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john-g

North Russian campaign 1919

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john-g

Hi,

Does any one have any information any British flying units that fought in the North Russian campaign in 1919?

I am researching Norman Samuel Taylor who was killed in August 1919 and buried at a place called Koivisto which is probably in what is now know as Finland, but there are several places with this name. Any help appreciated.

John_g

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Dolphin

John

I think that the Koivisto aerodrome was in [now] Lithuania. There's a photograph of 2F.1 Ships' Camel N6616, a Farman and a SPAD VII, all in Estonian markings, there in Sturtivant and Page's The Camel File.

Is the N S Taylor you're researching the Lt N S Taylor who flew in No 66 Sqn? Would he have been with Syren Force RAF when he was killed?

Regards

Gareth

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Borys

Ahoj!

Koivisto can't be in Lithuania. In Lithuanian all place names words end with an "s".

Judging by the looks of the name, the place should be in Findland or Estonia.

Borys

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Dolphin

Boris

Thank you. It looks like the caption in the book must be wrong.

As the aircraft in the photograph were Estonian, then Estonia is the more likely location. I've now found mention of Koivisto in Geoffrey Bennett's Freeing the Baltic, which says that it was a 300 yard strip cleared from forest and granite rocks, and that it was 15 minutes' flying time from the Bolshevik base at Kronstadt, which puts it in Estonia or perhaps in Russia itself.

Regards

Gareth

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Borys

Ahoj!

I found menton of Viipuri-Koivisto, which is interesting. As we all know, Viipuri is Finnish for Vyborg. And Vyborg is spitting distance from Kronstadt. So maybe there?

http://kotisivu.mtv3.fi/skoiv/Avhist/Bremer_eng2.pdf

Borys

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MartH

Morning

As you said at least two places called that now in Finland.

Interestingly Koivisto that normally gets a mention is in the southern Baltic near Viborg, an Isalnd in the south.

Anymore info, and I could ask my mum (she was born in Finland)

Regards

Mart

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Borys

Ahoj!

"Interestingly Koivisto that normally gets a mention is in the southern Baltic near Viborg, an Isalnd in the south."

I'm afraid you mixed up something :). Viborg is not in the southern Baltic. But maybe it was supposed to be IN THE SOUTH which, from a Finn's viewpoint, is correct?

Borys

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Dolphin

Borys

I've had another look at Freeing the Baltic, and noticed something I missed on my first look. "Fortunately the Vindictive suffered no appreciable damage [from a grounding] and was able to proceed to Biorko [Finland] where [Admiral] Cowan had already started preparations for her aircraft, and his own flagship's Camel, to work from extemporised shore bases, a 300 yard strip for wheeled aircraft . . . at Koivisto, and seaplane moorings laid off Sidinsari." This activity seems to have been in the first half of July 1919.

So, contrary to my earlier statement, it seems certain that Koivisto is/was in Finland. Perhaps the British used a former German aerodrome.

Would the aerodrome have been used by the Estonians, as indicated in The Camel File? According to the book, Ships' Camel N6616 arrived at Biorko on 20 July 1919 from HMS Vindictive and was flown by Capt Claude Emery, who served in Estonia until 1926. It was photographed at Lasnamagi in Estonian markings and later served at Koivisto.

Regards

Gareth

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MartH

Hello

Vyborg is now in Russia, on the the Gulf of Finland, Koivisto was on one of the Islands outside it, and was know as a "Fortress Island". There was fighting there in the Winter War and Continuation war. I was using the word Southern to differentiate from operations in the North around Murmansk, as the Finns do. It was in Finland till the Winter War in the Second World War.

More importantly it was the area of Admiral Cowan's Operation Kronstadt on 18 August. Some of the dead from this raid where buried in Koivisto Cemetery, Captain A Dayrell-Reed CWGC Record, as per Agars's Footprints in the Sea, page 137, on the day after the raid, 19th August. Taylor died on the 13/08/1919. H.M.S Vindictive had arrived in Bjorko, in July, so I suspect that he might have been killed in the reconnaissance, but can't find any mention of air rec causalities, (but daily fights were carried out), both in Agar's book or Naval Policy between the wars. I have both Bennetts work and Agars' other: Baltic Episode, and will look later. Bombing operations commenced on the 30th July against Krondstadt, and I think reconnaissance before that. On the 13th I think Agar was away on a secret mission, so it might not be in the book. Was Taylor on H.M.S Vindictive?

