Disaster: Convoy PQ 17 and Admiral of the Fleet Dudley Pound – Part 3

Part 1Part 2 Part 3

A 50-foot (15m) high wave towers above the bridge of the cruiser HMS Sheffield. During this Arctic gale the wind reached speeds of 65 knots (120kph). Visibility was less than 180m. The heavy seas stripped the armoured roof off one of the ship’s turrets.

Unlike any other service chief in Great Britain at the time, such as Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), the First Sea Lord was both the professional head of the Royal Navy and the commanding officer of the entire fleet. Pound could, and did, go over the heads of Admirals on the scene in their flagships and even over the head of the C-in-C, Home Fleet, the most powerful fleet in the Navy usually kept close to home to defend the British Isles. The commander of the Home Fleet was always an Admiral of the Fleet as well.

In September of 1943, Pound had a stroke in Washington, DC while accompanying Prime Minister Churchill to a meeting with President Roosevelt. Pound resigned the next day and died a month later in London.

The Western Approaches Command control room as it was during operation.

[Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum and the BBC.]

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

Leave a Reply