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Officers who volunteered to go to Russia in 1919


JefR

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I’m researching the military career of an officer, Capt.  F L Allen, who served throughout WW1 in the Northumberland Fusiliers and I’ve got pretty much the full story on that.

 However, it has been alleged that he went to Russia and took part in the British Army’s Aug 1918 - Oct 1919  support of the White Russian opposition to the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian state.

Does anyone know where I might find information on officers who volunteered to go to Russia in 1919 ?

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Try "Churchill's Secret War with Lenin" by @wrightdw

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Corisande And Coldstreamer

Many thanks for your recommendations I very much appreciate your help to give me the book title.

I opened the link to Google books and it looks like a pretty comprehensive coverage of the actions that took place in Russia. It’s a free "review copy" intended to provide a flavour of the contentsas a spur to purchase - which means that there are a lot of pages missing.  But, having the book title I was able to find a Kindle version on Amazon which I downloaded (only £4) and that’s complete and searchable.  Five items pop up in response to a search for “Allan” but sadly, none refer to the man I’m looking for.

So, no result on this occasion, but thank you both for leading me to the Kindle searchable option, I’ll use that again in the future.

Jef

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7 minutes ago, JefR said:

a Kindle version on Amazon which I downloaded (only £4) and that’s complete and searchable. 

 

That is interesting. The real book copy has an index, but it does not seem to include every name in the book, so as a searchable alternative, the Kindle version seems better

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Yes Corisande, you're right -  I don't think every name is iincluded. 

I should also have said in my last message that the name lists are in an Appendix  :-

  • British names are a Role of Honour
  • Australian, New Zealand, & South African names are said to be Men Who Served.
  • There don't seem to be any US names.

Jef

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He will be mentioned in the following publication, authored by Nick Baron

The King of Karelia: Col P.J. Woods and the British Intervention in North Russia 1918-1919.

ISBN 1-903427-32-0

 

Quote

The book is split into two parts. The first is a biography of Colonel Woods' life, where he grew up in Ireland. The second is his memoir from Karelia as part of the British intervention force there. It details how he founded The Karelian Volunteer Regiment and helped drive the German supported Finnish forces from the region. How he dodged and dived the jealous and murderous intents of the White Russian officers. The Regiment and the people of Karelia fought hard to be recognised as a people and unfortunately couldn't gather the support for their cause. Their struggle is recorded by Woods in a way that makes you sympathise with them and curse the blind British high command for listening to the whispers of their Russian advisers.

 

Getting a copy of that book looks like the way forward.

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Looks like a really good read, Keith. Here is the write up on Amazon. Dabbling in Irish politics is never advised!

 

Artist, adventurer, soldier and politician, Philip Woods, 'King of Karelia' and Belfast's 'Fighting Colonel', participated in many of the dramatic events of the early twentieth century: he served with Baden-Powell in South Africa; joined the Ulster Volunteer Force to oppose Irish Home Rule on the eve of the Great War; then, as an officer of the Royal Irish Rifles, he was decorated for his bravery on the Somme. During 1918-1919, Woods accompanied the Allied expedition to revolutionary Russia, where he became embroiled in the struggle of the Karelian people for independence. In the 1920s, as an independent, non-sectarian member of the new Northern Irish parliament, shunned by the Unionist establishment, he witnessed the province's bitter politics at first hand, and dedicated himself to promoting religious and social reconciliation. In England in the 1930s he unwittingly became involved with the notorious British Nazi, William Joyce ('Lord Haw-Haw').

This book is in two parts. Nick Baron's engaging study of Philip Woods' life and times is followed by Woods' own entertaining and historically important memoir of Britain's ill-fated intervention in the Russian civil war, published here for the first time.

 

 

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Keith.

I’m speechless!  It’s incredible that you managed to trace him to Russia, and to have a photograph to prove it - well that really is magic.  I can’t thank you enough.

In the IWM photo he’d be within a few months either side of 27 years old, and in the only full face picture that I’ve got, he’s 65.   I measured the triangle between the outside of each eye and the tip of his nose and the proportions fit exactly.  The distance from ear to ear isn’t quite the same but the head is turned very slightly to his right in the more recent photo which might account for that.  The key feature, I think, is the shape and set of the ears - that clinches it for me.

957334089_FLALLANPhotocropmod3.jpg.b35584334fbdd5a12be5a6cc924ea595.jpg216541864_FLAllanSchool1958webmod3.jpg.8515926c6cd64645bbff72b8f2c1698e.jpg

I’ve ordered the “King of Karelia” book, thanks for putting me onto it.  With regard to the photo can you give me the reference for the IWM collection?

I can’t get over it.  You’ve fitted all the hypothetical pieces together.  Outstanding!

Best regards

Jef

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Excellent, the caption and the archive identifier are in that link. It was added to "Lives of the First World War" by myself. They have not seen fit to enable captions and accreditations to appear in the new platform, sadly. 

I find it hypocritical the IWM want their items to be shared and reused, and attributed to them, yet they can't be bothered to do the same on their platform. 

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Just another thought.

Fred Allan was awarded the Mlitary Cross - London Gazette 3rd June 1919 p6940 - in the Kings birthday Honours list and there is no citation.  Is it possible that the award was granted in recognition of his volunteering for service in Russia?

Jef

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Hi Jef,

I have not been able to find a surviving service record for him at Kew. I could not find a likely contender from the MOD index, either. There has been nothing on the several officer files I have consulted at Kew about that person's service in Russia - it has been detail of a purely administrative nature.

The book looks like an interesting read, nonetheless.

Thanks
Keith

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I have not seen anything to indicate that Allan volunteered to go to Russia, or whether he and others, such as Lieutenant William Little of the Northumberland Fusiliers, were posted there as a matter of course. 

If there is a document to prove that Frederick Leonard Allan volunteered, I have not seen it. 

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Cannot say for sure what the circumstances were for William Little to be in North Russia, without any source-based evidence. He was decorated with the Military Cross for an act of bravery, the citation is reproduced below

 

Quote

T./Lt. William Little, -North'd Fus., attd. Karelian' Vol. Bn.
For marked gallantry and devotion to duty. On the night of 13/14th Sept., 1919, he was in command of a post of fifty men, near Mikheeva Selga, when he was surrounded and repeatedly attacked by the enemy. The action lasted for six hours. Although early wounded he held the post until dawn, thus enabling operations to be carried out as originally planned.


London Gazette 20 January 1920 Supplement:31745 Page:922 

 

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Hi Keith

The reference to volunteering was simply an assumption on my part. 

My (totally untutored) impression of the Russian intervention is that it was a somewhat clandestine operation, one that would only enhance reputations if it turned out to be an unqualified success but would have to be hushed up in the event of failure.

Ahhh ... Your posting about William little has just come in.  It indicates that my impression is quite wrong. It does seem to have been seen as a valid military operation, and at least one act of bravery in Russia was acknowledged, I wonder if there were others.
I'll have to study Nick Baron's book closely when it arrives.

 

Best regards

 

Jef

 

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It was no small operation - about 14,000 men

 

Not all were volunteers and there was a mutiny amoung a group of Royal Marines who were not at all happy to have been sent there. See this thread for example

 

 

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