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A memorial event is due to be held in Scotland on 16 May to remember those who took part in the Arctic convoys to supply the Soviet Union with food and weapons during the Second World War, The National (Scotland) newspaper reports.
The event will take place at Loch Ewe in the north-western Highlands and will mark the 75th anniversary of the last convoys setting out on their perilous trip past the Norwegian coast to the port of Murmansk. The loch is where a great many of the Allied ships gathered prior to their departure.
In total there were 78 Arctic convoys, with some leaving from the USA and Iceland, although the majority set off from Scotland. More than 3,000 men lost their lives on the 85 merchant ships and 16 Royal Navy warships that were sunk.
After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Winston Churchill and US president Franklin D Roosevelt promised Stalin help and support. By 1945, the convoys had transported four million tons of supplies and munitions on a route which Churchill called “the worst journey in the world”.
Eddie Turnbull, who played football for Hibernian and went on to manage the club and Aberdeen, described his own experience as a sailor on the Arctic Convoys in his book Having a Ball.
“Every voyage was fraught with danger,” he wrote. “You lived in the constant knowledge that underneath you could be men in submarines trying to kill you, and every sight of an airplane might be your last. But there was another killer – the cold. My first experience of the sheer cold we would experience on the convoys is something I will never forget.
“It hit home to me just how cold life aboard ship would be when I found I was unable to get warm even deep within the ship.”
The Russian Arctic Convoy Project is now trying to contact surviving veterans and their families. John Casson, one of the event organisers, told The National: “We aim to contact as many veterans or their families as possible and hope they will be able to attend.”
Veterans or their families interested in attending the event can contact Mr Casson at email@example.com