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Sunday, 3 May 2009
North Russian Campaign, Contents
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

North Russian Campaign

Contents
 
 
Items
 
 
The Times contemporary accounts
Emptsa, North Russia, Brief details of Emptsa, The Times, 3 September 1919
Emptsa, North Russia, Outline of situation in Russia, The Times, 5 September 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, Colonel Ward speaks on the withdrawal, The Times, 10 September 1919 

Emptsa, North Russia, Report on Fighting up and to 8 September, The Times, 11 September 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, Withdrawal Policy Statement, The Times, 12 September 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, The withdrawal of British Troops from Archangel, The Times, 29 September 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, Sullivan VC, The Times, 1 October 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, Awards for Gallantry in Russia, The Times, 6 October 1919

Emptsa, North Russia, Pearse VC, The Times, 24 October 1919 

 

Personnel

North Russian Campaign, 3153 Private Ernest Gaffey

North Russian Campaign, 61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson

 
 
 
Further Reading:
 
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920 
 
 

Citation: North Russian Campaign, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 August 2009 1:13 AM EADT
Friday, 1 May 2009
Emptsa, North Russia, August 29, 1919
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

Emptsa

North Russia, 29 August 1919

 

Map of the Northern Russian region detailing the location of the conflict.

[From: The Times, 11 September 1919, p. 10.]

 

Emptsa, a town in northern Russia about 200 kilometres south of Archangel (now Arkhangel'sk) on the railway line to Vologda, which on 29 August 1919 was the scene of an action between Bolsheviks and British troops and their White Russian allies. The British were part of a two-brigade expedition, the North Russia Relief Force, which had arrived in mid 1919 to cover the withdrawal of a detachment of advisers sent the previous year to train White Russian forces. Among its members were 100-120 ex-AIF men recruited in England and enlisted mainly in the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and the 201st Machine Gun Battalion. While these volunteers were no longer the responsibility of the Australian government, within their units they still formed a distinctive national group.

 

Three Australians sitting by a stack of shells.

 

The attack on Emptsa was undertaken to enable White forces to consolidate their positions before the final British withdrawal, and involved the Australians spearheading the assault with White Russian support. Although the Bolsheviks were taken by surprise, some put up a spirited fight before the defenders fell back across the river and demolished the steel railway bridge behind them. Over 1,000 Bolsheviks were taken prisoner during the day. A highlight of the engagement was the part played by Sergeant Samuel Pearce of the 45th Battalion, a Welsh-born Victorian, in assaulting the enemy batter position north of the town. After cutting his way through barbed-wire obstacles under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, he saw that fire from a blockhouse was harassing the advance and causing casualties. He accordingly single-handedly charged the blockhouse and killed its occupants with hand grenades, moments before being himself cut down by another enemy machine-gun. For his bravery Pearce was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross - one of only two such awards for service in northern Russia (and both of which were to ex-AIF soldiers).

 

Machine gun blockhouse manned by Australians.

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, p. 165.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

Lionel Wigmore (1963) They Dared Mightily, Canberra: Australian War Memorial.

Peter Burness, 'The Forgotten War in North Russia', Defence Force Journal, No. 22, May-June 1980.

 

Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, August 29, 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 10:11 PM EADT
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 3 September 1919
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

Emptsa

North Russia, 29 August 1919

The Times, 3 September 1919

 

The Times, 3 September 1919, p. 10.

 

The account is transcribed below.

The Times, 3 September 1919, p. 10. 

 

RUSSIAN SUCCESS AT ARCHANGEL.


The War Office yesterday issued the following communique dealing with the operations in North Russia:

ARCHANGEL FRONT. - On August 31 the Russian troops were reported to be in possession of Emptsa [Yetritsa] Village [on the Vologda railway], having beaten off repeated Bolshevist counter-attacks. Several trains have been captured by us. Many enemy wounded are reported in the village.

Murmansk FRONT. - A successful raid has been carried out on Rimkaya on the east shore I of Lake Onega, by Russian troops, assisted by the Lake Flotilla and the R.A.F. We captured five machine-guns, 300 rifles, and over 150 prisoners. Our losses were light.


Bolshevist report, Sept. 1:

In the Archangel region the enemy's fierce attacks have failed.

An enemy cruiser bombarded the locality of the mouth of the river Onega without results. Wireless Press.
 

 

Further Reading:

North Russian Campaign, Contents

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 3 September 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 10:20 PM EADT
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 5 September 1919
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

Emptsa

North Russia, 29 August 1919

The Times, 5 September 1919

 


The Times, 5 September 1919, p. 10.

