Arctic Convoy PQ8


The Story of Capt Robert Bundle and the SS Harmatris

By: Michael Wadsworth
Supplied by: Pen and Sword

Format: Hardback
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781848840515
Published: 19th November 2009
RRP / Print Price: £19.99

Current purchase price:
£13.99

Arctic Convoy PQ8

When Robert Brundle took the SS Harmatris to Russia with Convoy PQ8 he was 47 years of age. Both ship and master were veterans and had already sailed in convoys across the North Atlantic and to South Africa. The 5,395 ton coal fired ship, laden with 8,000 tons of armaments originally set sail on 27 November 1941 to join convoy PQ6 but encountered a fierce storm in which a lorry broke free in the hold and started a fierce blaze below decks. Despite valiant attempts to extinguish the fire the Harmatris was forced to return to Glasgow for repair. Having discharged its cargo, examined and repaired the holds, it restowed and finally put to sea again on 26 December. She was now to join PQ8 and Brundle was elected Convoy Commodore. Two minesweepers, a cruiser and two destroyers escorted the eight merchant vessels. On 8 January the convoy left Reykjavik bound for Murmansk. Harmatris was struck by two torpedoes in No 1 hold which caused flooding. A third torpedo struck her a few hours later and the crew evacuated to HMS Speedwell in attendance. A volunteer crew reboarded and Speedwell took the wounded ship in tow. During the night the same U Boat that had struck Harmatris sunk the destroyer Matabele with the loss of all but two of her crew. A tug eventually replaced Speedwell and the entire crew now returned to their still stricken vessel. On 18 January the ships were twice attacked by low flying Heinkels. The stricken Harmatris finally berthed in Murmansk at 0800 on 20 January.

Once unloaded the battered ship entered dry dock on 10 February. The damage was considerable. In a temperature of 40 degrees below zero the crew set about the repairs. It was difficult to locate engine parts and local labour was scarce. During the following months the crew continued to work on the ship, food was scarce and the port was frequently bombed by the Luftwaffe. Several ships close to Harmatris were sunk. It was 21 July when the ship finally left for Archangel. She took aboard a cargo of 3,000 tons of steel pipes and on 13 September she was instructed to join a convoy of 20 ships, QP14 for her return voyage. On 19 September the minesweeper HMS Leda, steaming close by Harmartris, was torpedoed. The convoy was under almost continuous U Boat attack and suffered six losses.

As a result of his heroic efforts to preserve his ship and crew Captain Brundle was awarded the OBE and the Lloyds War Medal. He died in 1960 at the age of 66.

 




Some books that may interest you

Wellington's Highland Warriors
Wellington's Highland Warriors
By: Stuart Reid
Introduction by: Philip Haythornthwaite

From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka
From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka
By: Janet Macdonald

Outrage at Sea
Outrage at Sea
By: Tony Bridgland

Kitchener's Army
Kitchener's Army
By: Peter Simkins

XD Operations
XD Operations
By: C C H Brazier
Foreword by: Richard Holmes

Letters from Kimberley
Letters from Kimberley

Edited by: Edward Spiers

The Gestapo
The Gestapo
By: Jacques Delarue

A Passion for Flying
A Passion for Flying
By: Group Captain Tom Eeles

Cameos of the Western Front: A Walk Round Plugstreet
Cameos of the Western Front: A Walk Round Plugstreet
By: Ted Smith, Tony Spagnoly



Quick Find
 
Use keywords to find the book you are looking for.
Advanced Search

Information
Contact Us

Disclosure: Military History books are affiliates of the suppliers on this website and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


123 Reg - Jargon-free products that make it easy for anyone to get their business online.