) in the Merchant Navy. I have another 'great' family adventure with 4 other brothers who made an unexpected reunion north of Ireland when my GF's ship was sunk, but I'll save it for another day. I haven't penned it yet anyway.

http://www.ecsnaith.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/efb98e5c2e38229a88f5d3c190dda166/f/m/fm053.jpg

Morven
28-06-12, 17:44
This may have been an option for the failure mode:
Early Liberty ships suffered hull and deck cracks, and a few were lost to such structural defects. During World War II, there were nearly 1,500 instances of significant brittle fractures. Twelve ships, including three of the 2,710 Liberties built, broke in half without warning, including the SS John P. Gaines,[9][10] which sank on 24 November 1943 with the loss of 10 lives. Suspicion fell on the shipyards which had often used inexperienced workers and new welding techniques to produce large numbers of ships in great haste.[11] The Ministry of War Transport lent the British-built Empire Duke for testing purposes.[12] Constance Tipper of Cambridge University demonstrated that the fractures were not initiated by welding, but instead by the grade of steel used which suffered from embrittlement.[11] She discovered that the ships in the North Atlantic were exposed to temperatures that could fall below a critical point when the mechanism of failure changed from ductile to brittle, and thus the hull could fracture rather easily. The predominantly welded (as opposed to riveted) hull construction then allowed cracks to run for large distances unimpeded. One common type of crack nucleated at the square corner of a hatch which coincided with a welded seam, both the corner and the weld acting as stress concentrators. Furthermore, the ships were frequently grossly overloaded and some of the problems occurred during or after severe storms at sea that would have placed any ship at risk. Various reinforcements were applied to the Liberty ships to arrest the crack problems, and the successor design, the Victory ship, was stronger and less stiff to better deal with fatigue.

Several designs of mass-produced petroleum tankers were also produced, the most numerous being the T2 tanker series, with about 490 built between 1942 and the end of 1945.

She is listed as a victim of U-254

Grumpybear
28-06-12, 19:35
Yes but the action took place a while before the rather hoped for destination...If I put a smilie icon on this I'd deserve to be shot...

The convoy had set off from the UK and was ordered to scatter when in the vicinity of the northern tip of Norway, so definitely Arctic rather than Atlantic.

Grumpybear
28-06-12, 19:41
The US tanker Schenectady broke in two when in harbour on a very cold morning during WWII. The failure mode was rapid propagation of a crack through welded steel embrittled by low temperatures. The story I was told at college was that a sailor climbed out of a hatchway and dropped the lid; the bang was enough to start the crack at the corner of the hatch opening where the stresses in the steel were concentrated (very like the Comet tragedies).

Seajet
28-06-12, 20:12
The convoy had set off from the UK and was ordered to scatter when in the vicinity of the northern tip of Norway, so definitely Arctic rather than Atlantic.

Grumpybear,

quite right, my mistake; I'd thought it all happened further West.

http://www.pq17.eclipse.co.uk/convoy_PQ17_bckgrnd02.htm