During the last four years of the Second World War, the Western Allies secured Russian defences against Germany by supplying vital food and arms. The plight of those in Murmansk and Archangel who benefited is now well known, but few are aware of the courage, determination and sacrifice of Allied merchant ships, which withstood unremitting U-boat attacks and aerial bombardment to maintain the lifeline to Russia. In the storms, fog and numbing cold of the Arctic, where the sinking of a 10,000 ton freighter was equal to a land battle in terms of destruction, the losses sustained were huge. Told from the perspective of their crews, this is the inspiring story of the long-suffering merchant ships without which Russia would almost certainly have fallen to Nazi Germany.
Richard Woodman is a distinguished, prize-winning maritime author. He served at sea from the age of sixteen, spent eleven years in command, spent six years in operational management and is today an Elder Brother of Trinity House. The author of a number of novels, his historical studies include Arctic Convoys 1941-1945, Malta Convoys 194-1943, The Real Cruel Sea: The Merchant Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1943 and a five volume History of the British Merchant Navy.