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Alan Greveson's World War 1 Forum (Page 24)

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Posted by: Gerry Ryder {Email left}
Location: Rainhill Prescot
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 4:14 PM
Hi Alan,

I work with Rainhill Civic Society developing their website www.rainhillremembers.uk

We have some limited information about a surviving soldier Kenneth Lyon - see below. We have recently been informed however that Kenneth had a brother Maurice born in Rainhill in 1887 who was a Major in the RAF? and received the DSC. I would be very grateful if you could provide any more information on either Kenneth or Maurice.

Thanks

Gerry

Kenneth was born in Rainhill.

Little is known about the wartime service of Captain Kenneth Lyon except that he was a Captain in the Royal Artillery.

After the war, he became the Master of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers
of London (links to local Glass Industries) and had many glass related awards.

In later life he received a CB and an OBE. He became private secretary to the Secretary of State during WWII, playing an important role in the war and wrote a biography of Lord Derby including the "Derby scheme for PALS regiments".
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 8:51 PM

Dear Gerry,
William and Jessie Eleanor Lyon had two sons. They were Kenneth, born at Rainhill on 7th February 1886 and Maurice, born at Rainhill on 14th July 1887. William Lyon, born at St Helens in 1862, was a glass bottle importer and merchant.
Kenneth Lyon attended Birkenhead School and Merton College, Oxford, from 1904 to 1908. He joined the Civil Service in 1909 as a higher division clerk at the War Office. He was recorded in the 1911 census living with his parents who had moved to Edenbridge, Kent. In 1913, Kenneth married Lucy Geden at Kensington by whom he had one daughter. Lucy died in 1924 and Kenneth married a second time in 1929. His second wife was Sybil Dorothy, the youngest daughter of the Reverend W. Done Bushell of Harrow School. From 1912 to 1916 Kenneth served as private secretary to the Adjutant General at the War Office but he was called up for active service in 1916.
Kenneth served initially in the junior ranks of the Royal Horse Artillery with the regimental number 130726 and from June 1916 attended an Officer Cadet Unit, being commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery as a second-Lieutenant on 8th October 1916. He served with 13th Brigade Royal Field Artillery until the end of the war when he was awarded the military O.B.E. and appointed a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour in 1921. 13th Brigade RFA came under the command of the 7th (Meerut) Division of the Indian Army. It served with the Division in France, Mesopotamia and Palestine. On 3rd January 1917 Kenneth was promoted to Lieutenant whilst holding the post of adjutant. In May 1918 he was promoted to acting Captain whilst serving as a Staff Captain with a headquarters Unit. He relinquished the rank of temporary Captain in January 1919. He qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was Mentioned in Despatches. Fuller details of his service would be recorded in his service record. His service record might still be held by the M.O.D..
After the First World War from 1921 to 1924 Kenneth was appointed Private Secretary to successive Secretaries of State for War: The Right Hon. Sir L. Worthington-Evans; The Right Hon. the Earl of Derby, The Right Hon. Stephen Walsh. He became Assistant Secretary at the War Office, Whitehall, from 1924 to 1936; and served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State, at the War Office from 1936 to 1946 including the whole of the Second World War. He served as a member of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Disarmament Conference, in Geneva, in 1932. He was a Freeman of the City of London and Master of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers, 1951–52. He was awarded the Coronation Medals of 1911 and 1937; the Silver Jubilee Medal, 1935; and the Defence Medal in the Second World War. He was made CBE in 1924 and CB in 1938. Kenneth Lyon died in Norfolk on 3rd August 1956.

