The History of Leith

January 4, 2011

MERCHANT SHIPS

MUCH of the bravery, hardship, and sacrifice which shows through the previous pages of this book was in order that the merchant ships might deliver safely their precious cargoes of raw materials to the ports of this country, or the finished engines of war to the appropriate battle front.
In this essential task ships from the Victoria Yards, already long
in service and some still building when war broke out, were ready to
take their share of the burden. At first, almost unarmed and unprotected, bombed in port, and attacked from air, surface, and underwater enemies, their gallant crews never faltered in their determination to ensure that the peoples of these islands should live and their men should fight.
No higher tributes have been paid to the Navy of the ” Red Duster ” than those which have come from their colleagues of the ” White Ensign.” In the knowledge that they, more than anyone else, would claim that the record of the Little Ships of Leith was not complete
without these vessels, built for peace, but proved in war, the following pages have been included.
It must be admitted that the record is far from complete and many a gallant and moving story has gone unrecorded. The information we
have been able to gather shows how these vessels successfully stood up to long periods of service under conditions far more arduous than those for which they were designed. By turns covered with many tons of ice on the Russian route, sizzling in the heat of the Persian Gulf, and
battered in the full fury of a North Atlantic winter, they kept steadily
to their task, the people were fed, and the armies served.

source-Leith Built Ships on War Service

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