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wrightdw

Churchill's Secret War WIth Lenin: British and Commonwealth Military Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1918-20

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wrightdw
On 11/20/2017 at 00:11, themonsstar said:

Hi Damien

 

In your research did you come across anything on the Manchester Regiment in Russian. Not sore if you have seen this before.

 

Gazette of the Archangel Force 1919

 

 

Hi Mons,

 

Manchester Regiment did not serve in Russia as a unit however a number of Manchester Regt. soldiers served in Russian on attachment to other units, particularly the all-volunteer 'North Russia Relief Force' which fought the largest battles fought by British troops in Russia during 1919. A few of their number were awarded bravery decorations in Russia.

 

The Gazette of the Archangel Force is quite scarce and hard to find, nice pick up if you have a copy.

 

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themonsstar

Thanks Damien

 

If you need a look at them let us know.

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wrightdw

http://www.edp24.co.uk/features/norfolk-regiment-vc-winner-who-lost-fight-with-his-own-government-1-5288931

Article I contributed to on South African Lieut-Colonel Jack Sherwood-Kelly, VC, CMG, DSO, Norfolk Regiment who was awarded his VC in command of a battalion of Inniskilling Fusiliers at Cambrai in 1917 and volunteered to command 2nd Bn., Hampshire Regiment, North Russia Relief Force in 1919.

He was court martialled for writing an open letter to the press criticising the conduct of the campaign in North Russia.

Incidentally, when Kelly was relieved of command of 2nd Hampshires he was replaced by another highly decorated South African, Lieut.-Col. Donald McLeod, DSO, MC, DCM late 4th South African Infantry. Unusual combination of DSO with DCM.

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Eastindia
On 27/10/2016 at 14:48, nigelcave said:

You might care to look at Haig Seventy Years On (Reprinted as Haig Eight Year On); it is a series of essays on Haig marking the nth anniversary of his death by a group of military historians (I must admit that I am one of them - but the royalties are minimal!) on Haig. as regards your query, there is an essay by Colonel Mike Crawshaw, a retired sapper officer who for many years was Editor of the British Army Review, which I think you will find useful. In fact the essays as a whole might be handy as they cover a considerable range of topics in a fairly digestible form. I would say that most are revisionists and tend to come down, broadly, as favourable to Haig; but not entirely so.

 

On 21/12/2016 at 10:24, michaeldr said:

Thanks for the offer; PM sent

 

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Eastindia

I have ordered the book and look forward to reading about Major Henry Fawcett who led a contingent of RMLI to secure Murmansk in March 1918; it is said that it was with the agreement of Trotsky.  He was then put in charge of Naval Intelligence, operating agents in Finland and St Petersburg. He was "accidentally killed" by a Russian woman whose name I have not discovered. Apparently she was later awarded the MBE though for something else. Member Philip Tomaselli provided this information when I was seeking information about Major Fawcett. Major Fawcett is buried in Murmansk.

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wrightdw

5a24ea82805da_pg22.jpg.312efa6c97bd8940f3aeb0fc86f2b406.jpg

 

Fawcett is a bit of an interesting case. I know he led the first Royal Marines ashore at Murmansk from battleship HMS Glory on 6th March 1918, thus commencing British military intervention in the Russian Civil War although at the time Whitehall and Moscow were on relatively neutral terms, Lenin was worried about German troops in Finland crossing the frontier and taking control of Murmansk, the only year-round ice free port in European Russia.

 

I also know he was 'accidentally killed' on 29th December 1918 although I have been unable to determine the circumstances of his death. If it is true that he was killed (accidentally or otherwise) by a woman who went on to be made MBE, that is certainly an interesting trail to be pursued. If Philip Tomaselli is reading this thread I would be interested to know more?

 

Pg 469.jpg

Edited by wrightdw

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MBrockway
4 hours ago, wrightdw said:

Fawcett is a bit of an interesting case. I know he led the first Royal Marines ashore at Murmansk from battleship HMS Glory on 6th March 1918, thus commencing British military intervention in the Russian Civil War although at the time Whitehall and Moscow were on relatively neutral terms, Lenin was worried about German troops in Finland crossing the frontier and taking control of Murmansk, the only year-round ice free port in European Russia.

 

I also know he was 'accidentally killed' on 29th December 1918 although I have been unable to determine the circumstances of his death. If it is true that he was killed (accidentally or otherwise) by a woman who went on to be made MBE, that is certainly an interesting trail to be pursued. If Philip Tomaselli is reading this thread I would be interested to know more?

 

 

 

Nothing in The Times about the circumstances of his death, only this formal Death Notice.  Its family and address information may be useful in taking this further though.

 

5a252bed782f6_NewPicture.jpg.709c38bfb402c95ce55920bf18b1b699.jpg

© Times Newspapers Ltd.

