Arctic Convoy was absolute hell
October 11th, 2011 was the original publication date.
Heres a video on BBC News with a fantastic first-hand account
of day-to-day life serving on the Arctic Convoys.
The scene where the veterans hug each other towards the end is so
BBC video about call for medal for Arctic Convoy veterans
September 21st, 2011 was the original publication date.
BBC News story about 70th anniversary
September 2nd, 2011 was the original publication date.
A ceremony was held on Sat 20 August 2011 at the Wester Ross memorial,
above Loch Ewe, north-west Scotland mainland to mark the 70th anniversary
of the first Arctic convoys. Operation Dervish, which ran from September
1941 to December 1944, saw ships gather in Loch Ewe before setting
out to Murmansk and Archangel.
More than 3,000 seamen lost their lives to the freezing conditions
and attacks by German submarines and aircraft.
Line up of ships Babur, Badr, Shahjahan, Tipu Sultan, and Jehangir
June 7th, 2011 was the original publication date.
Babur was the re-fitted Diadem
the copyright of this image belongs to Flickr user Doc Kazi
Dagenham RNA and their Secretary David Billet who served on HMS
April 19th, 2011 was the original publication date.
Story about David Billet, Dagenham, who served on HMS Diamond and
Local serving and ex-service members of Britains naval forces
have met, every week, since 1936.
On Saturday 19 February 2011, members of Dagenhams Royal
Naval Association (RNA) branch are set to enjoy to a night of festivities
at their headquarters Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club
as they look back at 75 years of their organisation.
For secretary David Billet, the anniversary is an important moment
in his life and that of friends from the branch.
Dagenham resident David, 75 himself, served on both HMS Diamond
and HMS Diadem.
He said: We have around 80 members now and were all
looking forward to celebrating the associations birthday this
month, along with other distinguished guests. Its going to
be an evening of nostalgia.
Our youngest member is in his 20s and the oldest is in his
80s, so the association encompasses all age groups. Sadly, weve
lost many members along the way, but theyll all be remembered.
The RNA started life in the UK in late 1935 as the Royal Naval
Old Comrades Association.
It was set up for ex service members of the Royal Navy and Royal
The last Murmansk Convoys - PDF ebook by David Syrett
March 1st, 2011 was the original publication date.
"On 11 March 1945 Convoy JW-65 sailed from the Clyde for Murmansk
by the cruiser H M S Diadem, escort carriers H M S Campania and
Trumpeter, and a
number of destroyers and other vessels."
"RA-65 sailed from Murmansk on 24 March. H M S Diadem, Campania,
Trumpeter departed in advance of the main body to provide air cover
for the merchant-
men. Although the weather prevented carrier air operations until
after 0735A, no U-boats
were encountered and only a few High Frequency Direction finder
(HF/DF) bearings were
obtained from several U-boats to the west. Nonetheless, air patrols
were flown around
RA-65 on 26 March to prevent U-boats from getting ahead of the convoy
HMS Diadem wall shield
February 15th, 2011 was the original publication date.
In memory of Edward Daltrey
found on Twitter.
(Note by GM May 2013: image is now gone)
HMS Diadem after her refit as PNS Babur in the Pakistan Navy
January 25th, 2011 was the original publication date.
Heres a photo on Flickr in /pimus collection:
In the comments, Raheel I. Khan says "That would be the first
PNS Babur, the former HMS Diadem (84), a Dido-class cruiser of the
Royal Navy. We have had two more PNS Baburs since. The following
two are HMS London and HMS Amazon. Amazon being the current PNS
D-Day - Order of battle
January 11th, 2011 was the original publication date.
JUNO BEACH - Assault Force "J"
Bombarding Force E: Rear Admiral Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton (HMS
Movements of HMS Diadem
December 22nd, 2010 was the original publication date.
From the WAR DIARY OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, HOME FLEET
HMS DIADEM 1945
June 1-5 Copenhagen
June 6 Left Copenhagen escorting NORDMARK
June 8 Arrived Rosyth
June 27 Left Rosyth
June 29 Arrived Oslo For Victory celebration
July 2 Left Oslo
July 4 Arrived Scapa
July 9 Left Scapa
July 11 Arrived Portsmouth to give leave
July 11-12 Portsmouth
Eric Clifford, commander of Diadem at the end of WWII
December 14th, 2010 was the original publication date.
