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Remembered Today:

Diary of a British soldier on the Western Font


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I have a diary of a British soldier who saw service on the Eastern front in the latter part of 1918 His name was George Edgar Tromans. His regiment was Royal Fusiliers London Company. The company left from Southampton & arrived in Archangel. He saw action at Vologda & mentions the Hampshire Regiment in the area. he also mentions a Major Harcourt's MCG. The dates are a bit vague as he was using his 1917 diary. I wonder if anyone has any information about this period, please make your comments.post-127662-0-82209100-1459366607_thumb. I believe that Russia had signed a peace treaty with Germany by this time.

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Is this him?

First name(s) George E Last name Tromans Service number GS/133315 Rank Private Corps Royal Fusiliers Service record Soldier Number: GS/133315, Rank: Private, Corps: Royal Fusiliers Archive reference WO372/20 Archive reference description Campaign Medal Index Cards and Silver War Badge Cards Country Great Britain Image link http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D5623099 Record set World War One British Army medal index cards Category Military, armed forces & conflict Subcategory First World War Collections from Great Britain
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Thanks for the very interesting link to Major Harcourt. It explained Georges involvement on the Eastern Front. I did not know that the UK was involved in the Russian Revolution.

John boy, no time wasted all contributions welcome. I am intrigued by the comment that the company was formed in 1919. This was after George had returned to the UK. The search for descendants of George has been an education for me. I hope soon to make contact with a great niece. I will have quite a story to tell her.

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Intrigued to read about the " ...poor devils going out to face a firing squad.." but can't match that up with the records.

Apparently 11 members of the Slavo-British Penal Battalion were executed on 1/7/1919 in Northern Russia.

Were there executions as early as July 1918?

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I'm intrigued by the death of"Jimmy". Seems to point to 1919? Also, glad Bill Lilley got an earful, but can't seem to identify him either.

It would be tremendously useful if someone had a 1919 military map in order to locate VP 440 and VP 466 properly.

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I omitted to say the dates the first page are a continuation of his time on the eastern front. On the other page he seems to be back in the UK

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Apart from the penciled 1918 at the head of the first two pages (which may have been added later?) so much here points to 1919 - see comments in posts 5, 7 & 8 above

Likewise the Cpl (written as Mullor? in post 9 above) looks like a July 1919 death

Corporal J. Peter Mulhall


Date of Death 23/07/1919

Royal Fusiliers 46th Bn

Sp Mem B99 Archangel Allied Cemetery (buried Obozerskaya Burial Ground)


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There is a short section about “details of the Sadlier-Jackson Brigade” which are later referred to as “Harcourt’s Force” which may be the operations referred to in the diary.

From page 142 Bolos & Barishynas : being an account of the doings of the Sadleir-Jackson Brigade, and Altham Flotilla, on the North Dvina during the summer, 1919 by G R Singleton-Gates, published 1920. Archive.org

A website about Russian Australian connections http://australiarussia.com/meENFIN.html contains some pages relating to Australians in the British Expeditionary Force in North Russia, including some diaries

More than 100 Australians fought in the British Expeditionary Force in the Russian North. In archives there are

Memoirs of Sergeant John Kelly - a participant of the intervention
Diary of a machine gunman Wilfred Yeoman,
Memoirs of a private Ernest Heathcote,
Diary of Sergeant Perry
telling about battles against the Red Army troops...

(Also the links are archived on an earlier website https://web.archive.org/web/20090913181835/http://www.argo.net.au/andre/myfile1ENFIN.html )



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I think it would come as a big shock to most people, to find that British & Commonwealth forces were still fighting on the European continent after 1918.

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  • 1 year later...

Despite the fact that the first pages of the diary have '1918' pencilled at the top of the page, the events described took place in 1919.


'Harcourt's Force' under Maj. H.G. Harcourt, DSO and Bar, MC, Royal Dublin Fusiliers attd. 201st (Special) Bn., MGC was comprised of Lieut. Maxwell Perry's (Devon Regt. attd) platoon of 46th Royal Fusiliers and Lieut. Curtis Snodgrass' (Bedfordshire Yeo. attd.) 'Australian Section' of 'C" Company, 201st MGC.


There was also a 'May's Force' under Maj. Harry May, DSO, MC and Bar, RFA comprised of Capt. William Newbold's (Manch. Regt. attd.) three platoons of the Australian 'Special Company; 45th Royal Fusiliers and two companies of North Russian Rifles.


Both Forces took part in the attack on the enemy battery position near Emtsa on the Archangel-Vologda Railway on 29th August 1919, the action for which Australian 45th Royal Fusiliers volunteer Sgt. S.G. Pearse, MM ex-AIF was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.


VP440 etc. is reference to a 'verst point' an Imperial Russian unit of measurement approximately a kilometer in length. There is a map of the Archangel-Valogda Railway in my book which shows the location of VP440-445 which was the approximate front line.


GS/133315 is within the number block for Royal Fusiliers volunteers for the North Russia Relief Force, the block for Australian volunteers was 133001 - 133100. Soldiers volunteering for service with the NRRF were given unique NRRF service numbers and had to be fully trained in the branch of service for which they were volunteering, there being no time for training before embarking for Russia.


2nd Bn., Hampshire Regiment (CO Lieut.-Col. J. Sherwood-Kelly, VC, CMG, DSO - a South African) was part of 1st (Grogan's) Brigade, NRRF which was not volunteer but rather regular and not yet demobilised soldiers ordered to Russia despite Whitehall's claims to the public that by mid-1919 only volunteers were being sent to Russia.


On 7th July 1919, 1st Bn., Slavo-British Legion (a British raised, trained and equipped unit of White Russian soldiers) mutinied, murdering 5 of their British officers before going over to the Bolsheviks. 11 mutineers were executed in respect of offences committed during the mutiny.


For those interested there is plenty more in my book Churchill's Secret War with Lenin: British and Commonwealth Military Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1918-20 (Helion & Company, 2017)

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Some notes I took from the book "With Ironside in North Russia" The Slavo-British Legion was made up of ex Bolshevik POWs. The book mentions Catains Barr and Finch and a third unknown British Officer and 4 Russian officers being murdered also 2 British and 2 Russian officers being wounded from the 3rd Company 1st Battalion Slavo-British Legion and the Machine gun company of the 4th Northern Rifle regiment. it seems everything was fine with the units and no one saw the muntiney coming

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The description of the Slavo-British Legion as "ex-Bolshevik POW's" is not entirely correct, certainly some of their number were former Bolsheviks but many/most were ex-Imperial Russian Army volunteers, especially the officers.


The five British officers who were murdered 07JUL19 were:


BARR, David Buik, MC, Age 25,  Captain, East Lancs Regt. (DOW 13JUL19)

BLAND, Cecil, F. R., MC, Lieutenant, Royal Berks Regt.

FINCH, Aubrey Malcolm Cecil, Age 22, Captain, Seaforth Highlanders

GOSLING, Gerald Noel, MC, Age 20, Lieutenant, Gloucester Regt.

GRIFFITH, Thomas Comber, Age 24, Lieutenant, Loyal North Lancs Regt.


The S-BL mutiny was one of several serious mutinies of White Russian troops in North Russia, other notable mutinies include that of 4th North Russian Rifles at Troitsa in April 1919 and the W. Russian garrison at Onega on the White Sea on 20 July 1919 in which Captain Allan Brown, AIF was murdered giving him the unfortunate distinction to be the last Australian Imperial Force soldier to be Killed in Action.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wonderful stuff I would just say that just because the writing is on the page doesn't mean it was written on the printed diary date, come across this a few times before. 

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