Rathlin served as a rescue ship in the bloody hell of the Arctic convoys of the Second World War, completing six round trips to Russia. From September 1941 until the end of the war, convoys sailed from Iceland and Scotland to northern ports in the Soviet Union. Convoy ships had to navigate the hazards of fog, storm, drifting ice and constant attack from Nazi air, land and sea forces.
Rathlin was built on the Clyde in 1936 to serve as a coastal workhorse in British waters but in the Second World War she was fitted with guns, lifesaving equipment, a small hospital and accommodation for 150 survivors. Rathlin was part of the ill-fated convoy PQ17 that was overwhelmed by enemy forces and ordered to scatter. As the convoy's ships were being finished off, the Rathlin must have looked like an easy target to the crew of a Nazi bomber but as it flew at Rathlin the ship’s gunners shot it down. Rathlin attempted to rescue the men of the downed aircraft but drawing alongside its’ wreck found that all the aircrew had perished. During the course of the war Rathlin rescued 634 souls from 13 sinkings, the highest count of any rescue ship.
This print is pulled from an engraving cut from a sheet of rubber, a variation of letterpress. After removal of areas that are to be left as white paper, the rubber sheet is then rolled up with ink and pressed to paper, producing the print. The technique does not accommodate reprinting, so the edition is forever fixed at 7 copies.
This print will fit straight into a 10x12 inch frame.
Black oil based printing ink, Hahnemuhle etching paper 300gsm