Regards

Mart

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Martin Bennitt

I can also recommend a book called "The Day We Almost Bombed Moscow : The Allied War in Russia, 1918-1920."

Dunno if it's still in print, but you can get it on Abebooks for not very much.

cheers Martin B

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MartH

Hello

Just found another from H.M.S Vindictive UK Memorial and CWGC Ref

Leading Aircraftman Charles Henry England killed 22/07/1919, Kovisto too. So casualties were sustained before August, and if from air operations over Kronstadt they got them back.

Have got the Finnish Official History of operations between the wars from Finland, will check later. Have checked the UK Official:|The evacuation of Northern Russian- nothing,

Regards

Mart

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john-g

Hi guys,

thanks to one and all for their input. Yes this is the NS Taylor who served with 66 Squadron. According to the CWCG he was with 66 at the time of his death, but as the squadron had returned to the UK by 10/3/19 and was disbanded in the UK on or abouts 25/10/19. I contacted the CWGC to ask Where Koivisto was , they have no record of the location of the cemetery where Taylor was buried.

A search on Multimap.com came up with about 12 locations for Koivisto in Finland.

Thanks for all your help, if I find any more out I will get back to the forum.

John

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MartH

Hello

It's no longer in Finland, its in Russia, this is the church link to photo of church and a map Link to map . The map shows what was ceded in 1944.

I spoke to my mother, she had been to Viborg before the 2nd World War, but not there, my grandfather had and we think it was one of the places he evacuated in 1944 with the ferries he requisitioned off his own bat.

There are photos of Finnish graves in the cemetery, I checked the Finnish Official, nothing but will look at other Finnish books later.

There are also two spelling of Kovisto and Koivisto, E. Wihtol, a retired Naval Commodore is an expert in Finland on the attack and will know, I think has visited there, but I can't find his email address.

Regards

Mart

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john-g

MartH

Thanks for your research, but before I take a few days holiday and try and visit the location I actually need to know that this is the correct location, as I said before there are quite a few places in Finland using the name, could there be others in modern Russia? If your contact could show that there were British service men buried in the cemetery that would be useful.

John_g

MartH

Thanks for your research, but before I take a few days holiday and try and visit the location I actually need to know that this is the correct location, as I said before there are quite a few places in Finland using the name, could there be others in modern Russia? If your contact could show that there were British service men buried in the cemetery that would be useful.

John_g

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MartH

Hello John_g

Can't find Erik's email address, will get my mum to ask my aunt in Finland, he was a leading light of the Jaeger association in Finland, last heard of him at a Jaeger discussion two years ago on Finnish Independence day in Helsinki. He's a real expert on this, he once gave me a drunken lecture on a tour in Hamburg about it!

The place I'm indicating is opposite Bijko Sound where HMS Vindictive was moored, and is now in Russia, which would explain the loss of the Cemetery, have yet to go through the 11 volumes of the Finnish Official History of the Continuation War, for other photos. There were some savage battles here, then, hope there are some photos from 1944.

This land was ceded to Russia partly as a result of the British attacks, its less than 30 miles to Kronstadt, and the Russians did not like the Finns letting the attack come from their territory. Hence the cemetery being lost.

So you could either fly into St Petersburg or Helsinki, drive to Viborg or train it, or better still take a stopping ferry from Kronstadt, which drops people off at their summer holiday homes.

The place is now called Primorsk, Leningrad Oblast, the church is very famous Modern Photo of Church in Russia, and the church surviving, suggests the cemetery did.

Other places were named Kovisto because when people fled in 1944, they founded new communities in Finland named after their old towns.

Will do some more thinking,

Regards

Mart

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august g blume

I am working on a chronology project that covers the Allied Intervention in the Baltic. In your exchanges I found two names that were new to me. N.S. Taylor and C.H. England. I added them to the name file. It was stated that pilot Lt. N.S. Taylor was "killed" on 13 August 1919. Does anyone know the cause or what type aircraft he flew??? Was he alone??? I have no record of a Red Air Fleet claim that day.

