Britain’s Russian fiasco: the Allied intervention in the Russian civil war

A century ago, British troops were engaged in the maelstrom of the Russian civil war. Their campaign against the Bolsheviks, writes Nick Hewitt, was a bloody debacle that enraged a restive public back home

Japanese soldiers march past White Russians and representatives from the international coalition in Vladivostok, September 1918. The Russian civil war saw soldiers from 15 nations fighting the Bolsheviks in a chaotic conflict that dragged on for years. (Image by Alamy)

Last year, the world marked the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War. But for thousands of British soldiers, the fighting went on. On 11 November 1918, Thomas Dunlop, from Newton Heath, was part of a 400-strong garrison shivering in improvised trenches around Tulgas, north Russia. As Dunlop’s comrades-in-arms on the western front laid down their weapons, the 19-year-old private in 2/10th Battalion, the Royal Scots, was in a vicious firefight with 2,500 Bolsheviks, supported by gunboats.

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