Battle of North Cape eye witness account

Battle of North Cape

Transcribed from a hand-typed manuscript, this is a poignant eye-witness account of the Battle of North Cape, as witnessed by a young signal-boy aboard the British warship HMS Belfast.

This crucial battle to protect the vital convoys from Britain to Russia, was fought out in the Arctic seas north of Norway’s North Cape, in the midst of winter, in some of the worst weather conditions anywhere in the world. 

On Christmas Day 1943, the Scharnhorst and several destroyers sailed out from their Norway base to attack Russian bound Arctic convoys. 

By this time the British were easily reading German radio traffic so no such attack could be a surprise. In fact the Royal Navy were actively awaiting it and had strong forces ready to attack, one sailing from Murmansk and the other from Scapa Flow in Scotland, including the battleship HMS Duke of York – ‘the Duke’ and HMS Belfast.

The battle of North Cape was prolonged and brutal. It resulted in a crushing defeat for Nazi Germany when their battleship the Scharnhorst came under fire from several British and Norwegian ships and was sunk with the loss of 1,932 men.

But there were many heroes that day, and the events recorded in this book were experienced by a young lad named Harry C. Hall, a Signal boy aboard the British vessel HMS Belfast. This is his account, written in verse and incredibly moving to the very end.

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