Maurice Lyon was born on 14th July 1887 at Rainhill. Prior to the war he was employed as an architect’s assistant, boarding at a house in a village called Wilpshire near Blackburn. Maurice later became associated with the Lanchester, Stewart and Rickard architectural practice and the Liverpool School of Architecture. After war-time service in Cairo he returned there to practice his profession and is noted for designing the Egyptian State Telegraph Building. During the war he had the unusual task of being a balloon observer in Mesopotamia, nick-named a “balloonatic” because of the dangerous nature of the job.
Maurice Lyon initially served as an Able-Seaman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve with the regimental number London AA/1028. His war-time service began in March 1915 at the training establishment H.M.S. President; then with the armoured cruiser H.M.S. Bacchante which provided naval gunfire in support of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. After passing through the naval base “Europa I” in Mudros, which was the jumping off point for Gallipoli, Maurice was commissioned as a probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service in October 1915. He attended the Balloon Section Training School at R.N.A.S. Roehampton where he was classed as an “efficient officer; a careful and accurate spotter”. He ended his probationary period and was confirmed in the rank of Flight Sub-Lieutenant. He was posted to No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. There he was a skilled artillery spotter working from the basket suspended beneath a hydrogen balloon alongside a colleague who was the commander. He spotted for the land batteries of the Royal Artillery and the gunboats on the River Tigris below. For an excellent article on this task see:
http://blog.maryevans.com/2013/05/kite-balloonatics-under-attack.html
In July 1917 Maurice was commended and Mention in Despatches as “The senior observer who was not only an excellent observer but at all times set a splendid example by his zeal, good work efficiency and tact”.. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1917 “For distinguished services with No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia from August 1916 to February 1917” which followed the M I D citation. He was again Mentioned in 1919.
He left Mesopotamia for a while and served over the English Channel in 1917 possibly in Caquot Balloons, before he was posted to Malta as a Temporary Acting Flight Commander in early 1918. In April 1918 the R.N.A.S. became part of the R.A.F. and Maurice served as a Captain and acting Major in the R.A.F.. From 27th November 1918 he served with No 2 Balloon Base at Cairo, Egypt, until he was posted on the unemployed list on 3rd April 1919. After the war he worked as an architect in Egypt and was awarded the Egyptian Order of the Nile in June 1924 “For valuable services rendered to the King of Egypt.” This was in connection with his role as an architect notably credited with the Egyptian State Telegraph Office. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He later qualified for the Defence Medal for service in 1939-45. He died at Kingston-upon-Thames in 1970.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Gerry Ryder
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 10:22 PM

Good grief Alan, I just don't know how you do it! The amount of detail you unearth in such short space of time is incredible. You must have access to some very impressive data sources. I cannot thank you enough for all your help. You are a genius!

Regards

Gerry Ryder
Rainhill Civic Society

Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Wednesday 18th November 2015 at 7:49 PM
Alan, would appreciate any information on Pte 8469 William Brady,Loyal North Lancs Regiment,believed to have been a POW
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 20th November 2015 at 9:43 PM

Dear Brian,

William Brady stated he was born on 6th October 1885 at Rainhill, Liverpool, the son of William and Helen Brady. He enlisted in the army on 16th November 1905 at Warrington and joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the regimental number 8469. He served in South Africa in peacetime; Mauritius 1907-1909; India (Poona and Bangalore) 1909 – 1912. After seven years with the colours he transferred to the Army Reserve for five years. At the outbreak of war he was re-called from the Reserve and posted to the 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The Battalion was among the first to arrive in France where they landed at Havre on 13th August 1914. In 1914 they took part in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, and the First Battle of Ypres.

The 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was tasked with taking enemy trenches in the village of Gheluvelt in the Ypres sector during the last days of the fighting for Ypres in October 1914. They moved forward, northwards, on the 30th October 1914 and had taken a line of enemy trenches by dawn on the 31st October. At 7 a.m. on the 31st the Germans attacked and took a ridge to the south of the village, breaking the British line, as the British moved back to a wood at Hooge where they re-formed. At 9 p.m. the Loyal North Lancashires went forward again and with bayonets fixed they made a successful attack through the woods on the German positions inflicting heavy losses. However, the Loyal North Lancashires had more than 400 men posted missing that day. Among them was Private William Brady. The Battalion was relieved on November 1st and retired to their dug outs in Chateau Wood. Gheluvelt was eventually recovered for the British. William Brady was taken prisoner by the Germans and was taken to Gustrow prisoner of war camp in the Rostock district. On 26th June 1915 he was recorded as being at a work camp at Tingleff, on the Danish border, which was a sub-camp of Gustrow. He remained a prisoner for four years and 62 days, being re-patriated via Leith on 2nd January 1919. He was discharged to the Reserve on 24th April 1919. William Brady qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His address after the war was 41 Grant Street, St Helens, Lancashire.

