Source: ADM 199/1104
Advantage was taken
of a period of thick weather in the middle of the month to carry out anti
submarine sweeps in the north and east of Kola Inlet. A sweep was made by two
minesweepers on the night of the 10th/11th and again on the 12th/13th.
icebreakers Krassin and
Montcalm were escorted to Archangel by HMS
were sailed later to act as cover against possible surface attack. The whole
force arrived at Archangel on 21st June.
The tanker Hopemount
was escorted to Archangel by HMS Leda
on the 29th.
minesweeping in the White Sea until late in the month. The channel was however
swept ahead of the icebreakers and again ahead of the outgoing convoy on the
28th. It is being swept again before the arrival of PQ17.
was sunk by bombs off Mishukov point in the Kola Inlet on 24th June, with the
loss of 3 officers, 20 other men killed and 14 wounded. Report of Board of
Enquiry is being forwarded.
Murmansk town is now
in ruins and it seems likely that more attention will now be paid to ships and
perhaps Polyarnoe. Luostari aerodrome ( Petsamo) is less than 50 miles from
Murmansk so the risk is grave that all ships coming to the port will be damaged
or sunk during the next two months.
The principle of
'dispersal' of ships at anchor has been successful, ships being scattered in
berths over a distance of 20 miles along the inlet. This entails difficulties in
communication both by signal and by boat, but it is necessary and effective. At
times 35 to 40 ships were berthed in the Kola Inlet.
The number of
survivors awaiting passage has been greatly reduced. Captain
Faulkner and 105 other officers and
ratings ex Edinburgh
were sent home in HMS Ashanti
and 800 survivors went home in QP13.
Apart from the sick
there are now about 150 survivors, including those from HMS
Gossamer. 51 Chinese crew from SS
Empire Starlight are now the only merchant
seamen left. They hope to return to China overland and thus reach home whilst
avoiding the perils of the sea.