History & Learning

Downloadable Resources


PQ-17 was one of the most disastrous naval episodes of WW2 for the allies. Naval intelligence led the British Admiralty to believe that German surface vessels, particularly the Tirpitz, were going to attack the large convoy PQ-17. It fell to First Sea Lord Admiral Dudley Pound to decide what action to take. He ordered the escort vessels to leave the convoy to pursue the supposed German threat, and he ordered the merchant ships to “scatter”. Each tried to make its way individually to Russia, but with no warships to protect them they were exposed to enemy air attack and vulnerable to U-boats. Of the 35 merchant vessels, 24 were sunk, prompting Winston Churchill to name the disaster “one of the most melancholy naval episodes in the whole of the war”.
convoy story pq17
Women on the Arctic Convoys Azerbaijan and PQ-17

Women on the Arctic Convoys: Azerbaijan and PQ-17

PQ-17 is one of the more famous convoy missions owing to the terrible losses that resulted from the decision to scatter the ships. What is less well known is the female presence aboard Soviet tankers that took part in this ill-fated mission.

HMS Trinidad: The ship that torpedoed itself

Learn about what happened to HMS Trinidad on PQ-13 in 1942. She faced not only incredibly rough weather but also enemy attack from U-boats, Narvik class destroyers, Junkers Ju 88 dive bombers and Dornier torpedo bombers. Yet it was the cold that was her undoing, as a malfunction with a gyro mechanism, probably due to freezing, caused one of her own torpedoes to arc and strike the ship. That wasn’t the end of the story, though.
HMS Trinidad The Ship That Torpedoed Itself
Food on the Arctic Convoys What Did The Sailors Eat

Food on the Arctic Convoys: What did the sailors eat?

Life was tough on an Arctic Convoy. Food was one of the few things the sailors could look forward to amidst their normal duties, the constant threat of attack and the perilous weather conditions. But what did they eat? Was it tasty? How difficult was eating in rough seas?

The Fleet Air Arm on Arctic Convoys

Although allied air cover was limited during the convoys, particularly in the early years, the Fleet Air Arm provided torpedo bombers, fighters and reconnaissance planes that were important lines of defence against enemy U-boats and aircraft. The pilots had to fly most sorties in adverse weather conditions, which made landing on deck extremely challenging.
The fleet air arm

FlyBy: FAAAA Articles

The Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia have very kindly given us permission to reproduce three articles written by Graeme Lunn for their monthly magazine, FlyBy. SNO Number One tells the amazing story of Stan Keane DSC, Swordfish Pilot;  A Lone Officer tells the story of Bill Henley, who was vital to the formation of the Australian Fleet Air Arm; and 813 Squadron Aboard Campania details the actions of this Squadron on Arctic Convoy duties.