HMS Sutherland remembers fallen heroes from Arctic Convoys

HMS Sutherland took a short break from leading a multi-national task group to commemorate those killed while making “the worst journey in the world” during World War 2.

The ship’s company took time while in the southern Barents Sea to honour the thousands of men who died in the harsh, freezing conditions of the Arctic between 1941 and 1945.

The frigate is currently operating in waters above the Arctic Circle with RFA Tidespring and ships from the United States and Norway.

Sutherland’s chaplain, the Reverend Robert Jackson, led a service while AB Hadyn Morris read a poem he had written. Commander Tom Weaver, the ship’s commanding officer, laid a wreath in memory of those who died.

He said: “It is humbling to be in the High North commemorating the heroic acts of merchant and Allied sailors almost 80 years ago.

“The conditions they served in were amongst the very worst a mariner could experience. We are proud to remember the UK and Allied crews who bravely did their duty in support of values that the UK and Royal Navy still hold dear today.”

It is humbling to be in the High North commemorating the heroic acts of merchant and Allied sailors almost 80 years ago.

Commander Tom Weaver, commanding officer of HMS Sutherland

The Arctic Convoys were tasked with carrying thousands of tanks, aircraft and vehicles to the Soviet Union.

Faced with the unforgiving Arctic environment, their journeys were also under threat from German bombers, U-boats and, occasionally, surface ships, based in occupied Norway.

By tonnage, more than a quarter of the world’s shipping capacity passed through the convoys.

During the conflict, more than 100 warships and merchant vessels were lost, while over 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen were killed.

HMS Sutherland is in the region leading a UK-led task group with US destroyer USS Ross, Norwegian frigate Thor Heyerdahl and Danish aircraft. The ships have been training with each other to further develop working together while asserting the nations’ commitment to upholding peace in the region.