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Evening of History and Memories with British Arctic Convoy Veterans
Thursday 24 September, 2015, 17:00 - 19:00
The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War by organising a visit to Cambridge of a group of British veterans who took part in the Arctic Convoys to Russia in 1941-1945, to share their memories of those most traumatic journeys that provided a crucial lifeline to the Russian war effort.
Thursday, 24th September, 5 – 7pm (Doors open at 4.30pm for 5pm start)
Jock Colville Hall, Churchill College
This is a unique opportunity to meet living witnesses of that special allied mission, which Winston Churchill referred to as “the most dangerous journey in the world”, and to learn history at first hand. The veterans will also be showing photographs and sharing impressions from their recent visits to Russia.
We are expecting ten veterans to join us for the evening, which will be opened by Prof David Reynolds of the University of Cambridge.
Please join us to pay a tribute to the living heroes of the Second World War and commemorate those who lost their lives in this most tragic international military conflict of all time.The North Atlantic Fleet sailed from 1941 to 1945 from the UK to the Northern Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel to aid Soviet Allies with supplies and ammunition, which were vital to the war effort. Merchant ships with supplies and ammunition were escorted by British Royal Naval ships and aircraft carriers.
Supplies came initially solely from British sources, with America providing more and more from January 1942. Between August 1941 and May 1945, the Arctic Convoys delivered over 4 million tons of cargo to Russia, including at least 7,000 aeroplanes, 5,000 tanks, trucks, tyres, fuel, food, medicine, clothes, metals and other raw materials. For Prime Minister Winston Churchill, these supplies were a vital demonstration of Allied solidarity.
There were a total of 78 convoys to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel and 36 from Russia to the UK. As many as 87 Merchant Navy and 18 Royal Navy vessels were sent to the bottom of the sea during the perilous operation and over 3,000 Allied seamen died during this mission.
For more information please visit: http://rbth.co.uk/longreads/arctic_convoys/
We would like to thank Dianne and Jimmy Pitts, Kennington Russian Arctic Convoy Club, Konstantin Shlikov, The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the UK, The Churchill Archives Centre, Mr Allen Packwood, The Churchill College, Prof David Reynolds and many others, for their help to make this event possible.