With regard to leading Aircraftsman C.H. England it was stated that he was "killed" on 22 July 1919. No cause was stated. Any additional details on both men would be most appreciated.

The land airfield (300 yard airstrip) at Koivisto on the (then) Finnish coast was located 42 km almost due south of Viipuri. Before the British arrived it had used by the White Finns as an air base. Bjorko was an inlet near Koivisto where HMS Vindictive arrived on 20 July 1919 to disembark land aircraft and set up seaplane moorings at Sidinsari. She remained at Bjorko until 31 August when she temporarily returned to Britain. On 8 September HMS Furious arrived at Copenhagen with aircraft and crews. On the 9th HMS Vidictive picked up these aircraft and crews and left for Bjorko, where she arrived on the 11th. Vindictive made other such trips. On 25 November 1919 the Royal Navy evacuated the land airfield and seaplane base at Bjorko Sound, but seaplanes from Vindictive continued patrols until 11 December when Kronshtadt was ice bound.

I have a Red Air Fleet report that on 26 August 1919 a Short 184 from Bjorko was shot down at Kronshtadt by artillery and that the aircraft fell into the sea. The pilot drowned and the observer was captured. Does anyone know the name and rank of the pilot and the name and rank of the observer???

Another Red Air Fleet report of 17 September 1919 stated that their ground fire shot down or damaged three British aircraft during a raid on Kronshtadt. I would like to verify details and names and fates of crews if possible.

Another Red Air Fleet report of 14 October 1919 stated that the British lost two aircraft during attacks on Krasnaya Gorka. One Sopwith 2F1 Camel whose pilot was killed. One Short 184 was lost but the crew were picked up by an Estonian destroyer. Any details on names would be helpful.

On 26 October 1919 the Reds shot down another British seaplane off Kronshtadt with the crew of two being made prisoner. Any details on names appreciated.

On 30 October 1919 the British lost a Sopwith 2F1 camel during an attack on a Red balloon. The Camel fell in the sea near Krasnaya Gorka. Most grateful for any help on name and fate of the pilot.

The Red balloon observer V. Konokotin of the 21st VO was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for his courageous action.

Best regards, agblume

Please visit my website www.Warchron.com which is about Russia in WWI and Civil War periods.

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MartH

Hello,

I can recall going to an exhibition in the 1970's with my grandfather at the Military Museum in Helsinki, that had photo's of the British Forces. He had contact with the British forces personally and Agar, having learnt English in Germany with the Jaegers (see other post of mine), and they might respond to some questions linked to Jaegers in Finland, I'll email them on Monday.

Regards

Mart

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MartH

Greetings,

Done some more research with reference to Cowan's Force.

Do you know about Portsmouth Baltic memorial, that mentions the 4 RAF dead, but have not been transcribed to the web site.

Found the following casualties on the CWCG website relevant to all of this, have discounted to the forces half way up Finland.

Pilot Officer Fred Cardwell, H.M.S. Vindictive, 25/10/1919, place of burial not mentioned,

Link to CWGC ref.

Lieutenant F Dawson DFC, 17/09/1919, Buried Koivisto General Cemetery.

Link to CWGC ref.

Captain J M D'Arcy-Levy, 10/08/1919, place of burial not mentioned.

Link to CWGC ref.

Stoker 1st Class Stoker 1st Class Elliott, 03/09/1919,H.M.S. Verulam. Buried Styrsudd Point Cemetery.

Link to CWGC ref.

Second Lieutenant J Gondre, 20/07/1919, 48th Sqdn. place of burial not mentioned.

Link to CWGC ref.

Sick Berth Attendant T H Handel, 04/10/1919, H.M.H.S. Berbice, Buried Koivisto General Cemetery.

Link to CWGC ref.

Sub-Lieutenant O P Powell, 03/09/1919, H.M.S. Verulam. Buried Styrsudd Point Cemetery.

Link to CWGC ref.

Lieutenant N S Taylor, 13/08/1919, 66th Sqdn. 14th Wing, Buried Koivisto General Cemetery.

Link to CWGC ref.

Lieutenant F J Unwin, Royal Air Force, 17/09/1919, H.M.S. Vindictive, place of burial not mentioned.

Link to CWGC ref.

Styrsudd too is on the coast the old border between Finland and Russia.

