South Shields Daily Photo

A collection of images from South Shields and the North of England

The Russian Convoy Club

with 29 comments

veterans of the Russian convoys in South Shields

Armed Forces Day

These are the real guys in the white hats, they were men who served at sea in the Russian Convoys between 1941 and 1945 helping the supply of materials exchanged between the Allied forces of the west and Russia in the Second World War. Their losses were heavy and more men from South Shields lost their lives at sea during the second great war than from any other town in the UK. They made regular journeys from UK and foreign ports via Scapa Flow to Murmansk and Archangel to keep Russia supplied with vital materials to continue her war effort, but their losses were heavy and arduous, 2800 lives were lost in the 78 convoys and over 100 ships ended their voyages at the bottom of the oceans as victims of German U-boats and surface ships.

The Russian Convoy Club have taken to wearing a white beret with badge to signify their participation in the vital logistics operation that sustained the Allied efforts.

On the left is Bob Robertson and his wife, and on the right George Nicols and his wife: I was honoured to meet them as they convened for a special service to mark Armed Forces Day on the steps of South Shields Town Hall yesterday, men such as these inspire the pride and remembrance in both our armed forces and the merchant fleet which protected our threatened democracy during those dark days. We should never forget the impact of their lives’ work and the lessons of history which flow from it.

Camera details: Pentax K100D, 46 mm lens, 1/350 second, f4, iso 200


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Written by curly

June 29, 2009 at 12:39 am

Posted in Colour, History, People, South Shields

Tagged with ,

29 Responses

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  1. I served on HMS Zest which was a support Destroyer on the Russian convoys. I received the Arctic Star and I would like to purchase a white beret and badge as shown in your photo. (size 57cm).

    I was told that all Russian Convoy Clubs had been disbanded – are there any in the Wiltshire (Swindon) area. Your help would be appreceiated.

    Many thanks, Norman Hancock CJX 653633
    My telephone number is 01793 740401

    Norman Hancock

    November 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

    • I found your article whilst search for a telephone number for the russian convoy club in London. Would you have had any replies for a phone number for any of the convoy clubs. There was recently an article in the Navy News which my uncle gave me regarding a trip to Russia. My father was on HMS Striker.

      Barbara Hunt

      October 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      • Ms Hunt

        I visit weekly a veteran of the arctic convoys and wonder whether any of his colleagues are still alive. He used to attend the club in London but has lost contact. Did you ever get details of a contact number? Grateful for any information.

        Patric Maple

        September 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      • A colleague and I are writing a book about the Arctic Convoys, to coincide with the opening of a museum in Loch Ewe, Scotland, so if any veterans would like to get in touch with me at – we would very much appreciate it.


        Lynne Cobine

        November 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

      • Hi Barbara,
        I am searching on behalf of my Dad who served on the Russian Convoys and is eager to join the Russian Convoy Club, or a branch of it. If you have any contact details for any remaining clubs I would be very grateful if you would share them with me. Many thanks. Damelza

        Damelza Storbeck

        January 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    • Hi Norman, My father Eric (Ben) Lyon was also in HMS Zest on Russian convoys.He worked on torpedoes and ships electrics, he’s alive & well at 87 maybe you remember him? I have found a place that sells the white beret but I am still searching for cap badge. The beret can be purchased from price £9.50 I hope this helps


      Rob Lyon

      January 30, 2011 at 7:58 pm

  2. I was on norwegian tankers on the russian convoys, any one know were I can get a white hat?


    November 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  3. Ed Bennett who served aboard HMS Orwell during the Russian Convoys died 2nd March 2010 in the Capy Fryatt Hospital Dovercourt, Essex

    peter goodwin

    March 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm

  4. I am a Russian journalist based in Brussels, Belgium. My newspaper, “Novaya Gazeta”, is preparing articles for 65th Anniversary of V.E. I wonder if a veteran of Russian Convoys could agree to give me an interview in April, to tell me his life. I could come in any place of the U.K. to meet him.

    Alexandre Mineev (+32477294405)

    Alexandre Mineev

    March 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm

  5. Hello
    Can anyone help I am trying find find a Russian Convoy beret badge



    October 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

  6. My father served on HMS Leda and was aboard her in convoy QP14 when she was sunk on 20th March 1942 by U-435.
    With his first great-grandson about to be born, I would like to obtain the Arctic Campaign Emblem which I understand from a BBC news article is available to next-of-kin. Can anyone help me with this please?

