One hundred years ago, Leonard Vining, leading an “abandoned” group of refugees in their attempt to escape from the Red Army, wrote in his diary:
December 12th. We moved on a few more versts. Hear that Novo-Nik has fallen. The Russian officer fairly excited, came and told us that within the next 24 hours the Reds will cut in at Oiash; if that happens we have to take to the road. It would not be very much to worry about if we had not women and children with us. So many claimed British nationality at the last moment, and we were compelled to evacuate them.
Poor old Bates could not find his wagon with his child and all worldly possessions in it. From Novo-Nik he went back to Barabinski to hunt for his wagon. It is like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Mrs Bates is with us and spends most of her time crying…it is as bad a case as could be.