Vice Admiral Sir Eric George Anderson Clifford KCB CBE (1900-1964)
was a Royal Navy officer who became Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff.
He served in World War II as Commanding Officer of the destroyers
HMS Mackay and HMS Salisbury and then as Naval Assistant Secretary
to the War Cabinet from 1941 to 1943. In the closing stages of
the War he commanded the cruiser HMS Diadem.
Royal Navy Wiki Page linking to HMS Diadem Association
December 7th, 2010 was the original publication date.
This seems to be a wiki page belonging to the Royal Navy. If you
click on the link to the HMS Diadem association, it takes you to
a page which does not yet exist, inviting you to create it. Very
New Wikipedia entry about the Baltic Sea on 28 January 1945
November 30th, 2010 was the original publication date.
HMS Diadem and the part she played in a battle in the Baltic Sea
on 28 January 1945:
"After Z34 was damaged Hetz decided to turn to the north and
attempt to outrun the British cruisers. Z34 fired a third salvo
of torpedoes as the flotilla made this turn, again without result,
and the three ships laid smoke screens. The two cruisers also turned
to the north to chase the German ships. This lead to a running battle
in which Mauritius sustained a hit which did not cause any casualties
and Diadem was struck by a shell six minutes later which killed
one man and wounded three. "
Moving photograph of Gold Beach troops
November 10th, 2010 was the original publication date of this article.
Copyright National Archives, USA
Detailed D-Day landing maps
November 3rd, 2010 was the original publication date.
D-Day, Gold Beach and HMS Diadem
October 27th, 2010 was the original publication date.
Interesting forum post by BobFish - about halfway down this page
- outlining the scale of the D-Day operations which sets the context
of HMS Diadems role in the Gold beach landing.
British light cruiser HMS Diadem on the River Tyne.
October 5th, 2010 was the original publication date.
This is an open-source photo from the Imperial War Museums
collection. Its great seeing photos like this being made available
online under relaxed licences. Id like to see more of the
IWMs photos and documents released under similar terms.
This is photograph No. FL 9948 from the Imperial War Museum collection
No. 8308-29. This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government
is in the public domain.
This is because it is one of the following:
It is a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and
taken prior to 1 June 1957; or
It was commercially published prior to 1960; or
It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g.
a painting) which was created by the United Kingdom Government prior
HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide
HMS Vanguard and HMS Diadem
June 15th, 2010 was the original publication date.
" This never before published photo shows HMS Vanguard (left)
and HMS Diadem (right) from HMS Anson arriving at Portland, England.
(Photo from the collection of Ordinary Signalman Owen Vigeon, R.N.)
© Owen Vigeon all rights reserved
Scan by Philip J. Heydon, I.S.M."
Weve never received any medals from the British Government.
May 18th, 2010 was the original publication date.
"Weve never received any medals from the British Government."
These are the words quoted by former HMS Diadem shipmate Jack Harrison
in his report in Belper News as he received a medal at the Russian
Embassy for the part he played in the escort of the Russian Convoys
"Jack (85), took part in ten trips from Scapa Flow, in the
Orkney Islands, to Murmansk, in Russia. His ship, the HMS Diadem,
was one of several flanking Merchant Navy ships which were carrying
supplies to Russia.
"Sailors faced freezing temperatures, battering waves, and
poor conditions for weeks on end during the trips, which were aimed
at protecting the cargo ships from German submarine attacks.
"Jack said: "We just saw it as our job, but the Russians
saw it as us supporting their war; like we were on their side. I
never thought of it like that, but they saw it that we were helping
"Im very proud to have been part of it. Im pleased
that I went but I wouldnt want to do it again if they asked
me. It was talked of as the worst job in the war."""
1949 photo taken from HMS Diadem on eBay
May 17th, 2010 was the original publication date.
Theres a photo on sale on eBay this week. Heres how
the seller describes the image:
"Shows elements of a four nation combined naval exercise in
the English Channel. Under the command of Admiral Sir Rhoderick
R McGrigor, c in c, the British Home Fleet practised manoeuvering,
bombarding, and various other forms of naval warfare. Here, the
French cruiser Montcalm passes HMS Diadem, as she steams
out of the anchorage at Mounts Bay, Penzance.
