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01 september

80th Anniversary of the Arctic (Northern) Convoys

During the Second World War, from August 1941 to May 1945, the Arctic Convoys delivered more than 4 million tonnes of strategically important goods to the Soviet Union under the lend-lease programme. Many New Zealanders took part in the Arctic convoys as officers and sailors of the Navy and merchant's vessels.

The first Arctic convoy, codenamed “Operation Dervish”, left Liverpool on August 12, 1941, and arrived safely in Arkhangelsk on August 31, 1941.

New Zealander Jim Gallie participated in escorting the Dervish Convoy as a seaman of HMS Victorious. He recollected:

“From there, on my 17th birthday, 21 August 1941, started what was to become a regular routine...Operation Dervish. The first convoy of 7 ships to Archangelsk. As in all subsequent convoys, we were there, but not with them. Sixty or seventy miles back as a buffer between them and the German Big Guns. The Germans played that card well. Without firing a shot, or using a ton of fuel, they kept the Home fleet tied up for the best part of two years. After Dervish, we covered the rear of seven PQ and six QP convoys including PQ17”.

His full memoirs: http://www.russianconvoyclub.org.nz/MyStoryJimGallie.html

More about New Zealanders in the Arctic convoys from the website of "The Northern Convoys International Centre" Foundation: https://bit.ly/3mHxNQq