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The Murmansk Venture

“…the help we gave fell short of that required to throttle in its infancy the noisome beast of Bolshevism.”

In March 1918, Bolshevik Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending Russia’s participation in the First World War.

Major-General Sir Charles Maynard’s task force arrived in Murmansk to defend the port in North West Russia from Germany.

But as that war drew to a close, another was beginning and Maynard’s objective changed.

Supported by small units of the RAF and Royal Navy, Maynard’s troops were to help the White Russian Army defend the area from the Red Bolshevik Army in their bitter civil war.

Exhausted, frozen, understaffed and with barely any funds, Maynard faced a challenging and doomed task.

In Murmansk, the sun does not rise for forty days of the year – over a month of total darkness.

Maynard fought on, winning territory, supporting the anti-Bolshevik movement, even sailing in person back to England to argue with the treasury.

A multinational force, Maynard’s men included Italians, Serbians and Finnish soldiers amongst the ranks of the British Soldiers.

With no facilities of off duty relaxation, tensions were high.

Trouble feeding and paying the Russian labourers led to unrest and strike action.

First published in 1928, The Murmansk Venture is a fascinating military insight into an often-overlooked and inglorious venture.

Praise for The Murmansk Venture

‘The British Commander-in-Chief gives a vivid account of the campaign and adds materially to our knowledge of this phase of the war.’ – Foreign Affairs

Sir Charles Clarkson Martin Maynard (1870-1945) commanded the British expedition to Murmansk in North West Russia. During his military service, Maynard was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

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