Topping Talk in Bath 29 July

On Monday 29 July, I will be giving a book talk at the exquisite Topping Bookshop in Bath.  Doors open at 7.45 pm at The Bookshop, The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LS.  Early bird tickets, which are redeemable against a signed copy of the book, are available on their website:

https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/events/bath/rupert-wieloch-on-churchills-abandoned-prisoners-the-british-soldiers-deceived-in-the-russian-civil-war/

Alternatively, I will be telling audiences about how the last British prisoners of World War I coped in their lice-infested cells at the War and Peace Festival in Kent during the previous week (23-27 July) and speaking at the National Army Museum in London, on Friday 9 August at 11.30 am.

https://warandpeacerevival.com/authors-pavilion/

https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/churchills-abandoned-prisoners

Typhus Louse Poster

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Tajoura Air Strike

The strike on the Detention Centre today was not the first air attack at the Tajoura base.  In 2011, the Libyan Navy kept all its stores in the large hangars, which were completely destroyed in an Air Strike.

Attacks on civilians are heinous crimes, but don’t be deceived by old photographs doctored by the media.

11b Tejura Logistics Base

Treaty of Versailles Centenary Anniversary 28 June 1919…

…But there was no fanfare in Siberia when it was signed.  The official diary of the British Military Mission fails to mention the event, merely recording that Private Lucas was suffering from venereal disease and the US hospital was unwilling to help.

Four days earlier, Emerson had joined the other British Army volunteers in Omsk, to help repair and maintain the Trans-Siberian Railway and was pleased to receive an additional half a crown a day “in view of the extra hardship and inconvenience of operations in Siberia”.  

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June 1919, The Pivotal Month In The Russian Civil War.

After the Red Army recaptured Ufa on the River Kama, the fight moved to the passes over the Ural Mountains and a stalemate ensued.  Trotsky intended to switch to the south, but was over-ruled by Lenin in Moscow.

Meanwhile, Emerson MacMillan arrived at Omsk six days before the Treaty of Versailles was signed and started work sorting out the chaos on the railway network.

He met the Cossack who took command of the train derailment at Vladivostok and discovered he was Lieutenant General Kortzov, the former Chief of Intelligence in the Caucasus, who had been educated by an English nanny as a child.

Emerson wrote in a letter home on Sunday 22 June 1919:  “The General spoke in very complementary terms of the help Great Britain is giving Russia  in her efforts to restore order… I feel sure that Winston should like to have him speak in the House in support of his Russian policy”.Omsk (640x427)

The British Army’s Accommodation in Omsk in 1919

On 8th June 1919…

Emerson MacMillan boarded the Express de Lux in Vladivostok on its ten-day journey to join the British Railway Mission at Omsk.  His train was ambushed on a horse shoe bend above a 40 foot precipice and he was lucky to get out alive as the “sleeping cars were held up by faith alone”.

A grizzled old Cossack general asked him to guard the flank while he wired for assistance and Emerson patrolled the railway track with a French major before an American company took over the guard a few hours later.

He wrote about this episode in one of 21 unpublished letters, which form the spine of Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners: The British Soldiers Deceived in the Russian Civil War.

IMG_2741British Soldiers On The Trans-Siberian Railway in 1919

On 17th May 1919…

…the legendary future general, Brian Horrocks, arrived in Omsk with eight other young captains, who were part of Churchill’s volunteers to help Admiral Kolchak defeat the Red Army.  Among the group was his best friend, who would care for Horrocks when he succumbed to epidemic typhus in Krasnoyarsk and the British spy with Admiral Kolchak at his execution, who wrote the four page secret report presented to the British Cabinet by Winston Churchill in June 1920.  For further details, see Chapter 9 of Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.

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Winston Churchill in May 1919…

…told the Prime Minister “we have a tremendous chance of securing the future of Russia as a civilised democratic state”.

At the time, Captain Tom Jameson was earning the DSO for his outstanding leadership fighting the Bolsheviks on the River Kama, the Hampshire Regiment was forming the Anglo-Russian Brigade in Ekaterinburg and tens of thousands of tons of British arms and supplies were en route to Admiral Kolchak’s White Army along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

For Winston Churchill, the key to success was for President Woodrow Wilson to change his policy of impartiality and he managed to get the State Department to send the American military commander on a fact finding mission to Omsk.  Read what happened when General Graves took his Cadillac to the front line in Chapter 6 of Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.

Unveiling Churchill Secrets in London and Essex

RUSI May 2019.jpgNext week, I will be giving talks at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Wednesday 8 May and at Hart’s Bookshop in Saffron Walden on Thursday 9 May.  Tickets for the Hart’s talk are available over the telephone (01799 524 552), or on their website at:

An author talk with Rupert Wieloch – ‘Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners: The British Soldiers Deceived in the Russian Civil War’

Imperial War Museum

On Friday 3 May, I am returning to the Imperial War Museum to sign books and speak to visitors in the bookshop from 11 a.m.

The IWM has an excellent archive of photographs and documents from the British military campaign in Russia during World War One. I have used some of their material in Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners, including the Jack Papers, which cover the work of Brigadier Archie Jack CB, CMG, CBE.  He commanded the British Railway Mission in Siberia and wrote a key letter to Major General Sir Alfred Knox, which led to the soldiers being abandoned in Omsk.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/meet-the-author-rupert-wieloch-0