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Source: ADM 1/14713 Request for payment of climate pay to minesweepers serving in North Russian waters.


From:   The Senior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla 

Date:    3rd May 1942 

To:       The Rear Admiral (Destroyers), Home Fleet

Copy to: The Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla 

Hard Lying Money 

  1. It is submitted that in view of the uncomfortable and unhealthy living conditions which are experienced in HM Ships of the Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla, consideration may be given to the granting, as a permanent measure, of Hard Lying Money at the full rate for these ships.
  1. The increase in complement beyond the numbers for which these ships were originally designed, by the addition of specialist ratings for Asdic operation and in some cases for RDF, has led to a condition in the messes of extreme overcrowding. It is now impossible in HMS HARRIER for instance, for all the members of the same messes to sit down to a meal together, and a system of feeding in relays is the only alternative to a proportion of the ratings eating their meals standing up or in corners, owing to lack of table space. In addition, there is room only for 75% of the ship’s company to sling their hammocks; for the remainder the only spaces available are benches and tables, and this is a serious disadvantage at sea in a ship which is naturally ‘lively’.
  1. The discomfort of this congestion are not mitigated by the considerable ‘sweating’ on the mess decks when ships are at sea. Upper deck ratings have regularly come off watch during the winter with extremely cold hands, faces and feet into a tepid and humid atmosphere and the water drips steadily onto their hammocks, bedding and gear and on to the mess decks.
  1. These conditions are aggravated while the Flotilla is employed in North Russia, in the case of some ships for over three months at a stretch. Although ships have first been fitted out for Arctic service and the warm clothing supplied has been excellent, conditions in North Russia have been very severe; apart from an occasional visit to a cinema and a little skiing, the amenities ashore have been virtually non-existent with the result that ship’s companies have been thrown almost entirely upon their own resources to amuse themselves on board.
  1. In spite of this, the general standard of behaviour has been very high and the normal atmosphere of cheerfulness has not deteriorated; this it is submitted is all the more reason why favourable consideration should be given to the matter.
  1. It is understood that similar conditions obtain in HM Ships of the First Minesweeping Flotilla.

                                    (Signed) E P HINTON


                        Senior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla


HMS Tyne

14th July 1942 

To: Commander in Chief, Home Fleet 

  1. Forwarded. I had been awaiting the remarks of the Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla but in view of the time that must elapse before they are received, it is recommended that this application be considered now.
  1. I consider that the payment of Hard Lying Money at full rates is fully justified; and from personal contact with the ships concerned I am satisfied that the living and sleeping conditions, particularly whilst engaged in Arctic Waters, are not superior to those experienced in a trawler on normal service. At present hard lying money at half rates is being paid to Officers and men in all vessels of the First and Sixth Minesweeping Flotillas.
  1. Furthermore, it is requested that consideration be given to extending the clauses of the Articles to include these vessels when they are operating in Northern Waters.
  1. The question of extending these allowances to destroyers is being investigated.

                                    (Signed)  ROBERT BURNETT

                                    Rear Admiral (D) Home Fleet


Home Fleet

20th July 1942 

  1. Forwarded for the favourable consideration of Their Lordships.
  1. I consider the payment of Hard Lying Money at full rates to vessels of the First and Sixth Minesweeping Flotillas to be fully justified, also that payment should be retrospective to 1st January 1942, and continuous during periods temporarily outside North Russian Waters subject to reservation in K R & A I Article 1638 Para 1D.
  2. It is also considered that climate pay at the rates laid down … should be paid to all vessels operating north of latitude 65° North and east of longitude 25° East, between 1st December and 30th April.

(Signed) Jack C Tovey



 Climate Pay 

Extract from The Senior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla’s Report of Proceedings … of 17th May 1942, covering period 15th March to 5th May 1942. 

General Conditions during the past four months.

19. Ships’ Companies have had to compete with severe cold on deck, and discomfort between decks owing to overcrowding and the considerable sweating and dripping of the bulkheads and deckheads. Their mails have necessarily arrived at infrequent intervals. Owing to local atmospherics it has frequently been impossible for them to hear the wireless news or programmes. Facilities for recreation ashore, with the exception of the cinema at Polyarnoe and the sports referred to above (skiing, skating and a few games of football), have been negligible, and they are unable to get a drink ashore. Conditions at se have generally been arduous and not infrequently dangerous. In harbour they have had air raids and alarms on a scale which is increasing. Nevertheless they have been remarkably cheerful and uncomplaining. It is submitted that serious consideration should be given to the payment of Climate Pay in the winter months and Hard Lying Money at the full rate throughout the year.


