Convoy PQ 8

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HMS Matabele sunk

Convoy PQ 8 was an Arctic convoy sent from Great Britain by the Western Allies to aid the Soviet Union during World War II. It sailed in January 1942 and arrived in Murmansk with the loss of one escort sunk, and one ship damaged.


PQ 8 consisted of eight merchant ships; five British, one Soviet, one American, one of Panamanian registry. The convoy was escorted by two minesweepers, joined by an Ocean escort of two destroyers Matabele and Somali, supported by the cruiser Trinidad. The convoy was joined in the last stage of the voyage by two Royal Navy minesweepers based at Murmansk.


PQ 8 sailed from Hvalfjord on 8 January 1942. and was joined on 10 January by the Ocean escort. The German navy (Kriegsmarine) had established a patrol line of four U-boats from Kirkenes to search for the convoy, but it was undetected by German aircraft or U-boats in the continuous darkness of the polar night, until the last day of the voyage. On 16 January the Eastern Local Escort joined; on 17 January the convoy was found by U-454, which attacked and torpedoed the freighter Hamatris. She was taken in tow by the minesweeper Speedwell, and brought into Kola escorted by Matabele. However U-454 struck again, torpedoing and sinking Matabele. Just two of her 200 crew survived. All other ships of PQ 8 arrived safely.

The German navy planned to attack the convoy with the battleship Tirpitz, but shortages of fuel and insufficient destroyer escorts forced a postponement of the attack.[1]

List of ships[2][edit]

Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Notes
British Pride (1931)  United Kingdom 7,106
British Workman (1922)  United Kingdom 6,994
Dartford (1930)  United Kingdom 4,093
El Almirante (1917)  Panama 5,248
Harmatris (1932)  United Kingdom 5,395 Torpedoed, towed in by HMS Speedwell
HMS Harrier  Royal Navy Escort 8 January - 17 January
HMS Hazard  Royal Navy Escort 16 January - 17 January
Larranga (1917)  United States 3,804
HMS Matabele  Royal Navy Escort 11 January - 17 January
HMS Sharpshooter  Royal Navy Escort 16 January - 17 January
HMS Somali  Royal Navy Escort 11 January - 17 January
Southgate (1926)  United Kingdom 4,862
HMS Speedwell  Royal Navy Escort 8 January - 17 January
Stary Bolshevik (1933)  Soviet Union 3,974
HMS Trinidad  Royal Navy Escort 11 January - 17 January


  1. ^ Garzke & Dulin, p. 250
  2. ^ "Convoy PQ.8". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 


  • Blair, Clay : Hitler's U-Boat War Vol I (1996) ISBN 0-304-35260-8
  • Garzke, William H.; Dulin, Robert O. (1985). Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-101-0. 
  • Kemp, Paul: Convoy! Drama in Arctic Waters (1993) ISBN 1-85409-130-1
  • Schofield, Bernard: (1964) The Russian Convoys BT Batsford ISBN (none)
  • PQ 8 at Convoyweb