DVD: The Worst Journey in the World

As regular readers will know, I have occasionally reviewed the excellent series of DVD’s produced by Des Cox of Snowbow Productions who has collated and preserved old film footage from the British Merchant Navy. As a result of the positive response to these DVD’s, Des has also arranged several Maritime Memory Voyages which, having started as a one-off, have now become a popular annual event! The Worst Journey In the World documents a cruise of a different nature which grew out of a chance meeting with an Arctic Convoy veteran. In 2009, having located a few of the last remaining survivors of those horrendous days, Des with the co-operation of the Russian, Norwegian and Royal Navies, organised a cruise to Murmansk on board the MV Discovery which re-traced the convoy route. This documentary of the voyage which features interviews with veterans interspersed with rare footage of the convoys  is a unique and fitting tribute to those who risked their lives in order to deliver essential supplies to the beleaguered Russians. Many of the ships were old and ill equipped and in addition to experiencing some of the worst seas on the planet these convoys were subjected to almost continuous merciless attacks from sea and air. All knew that if their ship was sunk their chances of survival were negligible. Although the stuffy protocols of British medal allocation resulted in no Merchant Navy personnel ever receiving any formal recognition for their wartime service in any sphere, the Russians have never forgotten the debt owed and this is revealed by the warm and emotional reception granted to the veterans witnessed during their stay in Murmansk*. The Worst Journey in the World, which also documents some remarkable coincidences, therefore provides a valuable and lasting testament to the bravery of the Merchant Navy officers and crew and a fitting memorial for those who were tragically lost. JCB

The Worst Journey in the World  Price £17.99

Available from:

Snowbow Productions Ltd

145 The PromenadePeacehaven, East Sussex  BN10 7HN0

Tel: 1273 585391 Email: des@snowbow.co.uk Web: www.snowbow.co.uk

* The Russians first offered a medal for the Arctic convoy veterans for the 40th anniversary of the end of the war in 1985 but it was not permitted to be accepted or worn. In 1994 the Queen granted permission for this Great Patriotic War Medal more commonly known as the Russian Convoy Medal to be accepted and worn. Last year the Russians presented a further medal to surviving veterans at a special ceremony marking the 65th anniversary on board HMS Belfast which took part in the campaign. This January David Cameron agreed that these veterans should receive a British medal but since then there has been no news!! JCB


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