The “Arctic Convoys – Men and Ice” exhibition opens this Monday in Edinburgh and tells the stories of survivors of the Arctic Convoys. These were the brave sailors who worked in some of the harshest conditions of the war, on board ships, on frozen, icy waters in bitter cold Arctic winds, all the time fearing the German U-boats below. The stories of 16 veterans will be celebrated in a free display at the St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in association with Legion Scotland.
Merchant ships, escorted by Royal Navy vessels, braved the northern Atlantic route of 2,500 miles of deadly seas, including the Arctic Ocean, from 1941 to 1945
Now, I’m posting this as heroic veteran, David Dunsmuir now aged 89, originally from Blantyre was one of those who served on the convoys. Working as a printer in Edinburgh, the 18-year-old was called up in September 1943. He served as a gunner on HMS Diadem. The grandfather of two said: “The thing that struck me immediately was I hadn’t understood how dangerous or strong water is. I saw 35ft waves hitting ships and bending steel. The biggest concern was the cold. Everything was freezing up and we had to keep chipping away at the ice, keeping the guns free.”
After the war, David returned to his printing job and worked his way up to a director of the company. He retired after working for 47 years with the firm. Now 89, he lives in Edinburgh and managed to return to Russia this year to commemorate the end of the war in Europe.
Kevin Gray, chief executive officer of Legion Scotland, said: “The Arctic Convoys were described by Winston Churchill as the ‘worst journey in the world’. The exhibition is being hosted from 27 July until 31 August.
Merchant ships, escorted by Royal Navy vessels, braved the northern route of 2,500 miles of deadly seas, including the Arctic Ocean, from 1941 to 1945.