JAMES (Jim) PITTS offered his personal Arctic Star Medal to be taken to Russia on behalf of all British veterans of the Arctic Convoys as a token of appreciation for the joint efforts of Soviet and British sailors during the Arctic Convoys’ campaigns of the Second World War.
Jim passed away peacefully on the eve of Sunday 26 March 2017 at the age of 93.
Rest in peace Jim! You will always stay in our memories as a Gentleman and a true Friend.
When I first met you Arthur, during my Victory Day London 2008 on board HMS Belfast, I presented you with a decanter of Pusser’s Rum - a beautiful clay decanter of the true Navy Rum with Admiral Nelson on it. You were only 87 then. A few weeks later I asked you whether you finished your Pusser's. You replied:
“O, no! I decided to open it on my 90th birthday. I also instructed my family to open it on my funeral if I don’t live to my 90th birthday.”
What a great Man! As straight as a die. Never complained. Always reliable. We had some great times together, didn't we... Rest in Peace my friend Arthur. We’ll meet again!
We are very pleased to announce our participation in the "Message to the World" event that took place in Hamburg as a part of mission4peace project. The Declaration of Nations Reconciliation was signed by the Second World War veterans, including veterans of the Arctic Convoys, diplomats and guests during the ‘Message to the World’ event that took place on Sunday 8 May 2016 in the International Maritime Museum Hamburg, Germany.
The participating veterans were: Mr. Hans-Jürgen Steffen from Germany; Mr. Ernie Davies and Mr. Seymour Taylor from the United Kingdom; Mr. Yuri Alexandrov and Mr. Taras Goncharenko from the Russian Federation; Mr. Zdenko Duplančić from Serbia; Mr. Piet van der Burgh from the Netherlands; Count Corrado Liberati from Italy.
Commentaries from public figures:
“At a time of considerable international tension, mission4peace is a timely and thought provoking initiative that deserves the attention and support of us all.”
Former Chief of the Defence Staff and Head of the British Armed Forces, General Lord David Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO
“mission4peace and its ‘Message to the World’ is a most worthy concept. Any initiative that sets out to improve relationships across all countries such that reverting to violence can become a thing of the past is to be commended.”
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Michael Cecil Boyce KG, GCB, OBE, DL
“The goals of mission4peace and the “Message to the World” event are honourable and fit perfectly to the goals of our house. In support of mission4peace we are greatly looking forward to welcome on May 8, veterans, diplomats and the world in the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg. We are confident that this outstanding event will help to create strong and peaceful international relations and will therefore help to preserve history for future generations.”
Professor Peter Tamm is the Founder of the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg
“As an historian dealing with centuries bedevilled by almost constant wars, I do share the ancient adagio ‘pax optima rerum’ [peace is the best of all things]. Missions that remind us of this exquisite value deserve our support.”
Prof. Dr. Mark Sven Hengerer – Professor of History and Chair of ‘History of Western Europe in the early modern period’ for Ludwig Maximilian University Munich
The Project Founders and the event organisers express their deep gratitude for the following individuals and organisations for contributing towards the success of a historic event:
Our eight veterans for their dedication to the course of mission4peace project and the event.
Professor Peter Tamm and the Team of the International Maritime History Museum Hamburg (Germany).
The Ambassador of Belgium to Germany, H.E. Ghislain D’Hoop for his participation and inspiring speech.
The Italian Consul General In Hannover, Mr. Flavio Rodilosso for his participation.
The Polar Convoy Club St. Petersburg, Russia.
Gielt Algra and Dutch Veterans Institute for the assistance with Mr. Piet van der Burgh.
Milos Bogićević and the SUBNOR Veterans Organisation in Belgrade for the assistance with Mr. Zdenko Duplančić.
Friederike Krum (UK), Mezzo-Soprano, whose heavenly voice enriched the event with unforgettable melodies.
Borco-Marken-Import Matthiesen Gmbh & Co. for supply of Russian Standard Premium vodka and Delaforce Bianco wine for the reception.
Christiane Harms and everyone at Elbschloss Residenz GmbH for their superb hospitality.
Embassies of the Netherlands, Italy and Serbia for their help in locating our veterans.
Barry Martin and Margaret Rowse of The Russia House Ltd (UK) for their organisational and personal support.
Boris Arkhipov and the Russian Consulate in Hamburg.
Paul Clothier and Peter Hambro (UK) for their personal contributions and support of the event.
Clara Choley (France) for the personal support and the assistance with the veterans.
Satu Panzner and the German Society for Maritime And Naval History.
Elena Erina (Russia) for interpreting assistance.
Michael Nagel (UK) for the assistance in organising wheelchair.