    Peter Wood

    November 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    • hi
      i was searching for assistance with the russian convoy medal my father tommy sailed in the russian convoys dad died in 1993 if anyone can help i would be most grateful

      andrew mcCluskey

      January 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    • Hi Peter,

      Did you get a reply to this? If not I can help – my father was on HMS Leda too. (I have ticked to be notified of follow up comments so should be alerted if you leave another message).

      Roger Cook, Nottingham

      Roger Cook

      April 8, 2012 at 1:40 am

  7. my late father was on the russian convoys and i would be very grateful to know how to obtain the white beret and badge many thanks sue silcox nee rees

    david rees

    November 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

    • Did you have any luck with this? My late father also served on the Arctic Convoys and I am trying to obtain a white beret and badge and any assistance with doing this would be greatly appreciated. Dad would’ve been 90 last year and I’d hoped to have them for 2011 Remembrance Day. I’m going to the Menin Gate for remembrance day this year will proudly wear dad’s medals and would dearly love take the white beret and badge too.

      Berni Wilkins

      July 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      • Hello, try ebay, have seen a few popping up last few weeks, if none on, save it in yourvsearch and ebay will tell you if anyone puts them on.

        Wife,s grandfather was killed when hms mahratta sunk in 1944. While on these runs.


        September 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    • Hello David,
      What ship was your father on, was he in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy.


      December 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

    • Hello David.
      What ship was your father on, and was he in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy.


      December 23, 2012 at 9:12 am

  8. I served aboard HMS Anson form 1942 until 1946
    and would appreciate details of the Association .
    Sincerely,Norman Lewis

    norman lewis

    December 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    • Hello Norman

      A colleague and I are writing a book about the Arctic Convoys, to coincide with the opening of a museum in Loch Ewe, Scotland, so if you would like to get in touch with me at – to tell us your story, we would very much appreciate it.


      Lynne Cobine

      November 2, 2011 at 9:47 am



    January 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

  10. Impressive photo – Bob looks as though he might still be up for it. I served on HMS Zambesi, an escort destroyer and did a few convoys including RA-64 when we had a bit of a blow. Also took part in the evecuation of Norwegians from Soroy. Live in Gateshead, but for some reason have never joined, although recently have been giving talks on it.

    Roy Elwood

    February 9, 2011 at 11:10 am

    • dear roy,my dad was on hms zealos and he took part in the evacuation of soroy.
      my wife and I went to soroy and met some of the man remembered clearly being taken with his family on the was quite an emotional visit and one we shall never forget.

      vyron evans

      May 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  11. My Father Norman White served on Aircraft Carrier HMS Striker during WW2, along with Ernie Lee, both were from Bradford , West Yorkshire.

    Tim White

    July 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

  12. My name is Philip Edward Jones C/JX 658391.I served on H.M.S.Zest from the commisioning in 1944 until leaving the ship at Leith dockyard at the end of the war in Europe.My job on board was in the rigging party,this mainly included splicing and knots,rigging the foxing gear etc.I had served a year in the Merchant Year,in 1941,at the age of 15.This was only on the coast.Our base was “Greenock”.My family and I had lost our family home,as the result of an air raid on London in 1940.We moved to “Maldon” in Essex.My mother passed away in Maldon,and is buried there.In 1951 the N.Z. Navy asked for ex. R.N. members,and I volunteered and was accepted.I am now on my own living in Australia,and have the house up for sale.I shall be returning to N.Z.where my family is.Hoping to hear from you.

    Philip Edward Jones

    March 27, 2012 at 4:39 am

  13. Thank You

    Philip Edward Jones

    March 27, 2012 at 4:42 am

  14. I served on the EXTERMINATOR when she hit a mine on the return trip from Murmansk are thyete are shipmates still around Erik Kragelund Tlf. 45 38 11 31 25

    Erik Kragelund

    October 3, 2013 at 11:34 am

  15. Hi there my Father is looking for any Arctic Convoy Clubs as the Scottish Branch has now closed any information will be greatly appreciated thanks

    Marion Macintyre

    August 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

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