Heroism of Arctic Convoy sailors is commemorated on 75th anniversary

A Swordfish Biplane flying over HMS Dragon in Liverpool at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys. 
Picture: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire
A Swordfish Biplane flying over HMS Dragon in Liverpool at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys. Picture: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

WATCH: Hilarity rules as Falklands veterans brave the shave

0
Have your say

The extraordinary heroism of seafarers in the Second World War has been remembered on the 75th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys.

Veterans gathered in Liverpool to commemorate the anniversary of the convoys, which sailed from the UK to Russia between 1941 and 1945 to provide supplies to the Eastern Front.

The route through the treacherous seas, often occupied by U-boats, was described by Sir Winston Churchill as the worst journey in the world.

The men who served were eventually awarded a medal after a long campaign supported by The News.

Crews delivered between 3.5 and four million tons of cargo of all kinds, including aircraft and tanks, on the trips.

Some 3,000 seafarers lost their lives on the journeys and one in every 20 vessels taking on the route sank.

Thirty-five veterans attended the event at Liverpool Town Hall.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones paid tribute to the “extraordinary heroism and singular fortitude” of those who had served on the seas.

He said: “Today we remember the personal commitment, the courage and the sacrifice of every one of them.”

Sid Speke, who was an electrical mechanic in the Royal Navy, said he had served on two trips to Russia.

The 95-year-old, from Sutton Maddock in Shropshire, said: “That involved a fair amount of, not exactly rough weather, but cold weather and we were very lucky, apart from hearing later that we had met up with some German destroyers which had put torpedoes at us which we luckily missed.”

He added: “The greatest thing, of course, is to think that I’m a survivor.”

The great-grandfather said: “I keep up the remembrance services and I always think there but for the grace of God go I.”

The Royal Marines Band performed the Beating Retreat outside the town hall.

A flypast by the Swordfish aircraft is due to take place over the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.