Northern Light Newsletter
Official Publication of the North Russia Club
These copies of the "Northern Light" came from the collection of Howard Elliott, Signalman, RCNVR. They were donated to Dan Delong who scanned them and donated the digital copies to "For Posterity's Sake" for sharing.
The North Russia Club was wound up in 2007 with "Northern Light" Sep 2007, No. 84 being the final issue.
The men who served on the convoy escorts and the merchant ships formed the North Russia Club (1985) and the Russian Convoy Club (1988) to keep in touch with former shipmates. They went on to campaign for wider recognition of the contribution the Arctic convoys made to winning the war. That was slow in coming. No campaign medal was issued for veterans of the Arctic convoys and they were only eligible for the Atlantic Star if they had served in the western Atlantic for at least six months.
In 1986 the USSR showed its gratitude by awarding the commemorative medal celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the war’s end to veterans of the Arctic convoys and 270 attended an investiture and reception at the Russian Embassy.
The USSR embarrassed the UK government by awarding the veterans of the Arctic convoys their own commemorative medal on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war but it has taken a long campaign by the veterans to win recognition from their own government.
It was announced on 26 February 2013, by the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois that all the details have been confirmed for the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command Clasp. This followed Sir John Holmes’ independent medal review and the announcement by the Prime Minister, on 19 December 2012, that these awards should be made in recognition of the great bravery of those who contributed to two very significant campaigns of World War Two.
By 2008 both the Russian Convoy Club and the North Russia Club had been dissolved but the Loch Ewe memorial commemorating the sacrifice of those who lost their lives on the convoys stands near Pool House, the former command centre for the convoys, on the shore of Loch Ewe.
Jock Dempster (1928-2013), the Russian speaking Chairman of the Arctic Convoy Club Scotland who was sixteen when he went to Murmansk on the tanker, MV San Venancio, and campaigned for the award of the medal, died six weeks after receiving his Arctic Star at 10 Downing Street.
Convoys Remembered is an online archive of stories contributed by veterans and plans are being made for a multi-site Russian Arctic Convoy Museum on the shore of Loch Ewe where the convoys assembled in 1943-5.
(The above information on the Arctic Star is from the Holywell House Publishing website. It has been edited for posting here)