25th August1943

To: The Commander in Chief, Home Fleet. 

I am to acquaint you that Their Lordships are not prepared to modify the decisions communicated by Admiralty Letter CW/M/S0915?41 of 25th June 1942 as regards the payment of hard lying money at full rates to officers and ratings serving in vessels of The First and Sixth Minesweeping Flotillas while employed in Northern Waters. 

The question of Climate Pay is under active consideration. 


(Signed) T FRY


Subject: Payment of Hard Lying Money at Full Rates 

From: The Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla, HMS BRAMBLE

Date: 12th June 1942 

To: The Rear Admiral (D), Home Fleet 

1.Shortly after my arrival in North Russia on 31st October 1941, I signalled a number of requests, amongst which was that the payment at full rates of Hard Lying Money to Minesweepers in North Russia should receive favourable consideration. 

2. The basis at that time for the request was the acute discomfort caused by the extreme cold in ships unfitted for Arctic Service, and also the almost total lack of any form of recreation. 

3.It is understood that this request was forwarded by The Commander in Chief, Home Fleet to Their Lordships, with his concurrence. It is understood also that some delay at the admiralty has occurred because the papers have been mislaid. a further application for this matter to be favourably considered, or at any rate some decision arrived at after nine month’s delay, is therefore submitted. 

4.The grounds on which it is resubmitted are not entirely the same since extreme cold is not now experienced. On the other hand almost total lack of recreational facilities still exists. In harbour ships are berthed in an open anchorage off a barren, rocky coast, in which if the weather is bad boatwork is impossible; if the weather is good bombing is frequent. Ships get an opportunity of being alongside about three days a month, and may then be lucky enough to see a cinema performance. 

5. The food situation, no matter to what extent Minesweepers top up before leaving the United Kingdom, is becoming increasingly difficult since

(a) No cruisers now come to North Russia

(b) Misfortune occurs to the food ships of the convoy e.g. in the last convoy out of the four food ships, two were sunk and the provision hold of another was bombed.

(c) What food does arrive now has to be shared with a large number of active service and Merchant Navy survivors.

(d) Ships from the Western Approaches Command arrive unstocked.

(e) Local supplies have virtually stopped.

This has resulted in minor forms of rationing in all ship in order to eke out supplies of potatoes, canteen stores etc. Even so some ships have had no potatoes for weeks. 

6.It is not desired to exaggerate the difficulties under which ships are at present working, which were expected and which are accepted in entirely the right spirit, but it is considered that the above facts amply justify the payment in full of Hard Lying Money, even in wartime. 

7.Comparisons may be odious but it is human nature to compare and the following comparison is being drawn. On the one hand American merchant ship crews, which include a small number of United States Naval Officers and ratings, receive double pay plus a months pay from Russian sources when operating in North Russia, and the Russian Navy grant extra pay to officers and ratings when serving in North Russia; and on the other hand a request for the payment in full of a recognised allowance amounting to a few shillings a week to a few units of the British navy, has received no response for nine months. 

Captain. Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla


Subject: Hard Lying Money –Fleet Minesweepers 

From; The Rear Admiral (D), Home Fleet 

Date: 2nd August 1942 

To: The Commander in Chief, Home Fleet 

The enclosed copy of a signal from the Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla is forwarded with reference to my letter of 14th July. 

(Signed) R L BURNETT

Rear Admiral

To: RA (D) HF

From: SO 1st M/S Flot. 

Your HD of 31st May. My letter of concurrence in SO 6th M/S Flot’s 3rd May and separate report from me dated 12th June now understood lost by enemy action. Duplicates forwarded. Application for payment in full was signalled by me in October 1941 and was receiving Admiralty consideration in March 1942. Strongly recommend payment in full of this recognised allowance and that payment should be retrospective. Additional reason is that no potatoes and all fresh provisions are unobtainable ratings are obliged to have tins of food resulting in higher mess bills.


From: The Senior Officer, First Minesweeping Flotilla 

Date: 27th January 1943 

To: The Rear Admiral (Destroyers) Home Fleet, through The Senior British Naval Officer, North Russia. 

