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Majordecor

North Russian Expeditionary Force

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Majordecor

Can anyone help me with the following questions/information:

1. What was the Army Bombing and Trench Mortar School, Archangel? Is there a war diary at Nat. Archives, Kew?

2. What was the Russo-Polish Field Force in Archangel? Is there a war diary at Kew?

3. What was 1st. Battery, Archangel Rifles? Is there a war diary at Kew?

4. There were operations at a place I think was called Zemptora against the Bolsheviks in March 1919. Any information, please.

5. There were also something called Pinega River Operations. What were they about?

6. Is there a war diary at Kew about General Ironside's command in North Russia.

In anticipation,

George Major.

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Steven Broomfield

George, glad you started this again, as I couldn't find the original thread! I have discovered a book I have had for years (but haven't read yet!!!), called "The fate of Admiral Kolchak", all about the Russian intervention. I can't find any references in the index, but I will read it over Xmas and report back if I find anything.

Interestingly, in the bibliography it refers to "Eastern Siberia" (HMSO 1920), and "The Evacuation of North Russia, 1919" (HMSO 1920) - might be worth trying to hunt down?

Anyway, I'll get back to you after my holiday reading is done.

Steven

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GrandsonMichael

I haven't read it myself, so if it is no good, please don't shoot the pianist... ;)

Thought this might be of interest:

book.

Cheers,

Michael

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Gilgamesh of Uruk

I bought the following (attractively priced) at a library sale :

Dobson, C. and Miller, J. The Day We Almost Bombed Moscow (London: Hodder &

Stoughton, 1986).

Seems like a reasonable overview. I wonder if those who have care of M33 know anything? She was a veteran of the Dvina campaign, if memeory serves.

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Neil Burns

Pick up The Day They Almost Bombed Moscow by Dobson & Miller.

The Fate of Admiral Kolchak is a very interesting read, but deals with Siberia and the Czech Legion, not really with North Russia. If you can find Finland & The Russian Revolution by C. Jay Smith you'll have a better understanding of the local politics and goals which both Western and Soviet sources ignore.

Fascinating topic,

Neil

Edited to clarify sources!

Edited by Neil Burns

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Gilgamesh of Uruk

Interesting, that. Is your "THEY" copy American? The title of mine is definitely "WE".

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Neil Burns

I was actually unaware of the different editions!

Mine is 'They' and the American edition from 1986 (?).

Neil

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
I was actually unaware of the different editions!

Mine is 'They' and the American edition from 1986 (?).

Neil

So was I until I saw your post & thought I was having another Senior Moment. A google search showed the two up - it would be interesting to see if there are any other non-cosmetic differences, don't you think?

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Neil Burns

I agree but I suspect the two are very similar as it is a very pro-British work. When I get home I will check the obvious spellings colour/color etc. to see how much it was tweaked for the US public.

Neil

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snavek

George Major,

I can't help with your NA questions but the Pinega river fed into the mouth of the great North Dvina (Dwina) river below Archangel. Pinega was a town (or village) about 60 miles to the east of Archangel and the North Russian Expeditionary Force appears to have been holding a defensive line about 20 miles South of Pinega. The Pinega river was smaller than the Dvina which had its own flotilla of shallow draft vessels including Monitors, but it could probably take gunboats, barges, etc. The countryside was difficult, especially in the winter, and supplying by river was probably the best way.

If you haven't already done so can I suggest two books which will give a flavour of this operation:-

'Bolos & Barishynas, the North Dvina 1919' published 1919, but I got a reprint from The Naval & Military Press.

'Archangel 1918-1919' by Edmund Ironside. It's quite rare and I have to borrow it from my County Archive Dept.

Keith

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Steven Broomfield

Is there NOTHING this forum can't find an answer to? :o

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Majordecor

Wow! All I can say to you guys is that I know what I'll be reading over Christmas. And a merry one to you all. Heartfelt thanks.

