for more information
GAZETTE NAVAL DESPATCHES
(in edition order)
North Russian Expeditionary Force - White Sea (31063)
Caspian Sea (31590)
Baltic Sea (31856)
North Russian Expeditionary Force (31906)
North Russia in 1918
Northern Expeditionary Force (31850)
North Russia - Naval mentions
Russian Expeditionary Force
from the Scrapbook
of Yeoman of Signals George Smith
Far Eastern Waters - British armoured cruiser 'Kent' arrived at Vladivostok in Siberia
to support Allied forces
Russia - Guns and guns crews landed
from the 'Kent' at Vladivostok were by now in action far
to the west in the Urals in support of the White
21st - Bolshevik destroyer
570t, 2-11pdr, 3tt). The Bolsheviks organised a naval
force including old destroyers transferred from the
Baltic for operations on the inland Caspian Sea. In
action against an improvised British Caspian Flotilla
armed with 4in and 6in guns to the northeast off Alexandrovsk, several Russian ships
were sunk including
24th - British minesweeper
'SWORD DANCE' (1918, 290t, 1-6pdr). As Allied operations continued
against the Bolsheviks on the Dvina River, south of
Archangel, the shallow-draught 'Sword Dance' was sunk by
4th - British submarine 'L.55' (1918, 960t, 6-21in tt, 2-4in).
With the British Baltic Squadron blockading the Bolshevik
naval base of Kronstadt on Kotlin Island laying off
Petrograd, warships on both sides were lost. On the 4th
(some accounts say the 9th) 'L-55' was in action with
Russian patrols and sunk by the gunfire of destroyers
'Azard' and 'Gavriil'. She was later raised and
commissioned into the Soviet Navy as 'L-55' (above - sister boat
16th/17th - Bolshevik light
cruiser 'OLEG' (1904,
6,600t, 16-5.1in). British light forces based on the
north side of the Gulf of Finland in Finnish waters sailed
to attack Kronstadt. Evading the protecting destroyer
screen, coastal motor boat 'CMB-4' (Lt Agar) armed with a
single 14in torpedo, sank the anchored 'Oleg' during the
night of the 16th/17th, but most of her crew were saved.
'CMB-4' escaped safely under heavy fire. Lt Augustine
Agar RN was awarded the Victoria Cross.
..... the aftermath of the Russian Revolution
on the reverse
- "Group of Russian Royalist Officers took passage in HMS
Forester passing Black Sea, landed at Sverlina, Roumania. Sat.
June 21st 1919" (with thanks to
3rd - British
minesweeper 'FANDANGO' (1918, 290t, 1-6pdr). In operations on the
Dvina River, 'Fandango', sister ship of
'Sword Dance' lost a few days before, was also
mined and sunk.
16th - British fleet
sweeping sloops 'GENTIAN' and 'MYRTLE' (both 1916, 1,250t, 2-4.7in). With the
Bolshevik bases defended by dense minefields, two more
British ships were lost on mines in the Gulf of Finland.
17th/18th - Attack on Kronstadt
Naval Base - Late
on the 17th, eight British 55ft type Coastal Motor Boats
led by Cdr Claude Dobson in 'CMB-31' headed out of the
Finnish base of Bjorko Sound only 30 miles from Russia's main naval port.
Supported by RAF bombing raids, they broke into the inner harbour in the early morning. Cdr
Dobson directed the boats headed by CMB's '31', '79' and
'88'. Lt Agar VC in 'CMB-4' remained outside on guard.
As the attacks developed,
cruiser 'PAMIAT AZOVA' (1890, 6,000t) serving as submarine depot
ship 'Dvina' was hit by 'CMB-79' and sunk. In the rapidly
moving action, 'CMB-79' (1917, 11t, 1 or 2-18in torpedoes) was then
lost. The commanding officer of 'CMB-88' was killed and Lt Steele,
second-in-command took over and pressed on.
Accounts vary, but both Dobson's 'CMB-31' and Steele's
'CMB-88' appear to have made one hit each on the two
biggest ships. Dreadnought 'PETROPAVLOSK' (1914, 24,000t, 12-12in) sank in
shallow water and was salvaged later, and pre-dreadnought 'Andrei
17,400t, 4-12in) seriously damaged. The British boats
failed to hit the Russian guardship, destroyer 'Gavriil'
which sank two more of the attackers ('CMB-24' and 'CMB-62' or 'CMB-67' - accounts vary. The surviving
five boats escaped. Cdr Claude Dobson DSO, RN and Lt
Gordon Steele RN were awarded the Victoria Cross.
1st - British destroyer 'VITTORIA'
(1,100t, 4-4in, 4-21in
tt). Two recently completed 'V' class destroyers of the
Royal Navy were sunk within a few days of each other in
the Gulf of Finland. On the night of the 1st, 'Vittoria'
was torpedoed by Bolshevik submarine 'Pantera' off
Seiskari Island some miles to the west of Kronstadt.
4th - British destroyer
4-4in, 4-21in tt). Three days later "Verulam"
was mined in the Gulf of Finland.
16th - British monitors 'M-25' and
'M-27' (both 1915, 540t, 1-9.2in). By now the Allies had decided to withdraw from
northern Russia. As the evacuation got underway, 'M-25' and 'M-27' of the White
Sea Squadron had to be abandoned
when the Dvina River water level fell. They were blown up
to prevent capture by the Bolsheviks.
21st October - Russian destroyers
'GAVRIIL', 'KONSTANTIN' and 'VLADIMIR' (1916/17, 1,260t, 4-4in,
9-18in tt). As four Russian destroyers
of the same class escaped from the Bolsheviks, three were lost in a British
minefield off Kronstadt in the Gulf of Finland with heavy
casualties. Only 'Azard' escaped. The ships were to be
handed over to the Royal Navy.
SUMMARY OF BRITISH LOSSES
In April 1918, seven submarines had to be scuttled. Between
December 1918 and September 1919 - just nine months -
additional British losses amounted to:
1 light cruiser
2 small monitors
3 coastal motor boats