Cover art for Surviving the Arctic Convoys
Pen & Sword Books, August 2021
Hardcover, 192 pages
23.4cm × 15.6cm

Surviving the Arctic Convoys The Wartime Memoirs of LeadingSeaman Charlie Erswell

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Leading Seaman Charlie Erswell saw much more than his fair share of action during the Second World War. He was present at the 1942 landing in North Africa (Operation TORCH), D-Day and the liberation of Norway. But his main area of operations was that of the Arctic Convoys, escorting merchant ships taking essential war supplies to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel.

In addition to contending with relentless U-boat and Luftwaffe attacks, crews endured the extreme sea conditions and appalling weather. This involved clearing ice and snow in temperatures as low as minus thirty degrees Celsius. No wonder Winston Churchill described it as 'the worst journey in the world'. Fortunately, Charlie, who served on two destroyers, HMS Milne and Savage, kept a record of his experiences and is alive today to describe them. His story, published to coincide with the 80th Anniversary of the first convoy, is more than one man's account. It is an inspiring tribute to his colleagues, many of whom were killed in action. No-one reading Surviving The Arctic Convoys could fail to be moved by the bravery and endurance of these outstanding men. AUTHOR: John McKay came from a family that had worked in the Scottish shale oil industry from the 1870s to the early 1900s. He worked as a Senior Executive Officer for HM Customs and Excise for over 30 years. He was a member of the City of Edinburgh District Council 1974 - 77 and 1978 - 88, and was Lord Provost 1984 - 88. He was awarded a PhD from the Open University in 1985 for his work on the social history of the Scottish shale oil industry. From 1994 to 2000 he worked as a part-time tutor for the Open University and the University of Dundee. He died in 2011. 32 b/w illustrations

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