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Sheenagh Pugh
08 May 2012 @ 09:56 am
This is the website of a campaign trying to get a dedicated Russian Arctic Convoys Museum set up near Loch Ewe in the North West Highlands of Scotland, where many of them sailed from. They're currently running a week of fund-raising events. There's also a link to the e-petition for a medal to be issued to the few veterans of the convoys left alive. Yes, you'd think there would already have been one, for one of the most arduous and dangerous theatres of WW2, and there is, but President Gorbachev, bless him, issued it; the UK government has always been averse.

My father was in the convoys; he was on HMS Scorpion during the battle of North Cape when the Scharnhorst was sunk,and after he died I wrote a sequence of poems about his war medals (which was published in Poetry Wales). This is the one about the convoys:


Russian Convoys Medal (North Cape)

Mid-afternoon
             no daylight left,

the Arctic Ocean
             a monotone

far below
             the edge of Europe.

Warm rooms cut
             deep in the rock,

café, souvenir shop
             and a plaque burnished

for all the young men
             sick as dogs

who could not come in
             out of the storm.

"Hell of a place
             to spend Christmas"

- though, he'd always add,
             worse for the prey,

the shapely Scharnhorst,
             her radar blinded,

pack closing in
             and no way home.