LIFE OF THE TRACKER
Story of the escort carrier HMS Tracker 1943-1945




CHAPTER 14                  OPERATION No 10
 
 

       No 10. "Tracker", however, in a ship for sea time. On 14th October we left Greenock for
       Scapa, and were soon on the Artic trail again. Once more C.S.10 was one with us,flying
       his flat in "Vindex", "Nairana", "Dido", and a bevy of destroyers were there also, and we
       bowled merrily along to Kola Inlet and back without incident whatsoever. This was a new
       edition of the Russian run. The most interesting part was the run ashore in Kola Inlet,
       and more football . Lt Cmdr. Harding led the gallant flyers to a hospital At Home given by
       the local Russian Air Base. In our hanger, a very large audience from "Tracker" and the
       escorts enjoyed a remarkably fine concert given by the Red Fleet. This was souvenir
       Night. This most friendly band of Russians mastered all language difficulties, and
       lingered happily chatting- and exchanging addresses- in every corner of the ship. One
       recalls  Field Marshall Alexander's words about Britain's best Ambassadors. Although he
       referred to his own land forces, the compliment may of course be extended to the son's
       of the sea. Perhaps it is because the ordinary man suffers most though international
       misunderstanding, that he is the quickest to understand his opposite number in a
       different uniform. Or is it because he knows that under the uniform breaths just another
       George or Bill? Interesting passengers on the homeward run were soldiers who had been
       captured at Tobruk. Imprisoned in Italy and then East Prussia, and rescued by the
       Russians.

       We steamed into Greenock on 11th November, one year after that grim tussle with the
       Atlantic. For a time at any rate, H.M.S. "Tracker's" work as an operational carrier was
       over. With her three squadrons, she had covered 40,854 miles.

       She had come through many dangers, a few narrow escapes, she had done useful if not
       spectacular work. She had been the subjects of one book, referred to in others,
       mentioned in the B.B.C.'s news service, and included in a message from the First Lord
       to the Fifth, congratulating him on the work of the Fleet Air Arm in the Far North. Two
       vital jobs.- the Atlantic Gap and the Murmansk Convoy - had been written off as
       completed. Best of all, the Ship's Company and Squadron could work hard and work
       together. Captain Huntley and commander Collett had got somewhere as a team. "Will
       you be requiring us any more/" signalled the M.T.B., as 653 Squadron roared into the
       clouds. An unexpected  answer came from the Captain, and what buzzes it started! No,
       never more" And from F.O.C.T. came the signal. "Well Done"

       Westward Ho!  Just three pages to go.

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