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Old 18th November 2017, 12:52
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Rainer Rainer is offline
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Re: SS Winston-Salem Convoy PQ17

After the order to scatter the convoy PQ-17, the WINSTON-SALEM (Master William Lovgren) was twice attacked by German aircraft on 6 July 1942, headed northeast as far as the ice permitted until reaching Novaya Zemlya and then followed the coast until running aground on a sand bank in Moller Bay in thick weather in the afternoon on 8 July 1942. She was one of three ships from the convoy that ran aground on this unfamiliar island, but the only one that was unable to get free. Over the next days a total of 120 survivors from three other ships sunk from the convoy arrived in their lifeboats and the crew of WINSTON-SALEM began to built a camp ashore in the case they had to abandon their ship. On 15 July a Russian schooner arrived but all attempts to float the ship were unsuccessful, so the schooner left after taking the survivors from the other ships aboard. The crew of WINSTON-SALEM eventually abandoned ship when a German aircraft was spotted on 17 July, after making the guns inoperable and flooding the magazine for the stern gun. They returned two days later after two Russian armed trawlers and the Russian merchant DIKSON arrived. The latter went alongside to take off some cargo in order to lighten the ship and on 22 July the Russians finally managed to pull her off the sank bank. WINSTON-SALEM arrived at Archangel on 28 July and returned to the UK with convoy QP-14, sailing from Archangel on 13 September 1942. The ship survived the war and William Lovgren, who had been in command since March 1941, remained her master until May 1943, but he later returned to this ship in September 1944.

Generally one has to keep in mind that the crews of merchant ships weren't sailors or soldiers, they were civilians employed by shipping companies and not by the government. So it is difficult to trace if any actions were taken at all in the case of WINSTON-SALEM - the naval authorities certainly had no interest to discuss what happened to convoy PQ-17 in the public as they were directly to blame for the situation William Lovgren and his crew found themselves in.
Best regards
Rainer Kolbicz

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