23rd March 1919 Sunday
Archangel Gets Jittery
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“The following day was ‘Windy Sunday’. Another officer and myself took a walk along to Archangel in the afternoon, and had tea at the Officers’ Club. On the way we saw a lot of the Civil Guard and cadets at drill. The Russians in Archangel who are loyal to the British fear an uprising of the Bolshevik element at any moment. We were informed that yesterday two hundred Bolos had been rounded up and arrested in Archangel. One of those arrested was the leader of the Duma – the local Lord Provost! Many machine-guns and lots of ammunition were found in various houses. We saw a big crowd gathered outside the Duma buildings, where the election of a new leader was going on. We were also told that the Russians are tired of having the British in Archangel, and want us to clear out, and let them manage their own affairs. That’s what I feel like too, for the whole lot of them are just a collection of dirty, diseased Bolsheviks – a two-faced lot, who eat our food, and say nice things to us at present, but who would denounce us to the enemy without thinking twice about it.
The Assistant Provost Marshall of Archangel, who dined with us at night, told us some thrilling stories of his adventures with the Bolos. He has been fired at nine times now at night, and seems to lead a charmed life. On the last occasion he was stepping on to the gangway of the hospital ship “Khalyan” where he was going to dinner, when he was shot at.
Towards eight o’clock things got more alarming and the ‘wind rose’. Some of our men came in with tales of shooting going on in Archangel. The A.P.M. departed in haste armed to the teeth, and we posted an armed sentry (R.A.M.C.) outside the mess door. The British Naval Units in Solombola ‘stood to’ all night, but nothing very alarming happened.”
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