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On May 8, the V-E Day, was held the online conference with the participation of representatives of Ireland and Russia. The Northern Convoys International Centre took part in the conference at the invitation of its organizer — the Irish Association "Russian Bridge" which promotes Russian culture in Ireland.
The conference was dedicated to the memory of the Russian and the Irish who participated in the Great Patriotic War and World War II, including the Northern convoys.
Schoolchildren from Ireland (descendants of Russian soldiers) and Russia told about their great-grandfathers, their personal stories and memories of the war.
Participants of the meeting were addressed, among others, by Kate Newmann, the author of the book about Irish participants in the Northern convoys "Nearness of Ice", the representatives of the Irish Military History Club, who show deep interest in the history of the Soviet army and arrange military reconstructions of the battles of the Great Patriotic War.
David Horgan, grandson of the Convoys’ veteran Patrick Horgan, shared the story of his grandfather, who had visited Russia several times while in convoys, and always with special warmth remembered ordinary Soviet people, port workers, who were mostly women during wartime. According to the veteran's recollections, these Soviet women, on whose shoulders the hard work in the ports lay, very much reminded him the women in his native Belfast.
Peter Mulvany, the founder and initiator of The Irish Soldiers Pardon Campaign, aimed at obtaining redress for the Irish servicemen, who allegedly deserted the Irish Defense forces during WWII to fight against the Nazis in the ranks of the UK forces. He also told about the difficulties on the way to the official removal of charges against 5,000 Irish, which became possible only in 2014. He also shared information about the awarding of the head of the Irish Navy by the King of England for his participation in the Northern convoys.
Russia was represented at the conference by Leonid Shafirov, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, who spoke about the large-scale project "My wartime childhood", Elena Smirnova — journalist, Honorary Worker of Culture of Rostov-On-Don city, Vladimir Solomonov, director of the Northern Convoys International Centre.
Vladimir Solomonov told about the activities and projects of the International Center and invited everyone present to participate in the creative competition "Together we are the WORLD!" and other projects of the Centre dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Northern Convoys.
We thank the Russian Bridge organization and personally Anastasia McCabe for the opportunity to take part in this very interesting and informative event!