Operation FR

'FR' was a British naval undertaking to send a number of US-built light warships on transfer to the Soviet navy to the ports of the northern USSR, and also to recover merchant seaman survivors of vessels sunk in the course of Arctic convoys, in parallel with 'FS' (iii) (17/31 October 1943).

Marking the resumption of Allied naval passages to ports in the northern USSR after a break during the long days of the Arctic summer, the operation was undertaken by three forces, together with a submarine patrol line (British Stubborn, Syrtis and Varangian) off the Altafjord in case the Germans attempted to sortie major surface forces, and proceeded entirely to plan.

Staging through the Seyisfjrur in eastern Iceland, Force 1 comprised the destroyer Westcott, the corvette Eglantine and the minesweepers Harrier and Seagull, together with three minesweepers and six submarine chasers on transfer to the Kola inlet in the USSR while the British ships proceeded to Arkhangyel’sk.

Also staging through the Seyisfjrur as well as the Sklafjru in the Froe islands group, Force 2 comprised the destroyers Milne, Mahratta, Matchless, Musketeer, Saumarez, Savage, Scorpion and Scourge, and proceeded to the Kola inlet.

Staging through the Hvalfjrur and Akureyri in the south-western and northern parts of Iceland, Force 5 comprised the heavy cruisers London and US Augusta together with the escort destroyer Middleton, and remained at sea until returning to the Hvalfjrur and Scapa Flow.