George Major.

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jhill
Can anyone help me with the following questions/information:

1. What was the Army Bombing and Trench Mortar School, Archangel? Is there a war diary at Nat. Archives, Kew?

2. What was the Russo-Polish Field Force in Archangel? Is there a war diary at Kew?

3. What was 1st. Battery, Archangel Rifles? Is there a war diary at Kew?

4. There were operations at a place I think was called Zemptora against the Bolsheviks in March 1919. Any information, please.

5. There were also something called Pinega River Operations. What were they about?

6. Is there a war diary at Kew about General Ironside's command in North Russia.

In anticipation,

George Major.

You might like to browse through the War Diaries of the Canadian units involved with these operations. You can find them here .

They may not be what you are really after, but they will give a flavour of the operations.

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Majordecor

Dear Keith (Snavek)

If you have access to this book which I've yet to track down, does it have a reference in it to Reginald George Lockyer MAJOR. His brother, Arthur William Channon Major would have been my father in law. RGL Major was Ironside's ADC. AWC Major was the recipient of the Order of St. George and the Order of St. Anne, 2nd Class with crossed swords - there are three citations in his military records:

post-5635-1134766231.jpg

In anticipation,

George Major.

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Borden Battery

Here is an excerpt from official Canadian documents ....

"Canadians in Northern Russia

The remaining two sections of this chapter deal with Canadian participation in military undertakings which continued long after the Armistice.

While their comrades in the United Kingdom were enjoying their final leave before embarking for home, Canadian contingents were still serving in widely separated theatres in Europe and Asia. The employment of these forces, with the sanction of the Canadian Government, had come as a result of the situation which developed in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. As we shall see, Allied intervention in Northern Russia first took the form of what has been described as "a hasty improvisation ... to prevent the Germans from winning the war in France"; later, after Brest-Litovsk, operations were part of an attempt to hold off Bolshevik attacks until White Russian forces could be built up sufficiently to stand alone.

When the Russian Revolution broke out early in 1917, and for some time afterwards, the Western Allies had entertained hopes that Russia could be kept in the war against the Central Powers. By the end of the year, however, any such prospects were rapidly disappearing, and these vanished on 3 March 1918 when the Bolsheviks, who had overthrown Kerensky's Socialist Government in the previous November, signed the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany and Austria. With their commitments in the east thus materially reduced, the Germans could now transfer large bodies of troops to the Western Front. Further more, a German Army of 55,000 men under General von der Goltz was in Finland ostensibly to counteract Bolshevik troops which had invaded that country in January 1918. This German force seemed to be in a position to seize the ice-free port of Murmansk, out of which during 1917 a small British squadron had been operating against enemy submarines. Conversion of this port into a base for U-boats would create a serious threat to British shipping.

Primarily in order to forestall this possibility Great Britain, at the invitation of the Soviet Government, landed a force of 150 marines at Murmansk in April 1918, and 370 more in May. The question of Allied intervention in Northern Russia had been placed before the Supreme War Council at Versailles. The internal political and military situation in Russia was still chaotic, and the Western Powers could not make up their minds to which side they should direct their negotiations. A large Czech corps was then half way across Siberia working towards Vladivostok. Composed of Czechs from Russia and Czech and Slovak deserters from the Austrian armies, it was the only large military group in Russia which was still a disciplined unit. It had grown from some 30,000 strong to more than twice that figure. Might not an Allied landing in Northern Russia encourage this corps to turn back and reopen hostilities on the Eastern Front? Furthermore, large dumps of military equipment supplied by the Allies for Russia's use when she was still in the war were reported to be at the White Sea port of Archangel, in imminent danger of falling into German hands. Accordingly, on 3 June the Supreme War Council sanctioned the dispatch under British command of expeditions to Murmansk and Archangel, 370 miles to the south-east.