 

"Deaths." The Times, Thu 02 Jan 1919, p.1

Mark

 

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Steven Broomfield

May or may not be good news, but I see this is on offer from Naval & Military Press at £11.99 (plus P&P).

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wrightdw

Naval & Military Press have a deal with the publisher to purchase large volumes of new releases at a significant discount.

 

Currently offered by N&MP for GBP12 until stocks run out: http://www.naval-military-press.com/churchill-s-secret-war-with-lenin-british-and-commonwealth-military-intervention-in-the-russian-civil-war-1918-20.html

 

 

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Len Trim

My copy arrived today. Very impressive piece of work. Looking forward to reading about what it was like for my grandfather who served and was wounded with Glory 111 in 1919.

Len

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Staffsyeoman

My review copy is sat on the pile and will be written up. I have been waiting for this for years. Not disappointed  on a quick glance

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wrightdw

Forum members may be interested in my article on Polar Explorers and Arctic warfare in North Russia 1918-19 published in the September 2017 Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society.

 

Since the article was published I have discovered that the entry for award of the Distinguished Service Order to Temporary Major John Hugh Mather, Royal Engineers (Lieutenant-Commander, RNVR)  in London Gazette 21st January 1920 erroneously states his forenames to be 'James Henry' rather than his actual forenames 'John Hugh' although his 'Medal Index Card' confirms this to be the same man and the forenames published in the London Gazette in 1920 were in error: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D3980394

 

Also the naval Warrant Officer pictured on page 189 may have been contemporarily miss-identified as 'Francis Scott' as no man of this name appears on the Polar Medal Roll. 

 

 

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Edited by wrightdw

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Waggoner

Damien,

 

 

Nice review in the current OMRS Journal!

 

All the best,

 

Gary

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The Scorer

Yes, and excellent article and an excellent book, both of which I enjoyed reading very much, well done.

 

I have one (actually a few!) question(s), though. It's referred to as "Churchill's Secret War" ... how secret was it? Were the participants told not to say where they were - for example, in letters home? Were there any contemporary press reports of what was happening?

 

Thanks.

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wrightdw

Thanks for the newspaper clipping Neill.

 

Scorer: The British government attempted to control the information coming out of Russia leading to cover ups of many of the events including the mutiny of nearly 100 Royal Marines at Murmansk and their subsequent Court Martial and sentencing to death of 13 Marines although The King had issued secret orders that no executions were to be carried out in respect of offenses committed in Russia and the sentences were commuted to hard labour. The Admiralty also covered up the mutiny of sailors of the RN Eastern Baltic Fleet in 1919.

 

Letters home were heavily censored (I will later add to this thread an article on the Sherwood-Kelly affair). Reporters were permitted to visit the front line in North Russia where the conflict was much more conventional however the press had very little access to the British operations in the Crimea which were much more 'hush-hush'.

 

The British government withdrew all combat units in October 1919 however to get around this restriction, the Air Ministry simply renamed No. 47 Squadron, RAF as 'A' Training Detachment, RAF, prohibited the disclosure of location or operations in letters home and continued offensive missions as they had before well into 1920.

 

The operations of RN Coastal Motor Boats in the Baltic was highly secret, the Victoria Cross awarded to Lieut. Augustus Agar for sinking the Bolshevik cruiser Oleg in June 1919 was published without citation and subsequently known as the 'Mystery VC', the only VC gazetted without citation.

 

I also have a chapter on the operations of British Secret Service in Russia 1917-20 and British POW's who were released after a secret POW exchange in 1920.

 

No campaign medal or specific recognition was granted to those who served in Russia and official files on the campaign were classified and not released to the public until 1969/70 when there was very little public interest.

 

Only a year after the British withdrew from Russia in mid-1920, Whitehall signed a trade agreement with Moscow formally recognising the Soviet government after which the British attempt to overthrow the Soviets militarily became politically inconvenient, particularly during the alliance with Stalin 1941-45 when Allied ships transported supplies donated to the Red Army to the same areas where the British Army had been fighting the Red Army only 20 years earlier.

 

The campaign remains one of the least known in modern British history which seems strange given the significance of Communism on the history of the 20th Century.

 

 

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MBrockway

More on Shackleton here:

Mark

 

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The Scorer

Thanks very much for your reply, which answers my questions.

 

It's certainly an area which I knew nothing about and with which the book helped a lot.

 

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QUEX

Damien,

 

looks a fascinating book. 

 

Can I ask if you came across anything about wireless interception by the Brits?  

 

The only reference I've ever picked up on (albeit not having dug too deeply) is in the establishment of GHQ Signal Coy in WO95/5422 where one Sgt and 6 ORs form a section for 'W/T interception'.  This, and the section operating the 'high power W/T station' are purely British manned, the section operating '15 W/T stations' is mixed British/Russian manning.  Presumably the high powered set is a national link back to UK, with Russians denied access to it and the signal intelligence section.

