The SS Gothland
“I spent some time as a young steward on this vessel,, and much of the time pulling men out of the north Atlantic and unfortunately attending their burial the next day This ship survived the war due, to its small tonnage. It is my belief that the (new) Artic Medal be awarded to its past crew members. The British historic organisation responsible for the awards is sadly and seemingly unaware of this vessel proud war history” John Hunter an old codger born in Leith
The GOTHLAND underway
For more on the brave tales of the men who served on the rescue Ship SS GOTHLAND
The above was sent into the website by John Hunter now in Australia but originally from Leith. With more comment below, and indeed the crews of such vessels deserve all the praise possible and any medals going, the fact that someone has to contact through an unofficial website is a disgrace and perhaps something the Edinburgh Council members would wish to take up on there behalf, after all they are always looking into my website, although never any offer to pay anything towards the upkeep, so no surprises there.
The inside of the SS GOTHLAND converted with extra bunks to take on rescued seafarers from the ships sunk while in convoy during World War Two, many a survivor would have been glad of such a bunk.
The above photograph is from the Imperial War Museum showing the ship while on resue practice sometime in February 1943
Rescue practise in the Clyde in 1943 in another Imperial War Museum photograph taken during practise exercises and showing how they would bring a survivor back on board, of course this was carried out for the camera in a calm sea, these men had to do the same in all kinds of weather with the constant threat that the German U-Boats may also have them in there sights, after sinking many of the ships in convoy.
At the rear of South Leith Church flies the Red Ensign of a courageous little ship that took part in the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. Remarkable not for the great battles that it took part in but for saving men’s life’s at Sea.
They should all get medals, every last man who served in this dangerous mission of saving life at sea during wartime.