With kind regards,

Alan
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 6:34 PM

Alan,thank you for your very comprehensive information on Wm.Brady. As you are aware Rainhill Civic Society have recently launched a WW1 web site and in recognition of information you have provided us with during our research we have given you an acknowledgement.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 8:54 PM

Dear Brian,
It is a pleasure to help. Thank you for the entry on the acknowledgements page of the rainhillremebers.uk website - and for spelling my name correctly, which is a rarity!
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Pete {Email left}
Location: Taunton
Date: Wednesday 18th November 2015 at 4:16 PM
Good Afternoon Alan,

I have researched my grandfathers army infantry record to try to find out where he served between 1914-1918. His medal record indicates that he was awarded the British medal & the Victory medal but it also shows that he served with the West Yorkshire Regiment as a private (24900) and then underneath this entry shows he was also in the South Lancashire Regiment (63444).
Is there any logical explanation for this because in order to find out where he fought you look where the regiment fought, as there are two regiments shown, I do not know how long he served with either and more importantly, when?

Are you able to offer any assistance please?

Thank You

Pete
Taunton, Somerset
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 18th November 2015 at 9:58 PM

Dear Pete,
Unfortunately, it is not possible to suggest a man’s service without his individual service record from the war; and that for Thomas Gannon has not survived. It is not possible to search by a regiment’s history because each regiment had many dozens of battalions and it is necessary to know in which specific battalion a man served; the dates he served and his role within the battalion. The West Yorkshire Regiment raised 35 battalions during the Great War; the South Lancashire Regiment, twenty-one battalions. The medal rolls index-cards were created after the war had ended and they recorded only a man’s entitlement to campaign medals and are not a record of his service. They show the regiments in the order in which the man served: in this case, West Yorkshire then South Lancashire.
There is some evidence to be drawn from the medal records but that evidence is not conclusive and it has to remain speculative.
It was common practice for a man to serve in more than one battalion or regiment, being posted either on mobilization; on arrival in a theatre of war; being wounded and returning to the Front; possessing a particular skill or profession; in the “interests of the service”; or during the Army reforms of February 1918 when many battalions were disbanded. For example, a recruit posted to France after basic training as part of a draft of casualty replacements to a battalion already at the Front would have to pass through a base depot at the French coast. These depots were the pack from which the cards were dealt, and if the original battalion to which the man had been posted was by then up to strength, the recruit would be posted to another battalion requiring to be brought up to fighting strength. On paper the recruit would have served in one battalion and then another; while in practice he never saw the first battalion. A wounded soldier returning overseas from the U.K. after his recovery, would go through the same base-depot process and might not meet up again with his former colleagues. A numbered battalion had a war-time history of its own, but the men that made up the battalion were like the water in a river: the river was permanently named but the water constantly changing. Very few soldiers served from 1914 to 1918 in the same battalion. The original British Expeditionary Force in France, “out since Mons”, was largely lost; the Kitchener volunteers went abroad in 1915 and the conscripts served after March 1916. The final push was achieved by a large number of teenagers conscripted as late as 1918.
The actual army service medal rolls (J/1/101B22 dated 1921) recorded Thomas Gannon served in the 1st/8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (24900) (The Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment (PWO); then 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (24900) and then an unidentified battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment (63444). Both those five-digit regimental numbers were regimental numbers allotted for war-time service only, indicating he joined up during the war; whereas the 8th Battalion PWO was a pre-war Territorial battalion, known as the Leeds Rifles, whose original members had four or six-digit numbers. So Thomas was a war-time recruit, perhaps conscripted in 1916 or later, who was posted to the 1st/8th Battalion certainly some months after the Battalion had left for France in April 1915.
Depending on his age Thomas might have undergone his training with a home-service battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment before his first posting to one of their frontline battalions or he might have undergone general service training with a young soldiers’ battalion of the Training Reserve before being informed he was to join the West Yorkshire Regiment. In theory, he would have undertaken at least three months’ basic training and perhaps some U.K. service in a garrison or on coastal defence waiting for a posting overseas.
Thomas Gannon qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915, he did not serve overseas until some date after 1st January 1916. Both the 1st/8th and the 12th Battalions West Yorkshire Regiment had been in France for some months by January 1916, so Thomas Gannon was obviously part of a draft of later reinforcements. If he became an 18-year-old during the war he might have been conscripted when he reached eighteen, as late as 1918. The 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment was disbanded on 17th February 1918 and the men serving in it were sent to form the 10th Entrenching Battalion (along with the disbanded 8th East Yorkshire Regiment). The entrenching battalion was a pool of men from which soldiers would have been eventually dispersed to units requiring casualty replacements. When the War Office instructed the Army to reduce the number of its battalions in February 1918, some entrenching battalions were created as holding units in France and were so named to bamboozle the civil servants in Whitehall. The entrenching battalions were used originally to dig trenches but they were disbanded and dispersed by 1917 and so could be re-created in 1918 as if they had existed continuously.
Without specific dates for postings and transfers for Thomas Gannon and knowledge of any time spent in England or in hospital it is not possible to be precise about where he actually served, other than that he was in France and Flanders for some period after January 1st 1916. The 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment served in the 9th Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Division from September 1915 to February 1918. See:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/3rd-division/
Summary: Without an individual service record it is not possible to state the service of Thomas Gannon. From the medal records, it is plausible he could have served with the 1st/8th West Yorkshire Regiment at the Front; have been wounded and then have been posted to the 12th Battalion which was disbanded in February 1918 leading to a time in the 10th Entrenching Battalion and an eventual transfer to a battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment. Or, he was sent to France destined for the 1st/8th Battalion but on arrival in France was posted to the 12th Battalion instead until that battalion was disbanded and he eventually served with the South Lancashire Regiment.
I am sorry the detail does not add to the substance.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Pete
Date: Thursday 19th November 2015 at 9:57 AM