 

Quex

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wrightdw
On 1/28/2018 at 20:51, QUEX said:

Damien,

 

looks a fascinating book. 

 

Can I ask if you came across anything about wireless interception by the Brits?  

 

The only reference I've ever picked up on (albeit not having dug too deeply) is in the establishment of GHQ Signal Coy in WO95/5422 where one Sgt and 6 ORs form a section for 'W/T interception'.  This, and the section operating the 'high power W/T station' are purely British manned, the section operating '15 W/T stations' is mixed British/Russian manning.  Presumably the high powered set is a national link back to UK, with Russians denied access to it and the signal intelligence section.

 

Quex

 

Hi Quex,

 

I haven't specifically researched operations of GHQ Signal Company or W/T interception but that would be an interesting avenue to look into.

 

For most of the campaign the British front line in North Russia was 250 miles from GHQ at Arkhangelsk with river barges the only method of transport to and from. The demand placed on Royal Engineers signals was tremendous. You may appreciate the Military Cross citation awarded to Capt. Albert Glover, RE Signals:

 

As O.C. Signals, in all operations from the taking of the Onda Bridge and Segeja on 19th February, 1919, to the occupation of Medvyeja-Gora on 21st May, 1919, he has worked splendidly, directing the repair of broken lines under heavy fire and maintaining communication. This meant at times walking twenty miles in a night under severe Arctic conditions. He showed great pluck and devotion to duty.”

 

Edited by wrightdw

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QUEX
5 hours ago, wrightdw said:

 

Hi Quex,

 

I haven't specifically researched operations of GHQ Signal Company or W/T interception but that would be an interesting avenue to look into.

 

For most of the campaign the British front line in North Russia was 250 miles from GHQ at Arkhangelsk with river barges the only method of transport to and from. The demand placed on Royal Engineers signals was tremendous. You may appreciate the Military Cross citation awarded to Capt. Albert Glover, RE Signals:

 

As O.C. Signals, in all operations from the taking of the Onda Bridge and Segeja on 19th February, 1919, to the occupation of Medvyeja-Gora on 21st May, 1919, he has worked splendidly, directing the repair of broken lines under heavy fire and maintaining communication. This meant at times walking twenty miles in a night under severe Arctic conditions. He showed great pluck and devotion to duty.”

 

Damien,

 

thank you.  The distances involved and the conditions probably explains what seems a relatively high allocation of W/T sets for the size of force.

 

I've added it to the growing list of books I need to read - North Russia and the Armies of Occupation, that on the Rhine in particular, are areas I know far too little about.

 

Quex 

 

 

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wrightdw
On 1/26/2018 at 13:10, Waggoner said:

Damien,

 

 

Nice review in the current OMRS Journal!

 

All the best,

 

Gary

 

Cheers Gary, here it is:

 

Singlehurst review.jpg

Edited by wrightdw

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2ndCMR
On 12/3/2017 at 22:23, wrightdw said:

Fawcett is a bit of an interesting case. I know he led the first Royal Marines ashore at Murmansk from battleship HMS Glory on 6th March 1918, thus commencing British military intervention in the Russian Civil War although at the time Whitehall and Moscow were on relatively neutral terms, Lenin was worried about German troops in Finland crossing the frontier and taking control of Murmansk, the only year-round ice free port in European Russia.

 

I also know he was 'accidentally killed' on 29th December 1918 although I have been unable to determine the circumstances of his death. If it is true that he was killed (accidentally or otherwise) by a woman who went on to be made MBE, that is certainly an interesting trail to be pursued. If Philip Tomaselli is reading this thread I would be interested to know more?

 

Others would be interested as well.

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Derek Black

To those who have dredged through the sources at TNA and elsewhere,

 

Is there any way to discern which draft to Russia (intial or reinforcement) a Private in the 2/10th R.S. was part of, by his regmental number?

 

Cheers,

Derek.

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wrightdw

Another great review from Maj. Timothy Heck, USMC

 

https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/2/26/reviewing-churchills-secret-war-with-lenin#_ftnref1

 

Derek Black: generally speaking there was no reinforcement cycle in North Russia. Battalions arrived at full strength and whatever men were lost to sickness, injury or as casualties were not replaced. If your man was 2/10th Royal Scots during 1918-19 it is almost certain he was in North Russia. The 2/10th served in North Russia from September 1918 - June 1919 and suffered more casualties than any other unit in North Russia. They were the stalwarts of the winter campaign, one of the largest battles they fought was on 11 November 1918 during the defence of the village of Tulgas on the Dvina River from Red Army troops attacking in white smocks as camouflage against the snow. The Canadian guns were almost overrun firing over open sights when a bayonet charge by Royal Scots forced the Reds back and saved the guns.

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