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




CHAPTER 11                    ACHIEVEMENTS
 
 

       The achievement of the aircraft was that they kept the U. Boats down so long by day,
       that they lost track of us for a night attack. Saturday night, what there was of it, was
       quiet, after all.  After the strenuous day just recorded, the squadron and the aircraft
       handling party began the morning's work at 2.a.m. Such are the advantages of the
       midnight sun, we were a day and a half's steaming distance from the North Pole. Three
       submarines were attacked on the Sunday. The flak from one set Lt Lucy's Wildcat
       ablaze. Coolly informing the base, he baled out cheerfully into the freezing ocean. A
       brotherly Avenger and H.M.S. "Beagle" co operated in an Air-Sea rescue operation. The
       Pilot was in his dinghy and apparently none the worst for 90 Minutes meditation in the
       Northern wastes. Another Avenger dived through the snow and cloud to straddle a hostile
       looking ship. A strident sound came out of the air, "Call of unfriendly Avenger"! It was
       H.M.S. "Keppel "

       That evening Commander Flying Lt Cmdr {A} Alexander J.D.Harding R.N. of London
       broadcast to the ship the Captain's congratulations on a fine day's work. "Better luck still
       tomorrow". And we awoke- that is, those who had time to sleep- to the same voice
       announcing that a U.Boat had just been sunk by a swordfish from "Activity", and an
       Avenger & Wildcat from "Tracker". At last , after 132 sorties, 139 flying hours, one kill,
       damage to three, a F.W. and a B.V. shot down, we steamed quietly into Vaenga Bau,
       Kola Inlet on 4th April. From this bald account you would think that this was just a
       running fight between Carriers and Destroyers on one side, and U.Boats and Snoopers
       on the other. Forget not the convoy. The Soviet authorities at Kurmansk were happy to
       receive an enormous consignment of vital war supplies. A huge Russian Convoy had
       arrived with out loss- that in itself was a satisfying achievement. U.S.S. "Milwaukee" was
       also with us, a gift to the Red Fleet from the U.S. We brought back some of the crew.
       They liked the ship, the trip, and us. " its a vacation" they said.

       Voyage No &. Vaengha to Belfast, April 7th. to 16th. was  distinguished by the cold- 22
       degrees- by the patient, uneventful patrolling of the aircraft { apparently Fritz wasn't
       having any, and by "the splendid work done by the maintenance ratings, whose interest,
       enthusiasm, and hard work made possible a high standard of service ability" {Capt.
       Huntley}. Squadron 646 flew off in the Clyde with all the freshness and elation of lads
       back from holiday!

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