I dont long how long after end of auction images are left
to be viewed.
HMS Diadem as Babur in Pakistan
May 11th, 2010 was the original publication date.
Some interesting photos of HMS Diadem in the 1960s after shed
been re-commissioned by the Pakistan Navy:
Diadem in Chatham Dockyard, Belfast 1954
March 1st, 2010 was the original publication date.
This is an interesting scrapbook of the travels of the crew of
USS Hickox in September 1954- February 1955. You can dynamically
turn the pages of this PDF files online. If you search the text
for "HMS Diadem", on Page 23, youll see a clipping
from the Belfast Telegraph 2 Nov 1954:
"The distinctive flush -decked, tall- funneled shapes of two
American destroyers were to be seen in Chatham Dockyard shortly
before dusk on Wednesday, when the two United States ships. Capcrton
and Hickox. locked-ln for a six-day operational visit
. A comprehensive
programme of hospitality has been organised by the Reserve Fleet
host ship, H.M.S. Diadem."
Steel model of HMS Diadem with HMCS Haida and Huron
January 13th, 2010 was the original publication date.
1/700 RN Diorama (HMS Diadem accompanies HMCS Haida and Huron on
a channel sweep) by Chris Drage (Diadem: Skytrex metal kit, Haida
& Huron: Ultracast)
posted by Gareth Morlais
Royal Navy Memories
January 11th, 2010 was the original publication date.
photo caption: HMS Diadem (Cruiser)was a Bellona-class cruiser
of the Royal Navy. She was a modified Dido design with only 4 turrets
but improved AA armament aka Dido Group 2. She was built
by R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, Limited (Hebbum- on-
Tyne, UK), with the keel being laid down on 15 Dec. 1939. She was
launched on 21 Aug.1942, and commissioned 6 Jan 1944
Russian Convoy Club image
January 8th, 2010 was the original publication date.
photo of ship from http://www.russianconvoyclub.org.nz/MembersShips.htm
BBCs The Peoples War
January 8th, 2010 was the original publication date.
There are eight mentions of HMS Diadem in the BBCs The Peoples
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Photo from Battleship Cruisers site
June 19th, 2009 was the original publication date.
Royal Navy Museum Gift Shop photo
June 16th, 2009 was the original publication date.
Jack Harrisons time on HMS Diadem
June 9th, 2009 was the original publication date.
Heres a link to an article from the Argyll News about Jack
Jack was born in 1925 in Cleckheaton in North Yorkshire, joining
Royal Navy in June 1943 when he was eighteen. His naval career began
with basic training at HMS Glendower - a shore-based establishment
Pwllheli in North Wales which went on to become a Butlins
camp. This was followed by radio operator training on the Isle of
When he finished this training, he was transferred to Thurso on
north coast of Scotland via Portsmouth on the south coast, joining
light cruiser HMS Diadem at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles.
Note from GM May 2012: Because this article is no longer available,
I'm taking the Argyll News's advice to Share literally by pasting
this story from the Internet Archive's WayBackMachine:
Jack Harrison - another link in the story of the Arctic Convoys
at Loch Ewe
newsroom published this on 9:16 pm, Friday, 5th June, 2009
Defence| News | Comments (rss) | Respond | Ping |
This is the one of two personal service stories For Argyll is publishing
on this day, 6th June 2009, the 65th anniversary of the Normandy
landings that brought World War II to an end.
Jack Harrisons service took him, via Thurso and Scapa Flow,
to Murmansk and back many times on naval escorts for the Arctic,
or Russian, convoys. It took him into engagement in the Normandy
landings and other actions, including taking part in what became
the last naval engagement of the war.
We have not been able to talk to Jack ourselves but we have been
given his story by Mike Rowlands and we have done some additional
research to develop it.
Jack was born in 1925 in Cleckheaton in North Yorkshire, joining
the Royal Navy in June 1943 when he was eighteen.
His naval career began with basic training at HMS Glendower - a
shore-based establishment at Pwllheli in North Wales which went
on to become a Butlins Holiday camp. This was followed by
radio operator training on the Isle of Man.
