Arctic Convoys remembered

Arctic Convoys remembered

- 12/05/2017

On Sunday 7 May Mrs Janet, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, attended a service at the Arctic Convoy Memorial at Cove to remember the first convoy in 1942 seventy five years ago, and laid a wreath in memory of the three thousand who never returned from what Winston Churchill described as 'the worst journey in the world'.

The meaning of the service was considerably enhanced by the attendance of a number of Russian Veterans (in addition to those from the UK) and members of the crew and cadets from the Russian Sail training vessel Yunyi Beltiets, as well as many members of the general public.

Mrs Bowen read out a letter from His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent:

Although it has been some years since I have been able to come to Cove I clearly remember my doing so in 2011 to lay a wreath and remember those who lost their lives on the convoys, a passage that Sir Winston Churchill described as the worst journey in the world, and to give my support to the campaign for the award of a medal in recognition of that service, a campaign that has happily and rightly borne fruit.

Today, as you gather to remember the 75th anniversary of the first convoy, I understand that the occasion will be marked not just British veterans but by veterans from Russia as well, together with Russian cadets from the training ship Yunyi Baltiets, and the Russian consul, our consul from St Petersburg and adult and cadet representatives of our armed forces, along a wide cross section of the local community and from further afield.

Whilst I cannot be with in person I certainly shall be in heart as you faithfully remember those who gave their lives in this great endeavour which enabled our Russian allies to stand against Hitler and repel his advances. It is my hope that this act of remembrance may help to unite our great nations at this time of international instability.

On a wider front I have continued to take a close interest in the affairs of Arctic Convoys, being briefed from time to time by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, and Skye and Lochalsh. As such I am aware of the continued attempts to continue to tell the story of the Arctic Convoys through a Museum, and of the opening of that Museum this year in Aultbea. I send you my best wishes and warm congratulations.

Finally, I would like pay tribute to the local community who care for this memorial and who faithfully remember those who sailed from here, never to return.

The Russian Consul General from Edinburgh replied with a personal message from Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Wreaths were also laid by representatives from the Navy, Army and Air Force, members of Veteran Organisations and the Local Community.

A minesweeper was present off shore throughout the service and the service concluded with flypast from a Spitfire.

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