Climate Pay in North Russia 

  1. It is submitted that further consideration may now be given to the granting of Climate Pay in North Russian Waters. This question was raised in May 1942 by the Senior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla (dated 17th May) and during the same month a request was made for the allowance to Fleet Minesweepers of Hard Lying money at full rates while operating in these waters. Upon the latter question a decision was reached by Their Lordships in June 1942 and in August it was stated that the question of Climate Pay was under active consideration.
  1. Although the granting of hard lying money at full rates during the winter months to Fleet Minesweepers in North Russian Waters has been the main submission in the past correspondence from both the Senior Officer, First, and the Senior Officer, Sixth, Minesweeping Flotillas, and that question has now been settled….
  1. HM Ships St Kenan, Cape Aragona, Cape Maristo and Daneman formed part of the escort of PQ18 in September in 1942, and, with the exception of St Kenan which was partially fitted for Arctic service, were entirely ill equipped for such service for any length of time; nor had issues been made to any of them of fur caps, sheepskin coats and gloves, as it was not expected that they would remain in North Russia for long. In fact they departed from the Kola Inlet on 30th December. It is felt that these ships were greatly deserving of some tangible recognition of the hardships which they underwent during the first part of this winter in North Russia. Hard Lying Money at full rates is in any case paid to these ships and it is submitted that there are the strongest grounds in their case for the allowance of Climate Pay, since they derive no benefit from the decision of Their Lordships as to the payment of Hard Lying Money in full to Fleet Minesweepers during the winter.
  1. It is further requested that this allowance, if granted, may operate retrospectively, at least in the case of ships which have been based in North Russia for any length of time. HMS HARRIER has now completed 9 months actual service in North Russia, exclusive passages to and from the United Kingdom, four of which formed part of what is reputed to have been the coldest Russian winter for 90 years and although no other British ship has operated from Archangel, Iokanka and the Kola Inlet for so long during this war, Fleet Minesweepers have normally been based here for from 3 to 4 months at a stretch.
  1. In view of the above… it is submitted that the question of Climate Pay may receive further and favourable consideration and that an early decision may be reached,

A Jay


3rd February 1943 

To: The Rear Admiral (D) Home Fleet Destroyers 

Forwarded, Service in North Russian waters during the winter, particularly in small ships, is most arduous and I fully support the proposals for the payment of Climate Pay. 

The conditions under which the trawlers Cape Aragona, Cape Mariato, St Kenan and Daneman were required to operate deserve special notice. 

Douglas Fisher

Rear Admiral

SBNO North Russia

HMS Tyne

25th February 1943 

To: Commander in Chief, Home Fleet 

Forwarded. The submission is fully concurred in, and it is requested that the Admiralty may again be asked for a decision in accordance with paragraph 2 of Admiralty Letter… dated 25th August 1942. 

The question of climate pay for personnel in destroyers was raised in paragraph 3 of my .. dated 5th October 1942 but no decision has yet been promulgated. 

Signed: Rear Admiral (D) Home Fleet

 Home Fleet

1st April 1943 

Forwarded for the early consideration of Their Lordships…. 

Jack C Tovey


Commander in Chief, Home Fleet

9th September 1944 

The Secretary of the Admiralty 

Climate Pay For Destroyers In Northern Waters 

Information is requested as to whether a reply can now be given to Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s letter of 15th October 1942 on the subject of Climate Pay for Home Fleet destroyers when in Arctic Waters. The Commander in chief’s letter of 1st April 1943 also refers. 


 [Handwritten notes on file]

 … it is understood that the arrangements promulgated in …. are all that the Treasury are prepared to sanction. 

For Head of N., 16 September 1944


 Concur with Head of N.

The case for Climate Pay in the Arctic was pressed to the utmost when the general question of Climate Pay was under discussion between the Admiralty and the Treasury, but met with an unqualified refusal. It is not therefore considered that the question can be reopened with any prospect of success. 

For Head of C W ? 17.9.44


 Submitted for approval to inform the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet that Climate Pay may not be paid in the Arctic.  

As regards payment of Hard Lying Money in Home Fleet destroyers Board Minute of 12 December 1942 reads as follows:- 

“To authorise the payment of Hard Lying Money, even at half rates, for ships which are now not entitled would open up such a vast range of problems as to be undesirable, and lead inevitably to comparisons between the largest and most modern Leaders and small Cruisers carrying out certain operations under difficult conditions of either heat, cold etc.

Approval, therefore, to pay HLM at full rates to Leaders and destroyers at present entitled to half rates’ xxxx


For Head of N

20th September 1944

7th October 1944

To: Commander in Chief, Home Fleet 

I am to acquaint you that Their Lordships are unable to approve payment of Climate Pay to Officers and Ratings in HM Ships when in Arctic waters. 


(Signed) Geo Dunn


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