When he finished this training, he was transferred to Thurso on
the north coast of Scotland via Portsmouth on the south coast, joining
the light cruiser HMS Diadem at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles.
(The photograph below is HMS Diadem in the Arctic Convoys in 1944.
The image, by copyright holder MiniEntente, is in the public domain.)
Over the next three years he took part in ten Russian convoy return
trips to Murmansk, an eight week engagement during and after the
Normandy D Day landings, flank protection in the Bay of Biscay and
mine laying off the Norwegian coast. He was also involved in the
last naval engagement of World War Two, a clash with German Z class
destroyers. Jack was eventually demobbed from the stone frigate
- the shore establishment, HMS Collingwood in 1946.
In the late 1950s, Jack joined the North Russian Club (also known
as the Russian Convoy Club)and was an active member until it was
disbanded in 2001 due to its ageing and declining membership. In
1998, he visited Loch Ewe in Sutherland - the base for many of the
Arctic or Russian convoys, with fellow member, Jimmy McHugh. (Jimmy
McHugh was at the Arctic Convoy Tribute ceremony at Loch Ewe in
October 2008 and is photographed there in a feature published by
This was a nostalgic, yet enlightening journey for them as theyd
never been ashore, only previously seeing the area from aboard their
respective ships during war time.
They stayed at Pool House Hotel and, from conversations with the
proprietor (who shared the same surname as Jack), discovered a common
interest in the Russian convoys. The idea of a museum was hatched
and subsequently developed by the Harrison family, the owners of
Pool House, with assistance from Jack.
Jack became interested in a particularly heroic episode of the
convoy period that affected the lives of five hundred Norwegian
men, women and children. They had fled their homes in Hammerfest
ahead of retreating German troops who were being pursued by advancing
Russian forces. After surviving in remote caves, the refugees were
rescued by Royal Naval destroyers Zest, Zealous and Zambezi accompanied
by Canadian destroyer RCN Sioux (the former HMS Vixen). They were
taken to Murmansk where they were distributed amongst vessels of
several nations for transportation to the UK. (This is the story
of the evacuation of the Norwegian island of Soroy in which Roy
Elwood played a part from HMS Zambesi. For Argyll has recently published
Roys story, which makes interesting reading alongside this.)
Nineteen of the Norwegians, comprising eleven adults and eight
children were put aboard Liberty ship USS Henry Bacon. Unfortunately,
she developed rudder problems after setting out and fell behind
the convoy. The ship was then attacked and badly damaged by German
bombers - Junkers 88s.
Radio messages were transmitted and the captains order was
given to abandon ship, but only two of the four lifeboats were intact.
The nineteen Norwegians, with six young crew members to man the
oars and radio operator, Spud Campbell, were placed in one lifeboat.
(Spud Campbell can be seen in a photograph in For Argylls
feature on the Arctic Convoy Tribute Ceremony at Loch Ewe in October
2008. He has written a book about his experiences: Waves Astern)
The other serviceable lifeboat was packed with crew members but
could not carry them all. Thirty-eight members of the crew stayed
behind and perished when the ship went down in the freezing sea.
After the two lifeboats had been adrift for three hours, the aptly
named British destroyer HMS Opportune appeared, responding to the
radio distress signals. The occupants of both lifeboats were successfully
transferred aboard and taken to safety in the UK.
Captain Neil Hulse MBE (Merchant Navy) was chairman of the North
Russian Club until its disbandment. He presented Jack Harrison with
the bell from SS Henry Bacon (pictured left) on condition that he
would seek a maritime location for it. Additional engraving was
added to the bell in memory of the Henry Bacon and, with convoy
related documents, it was donated to Pool House Hotel, Loch Ewe
for permanent display.
These will all be displayed in the Museum to the Arctic Convoys
which is in planning at the moment and is to be located at Aultbea.
The bell commemorates not only the Russian convoys that operated
from this location, but the aerial protection provided by the Royal
Air Force and Fleet Air Arm.
It is a permanent reminder of the courage, endurance and sacrifice
of those who served in demanding and dangerous conditions. Among
them are Jack Harrison, Jimmy McHugh, Roy Elwood, Spud Campbell,
Reay Clarke, Jim Olsen, Jock Dempster and others whose service in
these unimaginably daunting convoys For Argyll has been fortunate
to help record.
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