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Arctic Convoy PQ8: The Story of Capt Robert Brundle and the SS Harmatris Hardcover – March 10, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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About the Author

Andrew Pickles is a methodologist and statistician with a special interest in developmental psychopathology. His work spans genetics to long-term cohort and follow-up studies. Currently at the University of Manchester, he was previously senior statistician at the MRC Child Psychiatry Unit at the
Institute of Psychiatry, London. Barbara Maughan's research focuses on psychosocial risks for psychiatric disorders in childhood, and on continuities and discontinuities between disorder in childhood and in adult life. Michael Wadsworth has directed and worked on the first British national birth
control cohort study (the 1946 cohort), developing it as a resource of data on health throughout life and health change with age.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword; hardcover edition (March 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848840519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848840515
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,639,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The dreaded convoys from Great Britain to Russia during WW2 were each given the prefix PQ followed by consecutive numbers beginning with, of course, PQ1. For the return journey, the same number was retained except that PQ became QP. This is the story of one man and his ship which took part in one of the earliest of those convoys - PQ8. These were the most dangerous duties - not only because of the ever present danger of enemy submarines and air attack but also because of the Arctic conditions. In short, even if you did manage to get into a lifeboat, your chances of actually surviving the loss of your ship were virtually nil. A full appreciation of these circumstances go a long way to understanding why the British Merchant Navy lost a higher proportion of their personnel than any of the country's armed services during WW2. Yes, that is a fact.

Dogged from the outset, the Harmatris originally sailed as part of convoy PQ6 but had to return home after damage and a fire in one of her holds. Duly repaired, she then joined PQ8 with her Master - Captain Robert Brundle, appointed Convoy Commodore. It was 26 December 1941 and one Cruiser, two Destroyers and two Minesweepers escorted the eight merchant ships of that convoy. This was a journey through the gates of Hell with the Harmatris taking no fewer than three direct torpedo hits. Evacuated after the third strike and later re-boarded by her crew, she was taken in tow and finally limped into Murmansk on 20 January 1942 after surviving numerous air attacks during the final leg of that journey. One of the convoy escorts, HMS Matabele, had been lost with only two of her crew surviving.
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This was a particularly interesting book to me personally. My father was a 25 yearold seaman in the crew of the Harmatris throughout this entire voyage. He never said much during his lifetime and beyond the name "Harmatris" all I really remember, as a 4 yearold, was the sorry state of his health when he did get home. Captain Brundle's grandson, Michael Wadsworth, has put together a detailed account of a nightmare.
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