Arctic Convoy, PQ 13, Frozen Fury, “I was much to excited to hit anything”.
Further reading, a painting commissioned by and for one of the crew.
Arctic convoy PQ 13, Frozen Fury NEWLY available as a limited edition of 25 signed numbered prints.
Arctic Convoy, PQ 13, Frozen Fury by Gordon Frickers 40 x 50 cm (16″ x 20″) SOLD
Commissioned by and for, created in conjunction with eye witness of PQ 13, Mr. H. Mills.
Arctic Convoy PQ 13
was the first of many Russia bound convoys to feel the full fury of repeated German attacks by Aircraft, U-boats and surface ships.
Only the more famous Malta convoys suffered as severely.
“I was much to excited to hit anything” said Mr. Harry Mills who’s action station was the port bridge wing heavy machine gun.
He was aged 18, defending his merchant ship by firing a heavy machine gun at Junkers Ju 88 bombers …
Three days later in the port of Murmansk Mr. Mills ship was sunk.
Young Harry lost a leg and passed painful weeks in a primitive Russian ‘field hospital’
Paintings original cost
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PQ 13 Frozen Fury recently resold for four times the original price.
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PQ13, the convoy
PQ13 was one of the most heavily attacked of all convoys, ever.
Harry told me, “3 days later my ship was sunk and I lost a leg“.
His ship, a British fast and nearly new cargo vessel, the “New Westminster City” was Harry said, specially outfitted in the USA for the voyage.
The work included concrete facings with ‘pill box’ style viewing slits for the bridge, an increased anti aircraft armament, trained gunners to man the weapons systems and special strong points to secure the deck cargo which was mostly trucks and crated Hawker Hurricane aircraft.
New Westminster City as she appeared in peacetime pre World War Two.
Mr. H. Mills
and I worked closely to produce a scene until he as an eye witness, was satisfied with the composition and detailing.
My client who fired at the attackers said he was “much to excited to hit anything“, was aboard “New Westminster City”.
The ship illustrated in my painting here is as Harry Mills envisioned, as PQ 13 is being attacked by JU 88s.
An 18 year old Harry Mills’ duty action station was bridge port side wing heavy machine gun.
To produce the best, most original painting I did include building and painting a scale model of a Ju 88.
New Westminster City survived the Ju 88 attack and reached the port of Murmansk only to became 3 days after this incident, another casualty of the battle to supply Russia and my client, now deceased, then aged 18, lost a leg.
This painting is interesting, both as an early example of emerging artistic talent and because it was composed from and with a veteran, a survivor from the sunken “New Westminster City“.
As we created the concept sketches back in was it 1989?, I was keenly aware, some day in the future this painting would be considerably more valuable…
This very original painting was developed in part from ‘naïve’ sketches provided by my client and our conversations in my Plymstock studio.
The cruiser HMS Edinburgh is part of the background and she is the subject of an entire book in itself!
PQ 13, Frozen Fury the book
Years later this painting was reproduced as a book cover at the request of Captain Igor Kozyr (Russian navy, retired) who was co authoring with an American, John L. Haynes to produce a book now known as “Frozen Fury”, personal accounts of convoy PQ13 including Mr. Mills story.
This was the first convoy to Murmansk to feel the full fury of German attacks on that route.
Frozen Fury, (ISBN 978-1-4512-0156-7).
Captain Igor Kozyr asked me if he could use my PQ 13 painting, an early example of my art, produced for and with an eye witness, as the cover for the Russian version of the book (ISBN 9-785904-180379).
The convoy is also the subject of another book full of surprises, “The Ship That Torpedoed Herself”, the story of the cruiser HMS Edinburgh.
Edinburgh..Return to Arctic Convoy PQ 13 main page.
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