 

The account is transcribed below.

The Times, 5 September 1919, p. 10

 

OUR TROOPS IN NORTH RUSSIA.

WITHDRAWAL ASSURANCE.


Although operations continue on the Archangel and Murmansk fronts - the latest communiqué records an unsuccessful attack by the Bolshevists upon our positions on the Vaga - it is authoritatively stated that there has been no alteration in the definite policy of the Government to withdraw our troops from that region before conditions render it necessary to maintain them there for another winter. A great deal, it is pointed out, depends upon circumstances as to when the actual withdrawal will take place, but this withdrawal cannot now be long delayed as the harbours will be closed at any rate during next month.

The recent operations have (it is stated) been planned and carried out with the intention of leaving the Russian population who have depended upon us for protection against the Bolshevists in as good a situation as possible, and the blows that have been delivered against the enemy have been with the object of putting it outside the realm of possibility immediately to turn upon the forces of the North Russian Government and to knock them out.

The tactics which are now being employed are considered the best for the protection of those who will be left behind. There is no doubt whatever as to the withdrawal of the British troops, 'but it is considered necessary to leave the situation there as easy as possible for the people left behind.

CONSCRIPTS LEAVE ARCHANGEL.

ARCHANGEL, Sept. 3. - All the members of the Embassies, Consulates, British and foreign, have proceeded to England to-day on the Kildonan Castle. The same vessel is also taking the last batch of conscript British troops who were here last winter. - Reuter.

BOLSHEVIST ATTACK FAILS.

The War Office issued the following communiqué yesterday:

The Bolshevists made an unsuccessful attack on our positions on the River Vaga on September 1. They are reported to have lost 15 killed and seven prisoners.

The number of Bolshevist prisoners captured since August 29 in the operations on the Vologda Railway and Seletskoe fronts now amounts to over 800.


BOLSHEVIST MILITARY REPORT, September 3:

In the inter-lake region, in the direction of Murmansk, we captured an enemy aeroplane which was obliged to land, taking the airman, an Englishman, prisoner.

In the Gulf of Finland, one of our submarines successfully discharged a torpedo at an enemy torpedo boat. Wireless Press.
 
This report has reference to the sinking of the destroyer Vittoria on August 30, and reported by the Admiralty on Monday last.

 

Further Reading:

North Russian Campaign, Contents

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 5 September 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 10:18 PM EADT
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 10 September 1919
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

Emptsa

North Russia, 29 August 1919

The Times, 10 September 1919

 


The Times, 10 September 1919, p. 12.

 

The account is transcribed below.

The Times, 10 September 1919, p. 12

 

COLONEL WARD ON RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL.

DESERTION OF OUR ALLIES "UNTHINKABLE"


The situation in Russia was discussed by Colonel John Ward, M.P., who has just returned from that country, in an interview with a Press representative.

Colonel Ward said that he had been in Siberia, and knew little or. nothing about North Russia. But it seemed to him there was need for some plain speaking about the situation in Russia as a whole.

Asked whether he disagreed with the Government's policy of the withdrawal of our troops, Colonel Ward replied :-

"Certainly, not. I have never said a word that will bear that interpretation. I am a soldier. I have nothing to do with policy in that capacity. The doctrine that soldiers may jib at carrying out a policy which they disagree with, or which they misunderstand, or of which they do not see the end, is Bolshevism, in its essence. I denounced it before the war at the Curragh. And anywhere, at any time, in any circumstances, that doctrine means the end of discipline in an army, and of ordered liberty in a State.    

" What I have said and what I will repeat is that if we desert the men in Russia whom we rallied to our standard, as much in our own interests as in the interest of Russia, our name will stink in the nostrils of every Russian who is not a Bolshevist. When we went to Russia we went to produce such conditions as should disable the Germans from transferring men to the Western front at a critical stage in the war. The war is over and we have won. Do you mean to tell me that we are now to turn to those who rallied round us and say, 'You have served our turn. We are going. We wish you luck.' It is unthinkable.
    
"The withdrawal of our troops is a matter for the Government. I have nothing to say about it. If it is wise and possible I am delighted that our boys can be brought home. But there are other kinds of support as well as the support of troops. All I say, and I know as much about the actual conditions in Russia as any Englishman is that whether it be by mere money, munitions, diplomatic influence - the method is nothing to do with me - we ought to support those who helped us. It would be black treachery to leave them to face enemies they have made for our sakes without anything more substantial than our good will."

 

 

Further Reading:

North Russian Campaign, Contents

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 10 September 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 10:16 PM EADT

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