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Middlesex Woman’s Club to host author William Geroux


Middlesex Woman’s Club to host author William GerouxMIDDLESEX—Author William Geroux, author of “The Mathews Men,” will be the guest speaker at the Middlesex County Woman’s Club meeting on Monday, March 9, at 1:15 p.m. at the club building on Virginia Street in Urbanna.

Geroux will discuss his new book, “The Ghost Ships of Archangel: The Arctic Voyage that Defied the Nazis,” which tells an extraordinary story of a little known part of maritime history. In 1942, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to send Stalin’s Russian Army military supplies to support its war against the Germans. The hope was that if the Russians could engage the Germans long enough, the Allies would have time to plan and execute the European invasion. The route for delivering these supplies required merchant ships to cross the Arctic from Iceland to Murmansk or Archangel, Russian ports on the Barents Sea. In late June, 1942, a convoy of 35 cargo ships, carrying $1 billion worth of war supplies, and their military escort of naval ships, set sail for the Russian port of Archangel. The convoy faced the midsummer 24-hour Arctic daylight which exposed the ships to the U-boats, bombers, and military ships of the Germans that were waiting in these waters along the coast of Norway.       

Based on diaries, records and interviews with survivors, Geroux’s account of the ill-fated convoy and the high-level politics that put the ships in the path of the Nazis is remarkable. He focuses particular attention on the courage and ingenuity of four of the ships that left the convoy to head further north into the ice field of the North Pole to avoid the Nazi attacks. Their path through these Arctic waters is a riveting tale of survival and shifting alliances during this nightmare voyage to Archangel.

Geroux will discuss his book and answer questions from the audience. The talk is free and the public is invited to attend.