Source: ADM 199/1104
No further sweeping operations in the White Sea off
Cape Kachkovski have been possible. All minesweepers have been employed in
local escort duties an A/S patrols in the approaches. Several
demonstrations of LL sweeping, for the benefit of Soviet officers and
ratings have also been arranged.
AIRCRAFT Of the original twenty PE-3 long range fighters sent to
Vaenga for covering convoys, only 14 now remain. They have not been
successful in providing cover; firstly because the pilots are
inexperienced and accustomed to targets on land, secondly because they are
not accustomed to flying through cloud or fog and their compasses are not
reliable, thirdly, because the thaw has made the conditions on the ground
too soft for taking off, and fourthly lack of guidance and encouragement.
Yesterday, 29th April, six PE-3's provided cover in two relays for convoy
QP11, leaving Vaenga at 0400 when the convoy was some 110 miles distant.
The food shortage in the district is reflected by the failure to
supply anything to H M ships, with the exception of bread and occasionally
fish. However, if cruisers continue to arrive well stocked and the
minesweepers are relieved in turn, the needs of all Naval personnel should
be adequately met by the present arrangements whereby about 14 days supply
of fresh and dry provisions are shipped in a Merchant ship in each convoy
and surplus meat may be taken over from Merchant ships under the Ministry
of War Transport.
Thaw started on 11th April. There has been a good deal of wet show
since then and an average day temperature of 30ºF. The snow is
disappearing slowly and the roads are extremely bad for every form of
The conduct of 'Naval Party 100' continues to be satisfactory and
their health remains very good. Every precaution has been taken to provide
against the summer mosquito menace and all beds are supplied with
spreaders and nets.
I hope that the gradual relief of all the ratings may take place as
they become due, after 9 - 12 months service in North Russia.
None complain, but it must be owned that none wish to stay.
R H L Bevan
Rear Admiral, SBNO North Russia