3rd September 1918 Tuesday

Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic! Mosquito Attack and a Missing Party

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“I was up again about 7 o’clock, and we moved off once more at 9 o’clock towards Teogra. Pte. Turner, R.A.M.C. arrived with the Marines last night and I left him behind at Vymuga to look after the fifty odd marines left in the village. We established our headquarters about four versts out from Vymuga on the edge of a marsh. Lt. Anderson went forward with his platoon to get in touch with the enemy, and we had a message from him in the afternoon to say that he had come into contact with the Bolsheviks at a river crossing near Teogra and had exchanged a few shots. I heard the firing. One of the Russian (Allies) planes from Siskoe flew over in the afternoon and dropped three bombs on Teogra. During the day we heard a lot of artillery fire from the direction of Obozerskaya on the railway where Col. Guard (A. Force) is supposed to be attacking the Bolsheviks. Some of the French machine-gunners went forward to assist Lt. Anderson, whilst the remainder took up a position overlooking the marsh. Capt. Shevtoff’s noble band was our body-guard! What hopes! During the afternoon Major Graham G.H.Q. Staff, arrived to discuss the situation with Capt. Scott. He had come up from Archangel in a motor launch, which went on fire at Siskoe, and burnt all his kit! He told us that two 18-pounder guns, and a bunch of Russian cavalry were on their way up to join us, and proposed that we attack and capture Teogra as soon as they arrived. We also heard (nobody knew where it came from!) that a party of Bolsheviks were coming down the river behind us to try and cut us off from the base at Siskoe. Capt. Scott warned the Marines at Vymuga to be on the alert, but nothing happened. We were constantly getting these panic rumours, and, in the end learned to ignore them entirely.

The mosquitoes were very troublesome, and I was bitten all over the hands, face and neck. One or two of the Royal Scots had nasty swollen arms, as the result of these pests, and after dressing their arms with lint soaked in a solution of corrosive sublimate, I sent them back to Vymuga to rest.

In the evening we had a message from Anderson to say that six of his men were missing. They had two Lewis guns with them. Whilst they were going along the road to take up a position they had been surprised by a party of some sixty Bolsheviks, and had taken to the forest, where they were at once lost. If the Bolsheviks get hold of them they shall have a pretty thin time. Anderson also stated that he had inflicted twelve casualties on the enemy.

Capt. Shevtoff’s party went up at night to repair the bridge across the river at the point where Lt. Anderson had taken up his position.

We had two mounted White Guards with us who acted as despatch riders. They proved to be most excellent fellows.

We got a fine log fire going, which cheered things up considerably. The drosky drivers felled whole trees for us, and chopped them up into logs. They knew the right kind of tree to fell, and used their axes in a wonderful way. They were rewarded with cigarettes. I built a small bivouac with two stretchers, and branches of fir tree, and with our feet to the fire Capts. Scott, Merchant and I slept soundly all night.”

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2 Responses to 3rd September 1918 Tuesday

  • I love this stuff. My great great grandad was sent to Archangel having survived the First World War itself in active service since the start and was shot in the head in helping a wounded man from no mans land in the trenches up there. He survived luckily but we have his medals and it took us years to work out why one was for 1919.

  • Sean, thanks for your valued comments. We would be interested to hear about your great great grandad and if you can let us know when he was there and when he was injured etc maybe we can try to cross-reference it with our diary and we could publish something.