Relative sanctuary … Loch Ewe, February 1943
HMS Belfast riding out a storm in Loch Ewe before the sailing of Arctic convoy JW53.
The famous improved Southampton-class 6″ cruiser Belfast, flying the Flag of Rear-Admiral Robert Burnett, together with other escorts, is shown taking shelter on the eastern side of Loch Ewe, Western Ross before the sailing of Convoy JW53 to Murmansk and Archangel. The 8″ heavy cruiser Cumberland is in the lee of her.
In the right hand distance, beyond the Isle of Ewe and deep in the southern area of the Loch, can also just be seen some of the anchored, heavily laden merchant ships awaiting instructions to sail.
You can also see the forbidding peaks of Beinn Airigh Charr which dominate the village of Poolewe.
Along with a wide variety of other Royal Navy warships HMS Belfast was a regular visitor to the well defended sanctuary of Loch Ewe – and also to Scapa Flow.
At this time the large, sheltered Loch was used both as early, short term Home Fleet base but more so as a convoy assembly and dispersal anchorage. In particular, for those ships sailing on the notorious Arctic convoys to Murmansk and Archangel.
Although in her much altered 1950s modernised state, happily Belfast, since 1971, has been anchored at the Pool of London and open to the public.
For more information on wartime Loch Ewe go to www.russianarcticconvoymuseum.co.uk
Read more about HMS Belfast service history here