London history over 2000 years

London history over 2000 years

London County Council in the Great War 1914 - 1918

LCC index

CHAPTER XIV
British Troops in Russia.
During the war Murmansk in North Russia was greatly developed, with the help of the Allies, as a port for supplying the Russians with munitions, and, at the same time, it was connected with Petrograd by a railway some 600 miles long. In order to prevent the Germans from establishing submarine bases there and at Archangel, Allied detachments were landed in August, 1918. That at Murmansk, assisted by local levies, defeated White Finn and German detachments in several engagements, and drove them from North Karelia. The force at Archangel was also successful and advanced 200 miles up the Dwina and about 100 miles up the Vologda railway. On 18th October, our advanced troops on the Dwina were driven back, but other attacks then and early in December were beaten off with heavy loss to the enemy. In April, 1919, the Bolsheviks initiated further attacks near Archangel, and our force at Murmansk which had been unmolested for several months was also attacked. Neither attempt succeeded, but in July, some of the local levies having mutinied, the situation became so threatening that Sir Henry (afterwards Lord) Rawlinson was sent out with reinforcements. By their help the objects of the expedition were finally achieved and, as the Allied Council was opposed to further operations, Archangel was voluntarily evacuated at the end of September and Murmansk early in October.

Major A. G. Church (R.G.A., Educ), M.C., was awarded the D.S.O. and the order of St. Vladimir (with crossed swords and bow) " for conspicuous gallantry and zeal during the operations from . . . June 8th to July 26th, 1919. When the Russian infantry were driven back ... he pushed his guns up to the front line and restored the situation by his accurate shooting. ... On June 22nd under heavy shelling he kept his guns in action, silencing the enemy and causing them to move their guns."

Siberia.
Serving with the Russian army was a Czecho-Slovak Corps composed for the most part of troops who had deserted to the Russians. After peace was signed between Russia and Germany this corps determined to continue fighting for the Allies. Accordingly they proposed to make their way across Siberia to Vladivostok so that they might take ship thence for Europe. Several thousand reached that port by May, 1918, but the middle and rear of the force were drawn into conflict with local Bolsheviks along the trans-Siberian railway. By the end of October they were much exhausted, but the enemy attacks then slackened and they were able to withdraw. Their withdrawal along the railway was aided and covered by a labour battalion of the Middlesex Regiment under Lt.-Col. John Ward, M.P.


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