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Remembered Today:

6th Green Howards in Russia


notimetoulouse

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Hi everyone - I'm new to the forums here and so please excuse me if I unknowingly breach etiquette.

As an ex career soldier, I decided to research my maternal grandfathers WW1 service to create a family memoir. Luckily his record survived the Blitz record fire and was available on Ancestry.

I was amazed when I saw his conduct sheets - my little, quiet pipe smoking grandfather had 5 DCM's, 1 GCM, numerous No1 and No2 Field Punishments, 180 days hard labour for shamefully casting away, an attempt to break out from his troopship and a discharge character reference as 'Bad'!

He originally joined 2/5 Lancashire Fusiliers from the Derby Scheme in late 1915 and was transferred to the 6th Green Howards for the Russian Intervention in late 1918.

Reeling from all this, I went down to Kew, and on physically checking his records found that after the fire in WW2 his sheets have been mixed up with a C.H. Eggett who was a Northumberland Fusilier, transferred to three different units throughout the war.

My own grandfather had only one court martial, for loss of eating equipment and rifle cleaning kit, because he refused his OC's punishment and elected for CM.

He recieved a GSW through and through to the face on the morning of Third Ypres outside Wieltje, and spent 8 months recovering in Norwich and Manchester.

Phew - I really was shocked at first!

Back on thick ice, I am trying to touch base with an expert on the Russian Intervention here on the Forum, as I have most of his LF background courtesy of the Bury Museum, but the GH Museum is closed for refurbishment until 1915.

I know he took part in a quite well known night battle with the red army at Bolshie Ozerki, (it was the only thing he ever shared with me) but it's the basics of why he was attached to the Syren Force in the first place that I need guidance on.

I understand that many volunteered because of the massive 'hike' in pay apropos the going rate for a private soldier at the end of the war, but was that the sole reason - were soldiers 'volunteered'?

(the bad Fusilier was apparently transferred to the 6th GH because of his lack of frontline service due to him being either 'on the trot' or imprisoned - and that's how the papers became mixed.)

I have also come across a diary entry from a Middlesex Reg/6th GH officer who complained bitterly about the standard of soldiery being transferred to his company prior to embarkation to Russia.

If anyone could let me know of how to get help and advice on the Vologda Squadron of Syren Force, or who could provide some background to the 6th (Service) Battalion Green Howards, I would be greatly appreciative.

Sorry for the long post.

I'll get my coat.

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You can get a book on Amazon called " The Murmansk Venture" by Major-General Sir C Maynard covering the Syren Force. ISBN-13-978-1845748227.

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Thanks very much for taking the time to reply - I'm straight off to Amazon for this. :-)

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You can also get a look at the War Diary for 6 Yorkshires with 236 Brigade (Syren Force) in Russia from Jul 1918 to Aug 1919. It is not yet digital though,so you either read it at Kew or ask for a copy,for a fee. Reference WO95/5427. A visit to Kew for Toulouse would be a bit of la trek,in fact it would wear your legs down (saw it in a Christmas cracker) !

The book is reasonably priced.

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Sotonmate, thanks for getting back again - on your advice I bought Gen. Maynards book yesterday and it will be with me by Friday.

I'll be stumping off down to Kew next week or the week after, so I'll get stuck in to the War Diary then.

Great advice - Happy New Year to you.

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Hello Notimetoulouse,

my grandfather was 7 service Bn, RDF and was merged into The GH. In Sept 1918 he was mobilized as a part of Syren force 236th Brigade until his return to England on July 6th 1919.

I too will get a copy of " The Murmansk Venture" by Major-General Sir C Maynard and would be interested if you would share anything you find at Kew, as New Delhi is along way from there. :)

Best

1stA

ad: Happy new year as well!

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Hi 1stA - thanks for this - If you wish, I will PM you when I'm off down to Kew for the day and if you need me to check anything and photo it for you, it goes without saying that I'll do my best.

Whatever I find, I'll send on to you as a matter of course. I'll be Kewing it sometime between the 7th and 14th.