So why are some pilots HMS Vindictive, some 48 and 66 Squad?

So the raid was the 18th August. Was Captain J M D'Arcy-Levy killed on reconnaissance, hence no burial place?

Two tie up with your dates agblume- 17/09/1919.

This is getting more interesting, over to someone else.

Regards

Mart

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MartH

Hello

Me again, I've found my copy of Baltic Episode by Captain Augustus Agar V.C.

He states that July 30th 1919 was the first time aircraft flew over Kronstadt, and did not suffer any casualties.

On the 19th Lieutenant Hungell force landed on the sea and was lost. He's not on the CWGC site.

On the 13th August the first British air casualty was Lieutenant Taylor who crashed taking off from the aerodrome.

Regards

Mart

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John Gilinsky

I think this will clear up and help you:

"Koivisto Cemetery" (used to be Finland but NOW part of Russia)

The town is called Bjorko in Swedish and is situated on the Baltic coast between Viborg and Kronstadt. This cemetery has the graves of 1 officer and 2 men of the Royal Navy and 2 officers and 1 man from the RAF who died or were killed in the North Russian operations during 1919.

The two RAF officer's graves are:

a) Dawson, Lieutenant Samuel DFC RAF 17 . 9 . 1919

B) TAYLOR, Lieutenant Norman Samuel 66 Squadron, RAF 14 Wing RAF crashed 13 . 8. 1919

Source: Brough, Ray "White Russian Awards to British and Commonwealth Servicement During The Allied Intervention In Russia 1918-1920 With a Roll of Honour"

London: Tom Donovan Publishing Ltd. 1991 174 pages

ISBN 1 - 871085 - 08 - X

Koivisto Cemetery listings are on page 132

John

:)

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john-g

John Gilinsky

Thanks John, excellent news about the location and the book, which I have searched for and not been able to locate, any chance of a scan or pdf of the relevant pages?

John

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MartH

Hi John

Finland is legally bilingual, using Swedish and Finnish, the coastal regions used to be the areas where Swedish was the mother tongue, but I'm not this sure being so close to Russia.

The correct spelling in Swedish is Björkö, in Finnish its Koivisto. Similarly Bjorko Sound is in Swedish Björkösund and in Finish its Koiviston salmi.

Be very careful of using Björkö to locate a place, because it means Birch Island in Swedish and in Finland and Sweden there are many Birch Islands. Also although in many cases the Swedish and Finnish are translations, they are not all the time. Koivisto means birch copice, not island...

Primorsk in the Leningrad Oblast, Russia, is what it normally goes under, differentiating it from other Primorsk's in what was formerly East Prussia.

Primorsk is the site of the largest Baltic Sea oil terminal. It the terminus of the Baltic Pipeline System for oil.

There was some savage fighting there in the Second World War and the Church has lost its old bell tower, the Finns even gave a campaign medal called the Koivisto Cross. There are also some pictures on the web of the Finnish army burials.

You are assuming the graves have survived. I would have concrete proof before going, the Finns look after foreign soldiers graves, I know the ones from the Baltic Campaign in Drumso are still looked after, having visited them many times walking round the Island. But in Russia after the Great Patriotic War....Do you realise how viscous the fighting was? The Russians shelled the refugee columns from Karelia the hour before the cease fire in 1944.

Have you checked with Brian or Tom, one has an interest in this area.

Regards

mart

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john-g

MartH

Thanks for the history and warnings. The input into this thread has been very illuminating, the expertise that is out there is very enlightening.

I do not intend to just turn up, but I would like to try and find a local person or organisation that might be able to tell me if the graves are still there. I hope they are the men deserved to be honoured and remembered even if at one time they were foes.

John_g

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john-g

Agblume

Thanks for the information. I hope to have some information about Taylor's death in the next few days and will post when it arrives.

MartH

The questions with regard to 48 & 66 squadrons is very interesting. Taylor had served with 66 Squadron between 29/12/17 and 9/6/18. The squadron at the time of his death was at Leighterton and would be disbanded a few months later in October 1919. The details published by the CWGC only applies to his time with 66 when they were part of 14 Wing. When the squadron was at Leighterton it came under 28 Wing. 14 Wing was disbanded at Blandford on 14/3/1919. This subject itself need further research.

john_g

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