Halcyon Class Minesweepers Report of SBNO (extracts) - June 1943
Nov 1941
Dec 1941
Jan 1942
Feb 1942
Mar 1942
Apr 1942
Jun 1942
Aug 1942
Sep 1942
Oct 1942
Nov 1942
Dec 1942
Jan-Feb 1943
Feb-Apr 1943
May 1943
June 1943
July 1943
Aug 1943
Sep 1943
Oct 1943
Nov-Dec 1943
Dec 43-Jan 44
Feb 44
Mar 1944



22nd  MONTHLY REPORT – 1st June to 30th June 1943 (Extracts)

The football season has opened which has provided a much needed outlet for the men – a number of matches between the Base and ships have been played before enthusiastic crowds… 

Musketeer and Mahratta arrived on the 12th June with passengers, mail and stores, anchoring in Vaenga Bay so that transfer of Archangel and Moscow quotas could be made direct to and from Britomart and Jason who had come round from Archangel for that purpose. This was duly accomplished despite bad weather and the destroyers sailed in the evening of 12th June carrying in all between them 105 passengers. I am very grateful to the Commanding Officers for their co-operation in embarking so many. 

Mails for Kola Inlet were not released as had been anticipated from preliminary arrangements, so Jason was retained to accommodate mail while negotiations proceeded, Britomart being sailed for Archangel on 13th June with passengers, mails and stores. 

On 17th – 22nd June Britomart was lent for Russian escort duty to take icebreakers to the Kara Sea. Jason was to have been lent also for this duty, but was retained at Polyarnoe to accommodate the mail. This was not a popular move with the local Russian Naval Staff, but they were warned that Jason would not be available if the mail were not released. Reluctantly they did what they could to have the mail released but they seem to have little or no influence with any civil authority. Britomart started a second icebreaker escort on the 28th June… 

In accordance with the Admiralty’s 1624 25th June the mail was handed over to the Russians on the 26th June. Jason arrived at Murmansk at 1000 after a long, tedious and often farcical meeting, negotiations were completed by 1445. The first batch of officials arrived on board at 1100 but refused to use the British lorry and working party provided by Jason; the Russian lorry and post office working party consisting of three young girls arrived at 1255. The mail was then removed from the ship and loaded into the lorry which was quite inadequate so the British lorry was loaded with the major portion. This did not take long but the Postal official discovered that two mail bags had been at one time torn and sewn up, and the seals had come off two others, and he could not accept them until the contents had been checked over. This was completed by 1400. The Post Office then gave a receipt for the mail but the Customs Officer could not be associated in that transaction and insisted on a separate ‘act’. He disappeared for 45 minutes returning with his statement which was almost word for word for the one he was asked to sign originally. It is interesting to note that during the muster of the contents of the sewn and unsealed bags one of the officials remarked that none of them were there any Anti-Soviet leaflets; any such of course would be quite redundant. 

The urgency for this mail to be released was stressed but my representative was informed that the earliest a decision or any of the mail could be expected was noon on 28th June… Timoshenko’s intervention has speeded up the release of mail slightly; 12 bags were received on 30th June as against 6 and 5 on 28th and 29th June 1943. I am sure that it is realised how much all ranks and ratings dislike the possibility that their mail may be censored by the Russian authorities, and welcome the prospect of the mail coming by air under visa… 

E R Archer
Rear Admiral, SBNO North Russia   

30th April 1943

Home | Nov 1941 | Dec 1941 | Jan 1942 | Feb 1942 | Mar 1942 | Apr 1942 | Jun 1942 | Aug 1942 | Sep 1942 | Oct 1942 | Nov 1942 | Dec 1942 | Jan-Feb 1943 | Feb-Apr 1943 | May 1943 | June 1943 | July 1943 | Aug 1943 | Sep 1943 | Oct 1943 | Nov-Dec 1943 | Dec 43-Jan 44 | Feb 44 | Mar 1944

This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012