Alan,
A massive thanks for the information you have provided above. I do know that my grandfather was indeed wounded in the great war, so as you have indicated, he may have served with the West Yorkshires when his injury was inflicted, then may have been transferred later in to the South Lancashires at a later date when he was ready to take up his service again returning to the front after some R & R. I understood from my grandmother, when she was alive, said that my grandfathers injuries were eventually a contributing factor to his death in 1933, two years after my dad was born.

Thank You very much for your all your help, my donation will be made to The Royal British Legion.

Best wishes for the festive season and New Year.

Pete
Taunton, Somerset
EX Royal Navy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 21st November 2015 at 10:58 PM

Dear Pete,
Thank you for your kind wishes and thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion, as every donation helps.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Christine Barbour Moore {Email left}
Location: Wigan
Date: Tuesday 17th November 2015 at 1:03 PM
Hi Alan
You helped me last October can you help again.
Recap.
Stanley Corsellis Randall MM - my Grandfather
12 Light Railway Coy 1917-1918 Ypres
Regiment/Service numbers 263162/219111
War diary 95/4056
W/O Class 1
Incident 30/04/18 London Gazette August 1918

Sadly killed in incident - Furlonger/Johnson and Farren
Furlonger and Farren from the 29th Light Railway Coy
and Johnson 21st Light Railway Coy

My enquiry - the incident is not recorded in 12th Light Railway
War Diary - do you think it could be recorded in the 29th and 21st
Light Railway War Diary

Problem is I can't find these diaries.

Any suggestions.

Your research and knowledge is fantastic.

Sorry if you have received my message several times -
I keep losing it off the screen.

Christine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 17th November 2015 at 3:14 PM

Dear Christine,
Not all war diaries have survived and the National Archives has no listing for the 21st and 29th Light Railway Operating Companies. The original First World War diaries were destroyed in the Second World War during the London blitz and those that have survived are copies drawn from various other departments.
The Royal Engineers’ Museum holds summaries of the war diaries of 21 Light Railway (Trains crew) from 27th March 1917 to 14th August 1917; and 29 Light Railway Operating Company from 13th March 1917 to 02 August 1917. See:
http://www.re-museum.co.uk/collections/research/
The museum holds journals that might make reference to gallantry awards.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Christine B Moore
Date: Thursday 19th November 2015 at 9:16 AM

Thank you Alan for your prompt reply.

Rather disappointed with the Royal Engineer Museum to date and also War Records -'Local War Heros'
Still waiting replies to my correspondence.,

I have put together and had printed in book form, the War Diary 12th Coy and Railhead Map relating to the War Diary, together with twenty three letters from my Grandfather in Ypres, home to Grandma.
All very loving. I have typed up the letters, then put the scanned original next to the letter.
In another book, I have put together the memoirs of both Grandparents, including where Grandpa starts his army experiences at Bordon in 1917.

