A remarkable wartime memoir, unusually personal and frank, chronicling the bleak and arduous journeys onboard an anti-submarine trawler in the Arctic ocean during World War II
Graeme Ogden's memoir is the story of HMS Lady Madeleine, an ocean-going trawler converted to an antisubmarine role as part of the convoys to supply the Soviet Union as it faced the savage onslaught of the German army. This was a voyage fraught with storms, icebergs, and subzero temperatures in peacetime alone, but now the convoys faced worse—the fearsome gauntlet of German aircraft, submarines and surface raiders strung out along the coast of Norway, waiting to meet them. Ogden commanded the vessel in question, keeping diaries of his harrowing experiences of those years, which also cover his time on the equally perilous Atlantic convoys. These accounts were rediscovered and published as a memoir in the 1960s, illustrated with exquisite line drawings by Richard Elsden, who also sailed on these voyages. This is a very different kind of war memoir, vivid and bittersweet, in which the human elements take centerstage against the backdrop of great events.