“In every other area of the military people have received the recognition they deserve. These boys were just 15 or 16 in many cases”
Mr. Cox's ground-breaking documentary explores the stories of servicemen who manned military support and aid convoys to Britain's allies during the Second World War. Many believe the voyages provided vital support which saved the Russians from collapse and prevented German victory.
Winston Churchill once described these Arctic voyages as the 'worst journey in the world' and Mr Cox believes he's not far from the truth. “I went to sea at 16 myself”, said Mr Cox, who attended Hatters Lane School and spent most of his life living in Totteridge, “when I was at sea there were still convoy veterans on the ships. I just thought, how did they put up with those conditions - the freezing cold and the isolation - all under the constant threat of attack?”
Mr Cox argues that although the convoys were kept secret to conceal the extent of Soviet reliance on Britain, Russia now acknowledges the importance of the men who made that difficult journey. Almost nobody in Britain, however, is aware of what they did.
After years of being ignored, Mr Cox says, the former seafarers were reluctant to speak about their experiences. Taking them on a tear-jerking voyage back through the Arctic was the catalyst which encouraged them to recall their stories. “Once we entered the Arctic that was when things started to change dramatically,” said Mr Cox, “everything started coming out”.
Since that landmark retracing of the Arctic voyage, the documentary has received a strong response and a dinner has been held at the House of Lords by 150 influential people all keen to promote the tales of the veterans.
The nation will get the chance to hear those stories when the BBC broadcast an abbreviated version of the documentary as part of their forthcoming Armistice Day programme on November 11. “I'm glad they've taken it on” said Cox, “Finally, at long last, those men get to tell their story.”
Copies of The Worst Journey in the World can be obtained through Snowbow Documentaries at snowbow.co.uk or by calling 01273 584470.