I was offering copies of each book to the RE Museum and War Records about three weeks ago and am
still waiting for a definite reply.

You do a wonderful service.
Will go to British Legion and send a donation.

Kind regards

Christine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 21st November 2015 at 11:01 PM

Dear Christine,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion as every donation does help.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Ward {Email left}
Location: Hampshire
Date: Sunday 15th November 2015 at 10:20 PM
Hi I have researched my great grandads discharge papers, but there seems to be two codes one being 392(xvi)KR which I know means wounded and no longer fit for service. But underneath in the same box is w 2 (a) with either a / or tick after it.
Any ideas ?
Posted by: Harry {Email left}
Location: St Helens
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 2:18 PM
Sorry wrong email its correct now looking for any information on James Henderson No 426111
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 5:04 PM

Dear Harry,
James Henderson served as a Second Corporal in the 1st West Lancashire Division Field Company of the Royal Engineers. This was a pre-war, part-time Territorial Army company formed in 1908 from the St Helens R.E. Volunteers dating from 1867. At the outbreak of war they served with the West Lancashire Division. During the war the company was numbered as the 419th Field Company R. E. and the West Lancashire Division took the title 55th Division. See:
http://www.1914-1918.net/55div.htm
James Henderson originally had the regimental number 7146 and went to France on 3rd January 1915. In January 1917 all Territorial soldiers were re-numbered and James was allotted 426111. He qualified for the 1014-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He survived the war and was discharged on 14th January 1919. The war diaries of 419th Field Company R.E. are in two parts. The first is under their original name and dates from 1914 to 1916. It can be downloaded for a fee of GBP 3.30 from The National Archives. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352134
The second part from 1916 is under 419 Field Company. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=%22419+field+company%22
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Harry
Date: Sunday 15th November 2015 at 6:16 PM

Thanks alan my grandad will be more than happy to see this
Posted by: Gerry Ryder {Email left}
Location: Rainhill Prescot
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 12:56 PM
Hi Alan,

I am with Brian Renshall at a WW1 exhibition. A lady has come in asking about her father. We have little information but have found out the following:

Private Ernest Arthur Jones , Welsh Fusiliers, service no. 241289.

Just wondering if you can find any further info?

Regards

Gerry
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 1:29 PM

Dear Gerry,
241289 Royal Welsh Fusiliers was Edward Amos Jones of Prestatyn. Is that the man you are seeking?
Alan
Reply from: Gerry
Date: Monday 16th November 2015 at 1:23 PM

Hi Alan,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. According to Forces War Records 241289 was Private E A Jones of the RWF. It shows he suffered from malaria and was a Wesleyman which is confirmed by his daughter. However the man we are looking for is Ernest Arthur so it's a strange coincidence?

Gerry
Reply from: Jane
Date: Saturday 28th November 2015 at 11:45 PM

Edward Amos Jones mentioned above is my grandfather and he was indeed from Prestatyn

Jane
Reply from: Gerry Ryder
Date: Monday 30th November 2015 at 8:56 AM

Thanks Jane,

Looks like further research to be done!

Many thanks for the info.

Regards

Gerry
Posted by: Harry Mcintyre {Email left}
Location: St Helens
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 11:45 AM
Looking for information on clp James Henderson No 42611
Reply from: Harry Mcintyre
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015 at 11:47 AM

Sorry No should be 426111
Posted by: Taffycoop {No contact email}
Location: Livingston
Date: Thursday 12th November 2015 at 12:42 PM
When a soldier was Killed in action during WW1 his family received the kings penny,would they have also received the war & victory medals
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 12th November 2015 at 12:57 PM

Yes. They were sent to the family automatically.
Alan
Reply from: Taffycoop
Date: Sunday 15th November 2015 at 4:18 PM

Thanks Alan,My Grandfathers war & victory medals have been lost through time,I purchased these two & framed them along with the commemoration scroll,& Kings penny it looks beautiful.
My Grandfather served in MGC,and was killed in action 12th April 1918,his name was William Sherborn,it would be wonderful if the two medals would surface.
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 4:52 PM
Dear Alan, Today I have be told a story about a local sailor who in the last months of the Great War served on HMS Valiant. The story goes that Valiant sailed to Murmansk on a "covert" operation in July 1918. Do you have or do you know of anyway of verifying this voyage? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 9:34 PM

