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Remembered Today:

Canada in North Russia and Siberia


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I have finished the draft of my review article on the CEF in Russia after the Armistice. It covers both North Russia (Murmansk and Archangel) and Siberia (Vladivostok and Omsk). I have put a copy of it on my web site and I would appreciate any feedback from others. Also I would be interested if others have done similar work on the British units in both operations as they were closely allied with the Canadians.

The First Cold War: CEF Soldiers in Siberia and North Russia

It took me some time to get the feel of the geography of Russia on this project as I must admit that prior to this time I was not aware that the two expeditions were on opposite sides of the republic! I would be most interested in hearing from anyone that have better maps for the operations in Murmansk and Archangel. Much of the action took place on the armoured trains south of Archangel and it is extremely difficult to figure it all out without a map - particularly with the names in Russian. How we are spoiled with all the Western Front trench maps.

I had little or no knowledge about the events in Russia and so I prepared this for others in about the same position. Now that I have the basics I think there is a lot more that can be done on the details. If anyone has the rest of the war diaries, please let me know.

The 1/9th Battalion Hampshire Regiment and the 25th Battalion Middlesex Regiment both served with the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force in Vladivostok and westward to Omsk. As such, there may be more information in those records that I have not had access to at this time. The Canadians followed the British Marines who landed in Murmansk in April (150 marines) and May (370 marines) of 1918. Swetenham's report (1960) only states that "the Syren Force consisted of 600 British Infantry, plus a machine gun company and a half-company of Royal Engineers; in addition some 500 Royal Marines who landed during April and May under Maynard's command." (that would be Maj. Gen. C. M. M. Maynard)

I did locate the post here on the GWF about the Archangel Memorial. I too would be interested in an photographs members have taken of either the North Russia or Siberian expeditions, memorials, etc.


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Well Done Richard

You deserve much praise for that.

Now you stand head & shoulders above the GWF crowd - keep going forward please!

(I'm working on the Transcaspian Front, east of the Caspian Sea.)


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An uncle of mine served in Archangel, he was a Royal Dublin Fusilier. How should I go about researching this particular incident. He. Survived the war and lived to raise a family in Dublin. He died in 1959' his name was Tom Greene, although he may have used Green assume of the family did, since the name was green in the 1901 census and Greene in that of 1911!

Anyway, we'll done for your work in researching the Canadian involvement in the campaign. Old Ironsides would be very pleased.

Seamus Greene

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  • 4 years later...

Ribbon bar and award docs Col Lawrence Howard MacKenzie DSO VD Order of the White Eagle 5th class,Croix de Guerre,Order of St Anne 2nd class, Order of St Vladimir 4th class. Long time veteran of the 78th Pictou Highlanders, 25th CEF awarded the DSO for action in  Northern Russia... Avid historian of the 78th Battalion of Infantry and its lineage prior to 1940

Includes original letter to be presented at award ceremony of DSO ink stamped military district #6 Halifax Nova Scotia 1920 docs for 14-15 star and corp of commissionaire medal Civil Def 1945 etc etc




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Of the 604 Canadians who served in North Russia, 18 officers and 74 other ranks served in the Syren Force under the overall command of Maj Gen C M Maynard. The Canadian Syren Party arrived in Murmansk in the first week of October,1918 under the command of Col J E Leckie to take up administrative and instructional duties. A number of the Canadians had been specially chosen for their experience in the Canadian North and were given the task of instructing other Allied troops in the use of sledges , dog teams , skiing , snow shoeing and other techniques of travel for winter military operations. These duties occupied the Canadians with the Syren force for their first three months in North Russia but they were then drawn into active combat against the Bolsheviks



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There is an online book, titled Army. The Evacuation of North Russia, 1919 presented to Parliament and published by HMSO, 1920



The index indicates there were two maps in this publication, which however have not been digitised, but I think it is likely one of the maps was the one posted above.


The following link is a review of the book 

The Allied Intervention in Russia, 1918–1920: The Diplomacy of Chaos by Ian C Moffat


"As a Canadian naval veteran and self-described independent scholar, Moffat devotes much of his book to Canada’s involvement in the Russian Civil War"




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I am the Damien Wright mentioned above and have a book coming out very soon. First available in UK before the end of this month and US/Canadian distribution from May.


The book was due to come out on 15th March however there has been a short production delay, I expect the book will be with the printers at the end of this week.


The publisher lists the book as 504 pages but it will in fact be 570 pages, so you get more for your hard earned should you purchase a copy.


I will make a more detailed post on the UK and Australia release of the book in a week or so and again for US/Canada in May but for now will just post the UK publishers link.


I would be pleased to respond to any questions or queries regarding the campaign.




Edited by wrightdw
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