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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Shoesmith family celebrate the life of former Sheerness man and Arctic convoy hero Walter

26 January 2014
by Emma Grove

Walter Shoesmith died after the boat he was on was attacked and sunk on January 26, 1944.

He was 30 years old and left a wife and three children, who were brought up on Sheppey.

Walter Shoesmith

Walter Shoesmith

The Arctic convoys were made up of British ships taking food and supplies to be used by the Soviet Union in the war against Germany

His son, Roger Shoesmith, a former Sheerness resident, now lives in Newcastle, north of Sydney in Australia.

The 70th anniversary of his death falls on Australia Day so the family thought it would be fitting to remember him then.

Mr Shoesmith, who has applied for his father’s Arctic medal and is awaiting delivery of it, said: “Since he never had a memorial service and as the date is important here, my family will mourn him and remember him with a toast.

“As time passed I regretted he never had a service; it was as if he had never existed.

“Many of my old friends might like to join us albeit remotely as my father came from a fairly well known local family and we would like to think they would stop and think of him on this day.”

Mr Shoesmith, 72, has also been able to obtain a copy of the admiralty report surrounding the circumstances of his father’s death.

“It’s disturbing since he and 29 other crew members were abandoned and left to die in a lifeboat 130 miles from the Russian coast,” he said.

“To this day I wonder what was going through the minds of those men, including my father, as they watched the ships leave them in an Arctic winter.”

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