HMS Valiant was a Queen Elizabeth class warship launched in 1914. A specific voyage of HMS Valiant would be recorded in ship’s logs held at the National Archives at Kew. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_st=adv&_aq=Valiant&_cr1=ADM%2053&_dss=range&_ro=any
British naval activity at Murmansk in the First World War was no secret. British Naval officers had postings to Russia where they advised Russian naval officers. Murmansk was the major ice-free sea port for the British merchant ships supplying her ally, Russia, mainly sailing via the Norwegian Ocean around the north of Russia. Murmansk was a new port created because it would be the only ice free port left to Russia after the seizure by Germany of Libau and the ports of the southern Baltic Sea. Murmansk was connected to Petrograd (St Petersburg) by the Murman Railway a thousand miles long, built over ice.
The other northern sea port, Archangel, was frozen for eight months of the year. In 1917, 102 British merchant vessels made voyages for Murmansk and Archangel in addition to 197 British colliers carrying coal. They sailed under the protection of the Royal Navy. The British naval submarine contingent left the Baltic Sea in May 1918. In April 1918, a division of German troops had entered southern Finland which had declared itself independent of Russia at the end of 1917 and Tsar Nicholas of Russia was murdered in July 1918. This led to fears the Germans would aim for Murmansk and Petrograd and an allied Intervention in North Russia took place in order to support the Tsar’s followers, the White Russians, who were now fighting a civil war against the Bolshevik Red Russians.
In March 1918, after Russia signed a peace treaty with Germany, a small contingent of 400 British Royal Marines had landed at Murmansk to protect the port from the Germans in Finland who would have prized it as a submarine base and for its stockpiles of war materiel. These Marines were reinforced by a small expeditionary force of 600 British soldiers led by Major General Maynard who arrived with the force at Murmansk on 23rd June 1918. Allied troops were landed on the Kola Peninsula in July 1918 and were at Kem on the Murman railway by the end of July 1918. The allies at Murmansk faced threats also from the Red Russian guards who saw the British as “invaders” and newspapers around the world reported on the 25th and 26th July 1918 that Lenin considered the landing of troops at Murmansk an act of war. The Allies held the Murman railway which prevented a Bolshevik advance by rail in a land where roads were non-existent. A Russian general, General Josef Gurko, was in exile in England in 1918 and was appointed to head the allied troops at Murmansk in July 1918, with the British contingent in the whole of North Russia (Murmansk and Archangel) under the command of General Frederick Cuthbert Poole who succeeded in capturing Archangel from the Bolsheviks on August 2nd 1918. From then until the allied Armistice with Germany in November 1918, the British contingent at Murmansk and North Russia was increased by an additional 7,000 men. With the German threat removed in November 1918 it was decided to keep the allied force in North Russia to prevent Bolshevik vengeance. Sea power was enhanced in North Russia through “Operation Red Trek” commanded by Rear-Admiral Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair, who aimed also to assist Latvia and Estonia that had also declared independence from Russia. The Intervention in North Russia eventually had to be relieved by the North Russia Relief Force in 1919.
There is always room for intrigue when considering the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath, and certainly the passage of General Gurko would have been a secret, but even general shipping movements in July 1918 would have been secret under The Official Secrets Act of 1911: Section 2 - Wrongful communication, &c. of information. Lord Kitchener died in 1916 while on his way to Murmansk and Archangel when his ship, HMS Hampshire, allegedly struck a mine, although some theorists, including Lord Alfred Douglas, suggest he was done away with by a variety of conspirators including Russian communists who gave details of his ship’s passage to the German navy.
HMS Valiant was in the 5th Battle Squadron of The Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow in January 1918 and November 1918. The Grand Fleet was later based at Rosyth, with one Squadron detached to Scapa Flow for gunnery practice. By October 1918, Valiant was back at Rosyth with the 5th Battle Squadron under the command of Vice Admiral A V Leveson. For research of naval operations see:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/royal-navy-operations-first-world-war/
With kind regards,
Alan

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