The year 2016 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first Allied convoy codenamed Dervish to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk.
The caravan that consisted of six British ships delivered important strategic goods including 3 800 depth and magnetic bombs, 15 Hawker Hurricane fighter planes, Oldersdale forwarding ship with fuel as well as 10 000 tons of rubber, 1.5 tons of uniform boots, stannary, wool and equipment.
Arrival of the first Allied convoy Dervish to the USSR marked the beginning of an unprecedented military operation that lasted for more than four years.
The Arctic convoys were of high importance not only for the Soviet Union but also for Western countries. The goods delivered to the northern ports were strategically important, and at the same time the Hitler’s Navy and Air Forces were seriously attacked during the sailing. Moreover, the convoys had a decisive influence on the course of the Second World War at sea. Moral support was also essential for successful defense activities as it helped the sailors and pilots to display their courage and helped them to unite for further struggle against fascism in an anti-Hitler coalition.
From 1941 to 1945 the northern ports of the USSR accepted 41 sea caravans (800 ships). Total amount of strategic goods supplied by Allied countries according to the Lend Lease program is over 4 million tons including 5 000 tanks, 7 000 aircrafts, thousands of cars, tens of thousands of weapons, equipment and provisions. 43 Allied cargo vessels and 22 Allied warships were sent to the bottom of the sea in battles.
Considering importance of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Arctic convoys, the Arkhangelsk Region Government initiated celebratory events in Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Saint-Petersburg. President Vladimir Putin patronized the idea.
Arkhangelsk region is the central celebration arena. The cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk (Molotovsk) are to host most of the celebratory events that will be held on August 29-31, 2016.
9 foreign diplomatic missions have confirmed their participation in the Dervish 75: Great Britain, the United States of America, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, the Netherlands, and France. Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence will attend the celebration.
The veterans of the Allied convoys will also attend the celebration, among them – 9 guests from Great Britain and the USA, and 35 people from the Arkhangelsk region, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow. Over 60 veterans are expected to attend the celebration as representatives of public veteran organizations, and Solovki sailor boys from Moscow, Perm, Yaroslavl, Ekaterinburg, Kazan.
One of the main events is the VI International Forum “To the Glory of Fleet and Motherland” that includes:
Within the celebratory events a number of large scale international and interregional events are to be held: a national action “Greeting to the Krasin icebreaker – a participant of the Arctic convoys”. Over 330 ships and vessels including 264 vessels of the Russian Navy from Kaliningrad to the Far East will sound blast to the Krasin icebreaker as the only remaining vessel – participant of the Arctic convoys.
Celebratory cultural and entertainment events for guests and citizens including a gala concert “The convoy survived through times” with participation of famous local and federal groups and singers are also planned. The concert will be followed by celebratory fireworks.
Arkhangelsk Northern State Marine Museum will present diorama exposition “Dervish – Arctic convoys brotherhood” supported by the Arkhangelsk Region Ministry of Culture.
The anniversary events are meant to draw attention to the event equally important for the national and global military history as well as to display patriotism and citizenship among people and to strengthen international cooperation, – Igor Orlov, the Governor of the Arkhangelsk region, emphasized.