The Murmansk force, bearing the code-name "Syren", commanded by Major-General C.M. Maynard, consisted of 600 British infantry, a machine-gun company, and a half-company of Royal Engineers. The intended role at Archangel was to muster anti-Bolshevik forces into trained formations, and to this task was assigned a British Mission ("Elope") not to exceed 500 all ranks, under Major General F.C. Poole. Both forces reached Murmansk on 23 June escorted by an Allied naval squadron; and since Archangel was then in Bolshevik hands, the "Elope" Mission landed with "Syren".

On 31 July a naval force carrying British and French troops attacked Archangel, and with the aid of an anti-Bolshevik uprising, captured the town. This made it possible to transfer the "Elope" party to Archangel during August. Within two months a large area of Northern Russia had been freed of Bolsheviks, and land communications were restored with General Maynard's force along the Murmansk-Petrograd (later Leningrad) Railway. The military objectives, both at Murmansk and Archangel, had been achieved with few casualties. By this time, however, events following the Brest-Litovsk treaty had radically changed the political picture. At first the harsh terms of the pact had shocked the Bolsheviks into seeking Allied aid. But no real support was forth-coming, and soon the Reds were frowning upon any intervention which might precipitate further German incursions. In May 1918 the inauguration of formal German- Soviet relations removed the German threat to the new regime in Russia. The Bolsheviks now decided to resist further Allied landings, and after the capture of Archangel any semi-official relations that had existed between Great Britain and the Soviet Government came to an abrupt end.

In mid-May, when the composition of the "Elope" Mission was first considered, the War Office had suggested a Canadian contribution of five officers and eleven N.C.Os., none of whom needed to be fit for general service. On 27 May the Overseas Minister, Sir Edward Kemp, gave Canadian concurrence. The required personnel were obtained from units stationed in England, and sailed with the force in June.

When in July 1918 the question of reinforcing the "Syren" force arose, Canada was asked if she could provide an infantry battalion, since troops with experience of a rigorous climate were required. Unlike the suggestion for a Canadian contribution to "Elope", this request was for men who were fit for general service; but because of the urgent need which then existed for Canadian reinforcements in the western theatre, the invitation was declined.

On 30 July the War Office made a further request for eighteen Canadian officers and 70 N.C.Os., to be included in a special mobile force which was being formed in the Murmansk area from Allied contingents and local levies. There was a requirement for infantry, machine-gun and artillery personnel, first to serve as instructors, and later for regimental or administrative duties in the units to be raised. This time the Canadian Government agreed. On 17 September 92 officers and N.C.Os. - all volunteers - commanded by Lt.-Col. J.E. Leckie, sailed from Leith, Scotland, for Murmansk.

One more request came for Canadian troops to serve in Northern Russia. On 3 August Canada was asked to provide two field artillery batteries for the Allied contingents in Archangel. Again the Canadian Government concurred, and the 16th Brigade, C.F.A., consisting of the 67th and 68th Batteries under the command of Lt.-Col. C.H.L. Sharman, was formed of volunteers from the Canadian Reserve Artillery and left Dundee for Archangel on 20 September. The strength of the Brigade was eighteen officers and 469 other ranks, almost all of whom had seen service on the Western Front.

Both at Murmansk and Archangel the Allied forces were by now of very mixed composition. Contingents were drawn from Britain, the United States, Italy, France and Canada. In both areas these troops were joined by anti-Bolshevik Russians, and at Murmansk, Finns and Karelians worked with the Allies, as did a group of Serbians who had fought their way north from Odessa. The size of the locally recruited Russian forces fluctuated considerably as there were many defections, but the total Allied strength at Murmansk and Archangel never exceeded 35,000 men. In all Canada contributed to this theatre just under 600 officers and other ranks."

