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Keith at Tregenna
17th May 2018, 01:09 PM
War hero Edwin, 92, will never forget dark days of Arctic Convoys

A VETERAN from East Renfrewshire headed north at the weekend to take part in a commemoration for the Russian Arctic Convoys of the Second World War.

Edwin Leadbetter, 92, was among the brave service personnel who put their lives on the line by taking part in the perilous convoys.

More than 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen died from the bitter cold and enemy attacks on the missions to transport vital supplies from Scotland to Soviet ports in the Arctic Circle.

A total of 78 convoys delivered more than four million tonnes of supplies, including 7,000 planes and 5,000 tanks, between 1941 and 1945.

War hero Edwin, 92, will never forget dark days of Arctic Convoys | Barrhead News (http://www.barrheadnews.com/news/16228879.War_hero_Edwin__92__will_never_forget_dar k_days_of_Arctic_Convoys/)

Norman Young
23rd May 2018, 10:47 AM
My father, Richard H L Young, was Second Officer of ss Harmatris during Arctic Convoy PQ8. In an incident on 17 January 1942 off the Kola Inlet, Harmatris was torpedoed and disabled and HMS Matabele torpedoed and sunk with only two survivors. Harmatris was re-boarded and eventually towed into Murmansk. It took eight months under daily air attack to repair the ship. Eventually in September Harmatris loaded in Archangel and returned to the UK in convoy QP14 which suffered several losses before arriving in Loch Ewe in October. My father was awarded a King's Commendation and more recently I obtained his Arctic Star and other campaign medals.


Keith at Tregenna
23rd May 2018, 03:42 PM
Thanks Norman.

Veterans attend Arctic Convoy ceremony in Loch Ewe

Three veterans in their nineties travelled to Wester Ross last weekend to attend a special annual ceremony to commemorate the Russian Arctic Convoys of the Second World War; an event that claimed 3,000 lives.

The trio, who are making the trip thanks to the Unforgotten Forces project which supports older veterans and their families in Scotland, have become close friends and they enjoyed a three-night stay at a hotel in Gairloch as part of a new ‘Break Away’ service.

The veterans are Bernard Roberts (91) from Cardonald; James Docherty (92) from Dalmarnock; and Edwin Leadbetter (92) from Newton Mearns. Edwin – or ‘Eddie’ – served on HMS Fencer, an escort aircraft carrier during the Second World War. He was on the Fencer when it joined an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz. Eddie spent more than a decade in the Royal Navy and is a recipient of both the Arctic Star and the Burma Star. Eddie suffers from Alzheimer’s and lives with his daughter and carer, Liz McKenna.

Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, which brought the Western Allies together to provide essential support and supplies to the Soviet forces. Chosen for its remote and isolated location, Loch Ewe was the gathering point for many of the Arctic Convoys before they embarked on their perilous journey. The most direct route was by sea, around northern Norway to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel.

Between August 1941 and 1945, a total of 78 convoys travelled to and from northern Russia, taking four million tonnes of supplies to the Soviet forces, including 7,000 planes and 5,000 tanks. Tragically, more than 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen lost their lives on the convoys.

Several wartime buildings, gun emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries still stand around the local landscape where the veterans are visiting. For that reason, Loch Ewe is the base for many commemorative activities, and The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum project set up a dedicated Exhibition Centre in the village of Aultbea last year.