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  #1  
Old 12-04-2015, 16:29
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spottydog spottydog is offline
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Default Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Recently discovered secret diaries kept by Leonard H Thomas have been transcribed and published by his daughter Leona Thomas.

Leonard kept them while on the Russian Arctic Convoys in 1942 when he was on four convoys to and from Murmansk and Archangel. The latter was PQ18 which followed PQ17 – the convoy decimated by enemy action in July 1942.

Over the previous ten years Leonard had previously sailed on RRS Discovery II to Antarctica having joined as a 17 year-old lad from his home town of Portsmouth. While on these voyages he kept copies notes, sketches and diaries and so, when war broke out and he joined up and was posted to HMS Ulster Queen, it seemed natural for him to continue his writings. Should any of his writing be discovered he would be in serious trouble and so he wrote in abbreviated form and secreted them well.

After he retired, he began writing his memoirs starting with his early memories of Portsmouth, where he was born in 1912 and then describing his Antarctic years and later, the War years. Leonard died in 2000 at the age of 88.

Since her own retirement, Leona, has started going through the copious amounts of Leonard’s writings and memorabilia. Discovering he had been on the Russian Arctic Convoys, she began her own research and in due course became part of the team who took 40 Arctic Convoy veterans and their families to Loch Ewe in 2013 where they received their Arctic Star medals. She has also embroidered a panel for the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry commemorating the links with the convoys and NW Scotland.

Inspired by meeting the veterans, Leona began to transcribe and edit the writings of her father and these are due to be published in a book entitled ‘Through Ice and Fire’. It tells of how the men, having survived the treacherous journey under fire and in intense cold, then suffered from appalling food shortages under the stark conditions they met in on the freezing, unforgiving and unknown shores of Archangel. Once berthed there they faced the approaching winter and being trapped in the port where they endured the frosty Russian attitudes towards the British Navy. It illustrates the fortitude and bravery of the men who sailed on the convoys to Russia – as Churchill called it – ‘the worst journey in the world.’

‘Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942’
Published by Fonthill Media.
ISBN-13: 978-1-78155-440-1
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2015, 19:15
David Verghese David Verghese is offline
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

SD,

Thanks for the' heads up' on this.

All credit to father and daughter for originally writing/keeping such personal memoirs, under difficult circumstances, and then the later transcription and editing. Such first hand accounts based upon actual real experiences and hardships often bring home a stark true encapsulation of what it was really like in such difficullt times. You don't always get this in 3rd party narrative written 'from a distance'.

I occasionally have sat through some audio-tapes made at the IWM which recorded similar personal experiences of the Arctic Convoys. One is left with a feeling of great respect for those who went through it.

I look forward to reading the book.

David
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Old 17-04-2015, 11:22
Pluto Pluto is offline
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Me too.

Frank
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  #4  
Old 17-04-2015, 11:33
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Thumbs up Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Thank you David and Frank - Leona
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  #5  
Old 22-04-2016, 12:11
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spottydog spottydog is offline
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Today marks exactly a year since the book was launched and it has been so very well received that I thought I would put out a wee reminder about it again. Also you can catch up on the latest news on the book's Facebook page. I am happy to send a signed bookplate to anyone who has purchased a book or hear any comments from those who have already read it.
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Author of 'Through Ice and Fire: a Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942': publisher Fonthill Media - the story of HMS Ulster Queen and PQ18

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leona-Thomas/e/B013QU3EW6/
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  #6  
Old 24-04-2016, 10:41
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Vegaskip Vegaskip is online now
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Hi Leona, looks like we share the same interests. I have been doing paintings of Convoys, and last year I had an exhibition up at the RACMP at loch Ewe, we stayed with and were shown around by George Milne. I donated some paintings and they bought some others.
If you have a look in Jims Ship Painting thread you can see my pics ( more than a Thousand) so good luck. By the way I'm just across the water from you if you ever wanted to see the originals.
Regards
Jim
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Old 24-04-2016, 19:04
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spottydog spottydog is offline
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Hello Jim - I have admired your pictures on the RACMP site - now I know the artist! We are going up there in a couple of weeks to do a book signing at Gairloch and then for an Ulster Queen event at Poolewe in late June - maybe you will be there?
Can you message me your email off the board as I would love to get in touch and see your paintings. My father was an artist too and I would love to show you some of what he did. Loads we could talk about - think we need to meet!

Contact me via a message on the book's Facebook page
- look for Through Ice and Fire
or else get back to me and I will post my email here...

Very best wishes,
Leona
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Author of 'Through Ice and Fire: a Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942': publisher Fonthill Media - the story of HMS Ulster Queen and PQ18

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leona-Thomas/e/B013QU3EW6/
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  #8  
Old 24-04-2016, 19:48
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Vegaskip Vegaskip is online now
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Default Re: Through Ice and Fire: A Russian Arctic Convoy Diary 1942

Hi Leona, I've sent you a pm.
Jim
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