Source: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, Colonel G. W. L. Nicholson, C.D., Army Historical Section, pp 482-485

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snavek

Hi George,

I have looked at the list of awards and casualties listed at the back of 'Bolos and Barishynas' but no one named Major is listed. Brig. Gen. Sadlier-Jackson is the only entry for the Order of St. George, Fourth Class. There are 7 entries, all Lieut.-Colonels, listed under Saint Anna, Second Class with Swords and Ribbons;-Browne, (RE); Davies (45th RF); Jenkins (46th RF); Pritchard-Taylor and Harty (both RAMC); Tomkinson (RAF) and Minet (MGC).

This is not helpful to you, but I should point out that this particular book is aimed at the Russian Relief Force which is one of my interests, another being Baron Ironside.

I suspect that some of the other books mentioned by Forum members could embrace the Pinega operations. 'Archangel 1918-1919' probably does, but I dont know in how much detail. Can I see the name 'Needham' 4 lines from the bottom of your photocopy?

Keith

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Neil Burns

Gilgamesh (Gil?),

It seems the title is the only change as British spellings are used throughout the book. Not conclusive, I know, but if you have a question about a specific passage, I will be happy to compare.

Neil

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Majordecor

Dear Keith (Snavek),

Names you see on my photocopy are: General Marousheffski, General Needham, Col. Borton VC and Col. Edwards DSO and I think, Zemptora.

I have added a photo attachment of, ultimately, Lt. Col Major with his ribbon. They are (top left to bottom right): MC and two bars - 1914/15 Star - British War Medal - Victory Medal - 1939/45 Star - France and Germany Star - Order of St. Anne with crossed swords - Order of St. George.

post-5635-1134846244.jpg

Regards,

George Major.

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Majordecor

Dear Keith (Snavek),

By the way, don't be confused by the palm tree badge - that was WW2 when he was Commander of the Royal West African Volunteer Force in Ghana.

George.

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snavek

George,

Great photo but still unable to find his name, however, I've a few photocopies of pages from 'Archangel 1918-1919' and on one is a reference to a meeting Ironside had with, I suspect, General Millar (I haven't got the previous page). Ironside complains that too few Russian Officers are up the line and says 'I asked him to make a determined effort to reduce the paperwork and get General Marousheffsky up country to show their men that there was a Russian General in command'. This meeting took place about a month and a half before the ice broke up and I have a copy of a personal diary which shows that there was still a lot of ice about when HMS Humber pulled into Archangel on 9th June 1919.

I cant remember what role Needham played but the book contains a photo of Ironside with Needham and Walshe on his right and Perkins and Crosbie on his left, with a title 'General Officers at Archangel'. If I wasn't such a technotwit I would probably be able to send it!

Keith

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Majordecor

Dear Keith,

Once again, thank you.

I shall be going to British Library and NAin the next couple of weeks where I shall try to track down Ironside's book.

If you're interested, I'm starting a new thread about AWC Major's couple of years with the Indian Army - 1920 to 1922.

Happy Christmas and New Year to all at The Forum.

George Major.

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Carr6

Hey Guys Long Time No See!

Keith are you talking about Piandar River? Some accounts refer to it as a creek and other a river. I also have a bunch of stuff "Somewhere" about General Ironside. I will see if I can find your Reginald George Lockyer MAJOR anywhere.

I have a listing from The Department of National Defence of all the recipients (Canadian Of Course) of the St. George's Medal, The St. George's Cross, The Order of St. Anne, and the Order of Stanislas. As well as the Order of St. Apostolic and Grand Duke Vladimir.(Whatever that is, never heard of it)

I'll be happy to look anyone up!

Cheers

Carrie

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pvq2015

This is the epitaph on the grave of RGL Major. It is in Deansgrange Cemetery.Dublin

"No.1158

Lt. Col. REGINALD GEORGE LOCKYER MAJOR | Late of the Indian Army | Born
15.2.1889 Died 23.11.1973 | and in remembrance of his beloved | PILAR |
12.2.1972 | Both lovingly remembered by | ANN, DION and the children."I am assisting in the research for service personnel who served in India and are buried in Deansgrange Cemetery. 

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