As you can see, I'm really curious as to why my grandad, who had been through 3rd Ypres and wounded off the field, would then volunteer to go elsewhere at the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front.

I know after the Falklands, all I wanted to do was to....go home - even though I was asked to stay as I was single with no dependents.

Keep in touch, I'll help all I can.

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Hello Notimetoulouse,

the interesting thing as you point out, is that I too find it strange that my GF would volunteer as well after all he had been through.

Landing at Suvla, evacuated to Salonika, GSW T&T to the shoulder in Sevia, hospitalized in Malta for thee months, back to the Balkans, sent to Egypt, defense of the canal, advance on Palestine, taking Jerusalem, sent to France, all this with reoccurring malaria. And then to Russia? I don't think I could have volunteered...

Having not read the book yet...I wonder if they were not "volunteered" as a regiment?

Darren

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Hi Darren,

From what I've been able to glean so far, the 6th GH were a composite battalion that after discharging their own recruited Yorkshire soldiers at Armistice was then made up of soldiers/volunteers/'pressed men' from other units and attached to 236 Brigade, then based at Mytchett Camp, near Aldershot. I've heard third hand that the pay for Syren volunteers was very high - 6 shillings a day was mentioned - and that could have been a big motivator.

Re the Middlesex officer, he had volunteered to command a Company of the newIy reconstituted battalion, and I found that in a letter home he felt deeply let down by the powers that be as the Company he was due to take over, unlike the others which were all volunteer, was being populated with soldiers of 'dubious loyalty, dubious quality and disaffected with soldiering in general.'

The gentleman who had his records mixed with my grandfather (and caused me such a shock) appears to fall into that category...he would desert under fire, be punished, and it appears his regiment would then disown him and refuse to have him back, he would then be transferred to another regiment and would desert again. This happened three times. He was then sent to Russia, and by looking at his service record caused mayhem on the troopship on the way out. He was not awarded any campaign medals.

BTW have you seen this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bolshie_Ozerki

This action was one of only two things my Grandfather spoke to me about before he died, at the time he mentioned fighting in the dark and trying to move forward with snow up to their waist, and being surrounded at one point fighting in every direction.

The story was always held up by the family to be a little bit of 'poetic licence', but reading the wiki, it sounds as though it was a hideous day.

Joe, my grandfather, was in A company.

Hope it helps.

Jeff

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Welcome to the GWF, notimetolouse.

The following link will take you to a free book on the Internet Archive giving a good overview of the campaign, and Canada's part in the story:

https://archive.org/stream/TheFirstColdWarCefSoldiersInSiberiaAndNorthRussia/TheFirstColdWar-CefSoldiersInSiberiaAndNorthRussia#page/n33/mode/2up

By the way, if you are buying anything from Amazon, the Forum will benefit if you go via our partnership link (on yellow near the top of the page).

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Darren, my offer of research at Kew for you still stands, I'm going to be there for a full 9 hour stint, and I'd be happy to copy as much as I can for you and post/email the results over to India for you. ;-)

Jeff

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Welcome to the GWF, notimetolouse.

The following link will take you to a free book on the Internet Archive giving a good overview of the campaign, and Canada's part in the story:

https://archive.org/stream/TheFirstColdWarCefSoldiersInSiberiaAndNorthRussia/TheFirstColdWar-CefSoldiersInSiberiaAndNorthRussia#page/n33/mode/2up

By the way, if you are buying anything from Amazon, the Forum will benefit if you go via our partnership link (on yellow near the top of the page).

Thanks very much Kate - and for the heads up about any books I purchase in future. Happy New Year to you!

Oops, nearly forgot - I've just set up a recurring donation from Paypal t help towards Forum Admin, hope it helps.

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Kate, as a heads up, the link above gives an error message 'The item is not available due to issues with the item's content.'

Thanks very much Kate - and for the heads up about any books I purchase in future. Happy New Year to you!

Oops, nearly forgot - I've just set up a recurring donation from Paypal t help towards Forum Admin, hope it helps.

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