Sunderland writer tells tale of World War Two Arctic veterans

Julie Detrice with a copy of the book that she had produced, based of the wartime diaries of her father, who recorded his experiences of the Arctic Convoys.
Julie Detrice with a copy of the book that she had produced, based of the wartime diaries of her father, who recorded his experiences of the Arctic Convoys.
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AFTER years of waiting, a chilling story of a World War Two Arctic veteran has finally been told.

Julie Deltrice knew she’d found a tale worth telling when she stumbled across her father Alfred Mason’s diary about 10 years ago.

After digging out a typewriter, the 72-year-old, of Fulwell, set about editing his entries and forming it into a novel.

Now, almost a decade after it was first due to be published, Arctic Warriors has finally hit the shelves.

Julie, who wanted to pay homage to her father, a former Merchant Navy gunnery and navigation officer, who sailed in the PQ18 convoy from Scotland to Russia in 1942, and died in 1992, said it’s been a long time coming.

“I don’t profess to be the next JK Rowling, but I would like the book to do something,” she said.

“It has photographs of my father, and myself and his ship in it. I think the publishers, Pen and Sword, have done a nice job with it.

“It’s been on the back burner for years but now, because there has been so much coverage of veterans getting the Arctic Star medal, they decided it would be a good time to put it out there.”

The factual tale, written in chronological order from Roker-born Alfred’s diary, has been embellished by Julie slightly, for effect.

“It is in the first person because my dad wrote it that way,” she said.

“I’ve just added to it by using more descriptive language, so on the book it says I have edited it.”

The mum-of-one, whose husband Roy, 73, proof read the novel, said she is glad to have been able to pay respect to the men who risked their lives to deliver supplies to Russia during World War Two.

“PQ18 was used as a decoy after the disaster of PQ17,” she said.

“My dad never really talked about it. He used to say ‘it’s not for women’. But I witnessed the devastation after the war in Hamburg.

“At first, the book was called Arctic Gladiators, but the publishers changed it to Arctic Warriors, which I’m happy with, because those men were sent out into the war with more or less no way to defend themselves.”

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