Thursday, 10 November 2011

Memorial event for HMS "Dragon"

Spotted today on the UK in Latvia website:
The wreath-laying ceremony at Bolderaja is an annual event that honours the sacrifice of 9 British and Irish sailors on board of HMS Dragon. HMS Dragon had provided artillery fire cover for defending Riga against the attacking army of General Avalov-Bermont in 1919, when the Republic of Latvia was just a year old and needed support to protect its independence.

Representatives of the Latvian Navy, Defence Ministry, Embassy of France and Embassy of the UK take part in the ceremony. This year it took place on Wednesday, 9 November.
Memorial event for HMS "Dragon"

For more information about HMS Dragon and the 9 seamen killed

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


From time to time I find some really interesting and relevant item described online that relate to to to the Allied intervention in the Baltic  and especially HMS Dragon but due to lack of time I will often save details of the page for later.

In some cases diaries and journals have come up for auction which I would love to take a peek at.....problem is that I only find out about these items after the sale (not that I could afford to bid!) and now I find that I can no longer find the original entry using google!

I have tried the Imperial War Museum which has some diaries and audio tapes in which seamen describe their experiences but not this one.

"journal kept throughout the Great War and during the subsequent Russian Civil War, from 21 July 1914 to 3 January 1920, recording service on board the Acheron Class destroyer HMS Amphion, serving with the 3rd Division of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, from 31 July 1914, and participating in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 38 August; transferring with the rest of the crew of the Ferret to the M Class destroyer HMS Nepean on 5 April 1916, serving on her until the end of the war; transferring to the D Class cruiser HMS Dragon on 8 October 1918 ("with 2 Russian Officers & one British") and recording the Dragon'sservice in the Baltic during the civil war, arriving at Riga on 13 October 1919, where they "Found German General & his troops who had been guarding Riga had turned Bolshevists & were attacking Rig"...Sat 8th Nov. Received signal from C in C to hold Riga & Libau at all costs. Mon 10th Nov. We opened fire on Cement Factory occupied by Germans at 6.30 a.m. At 2.45 we started to fire at an armoured train which was shelling the town of Riga. The Germans were using Gas shells & were killing many of the civil population. At 8.30 we again started to bombard the Cement Factory while the Letts surrounded it & at 10.0 PM they took it at the point of the bayonet..."), the journal ending with the Dragon's return to Sheerness on 3 January 1920, some 150 pages, in a notebook, canvas-backed naval chart wrappers, postcard of the Dragon pasted over opening text, minor staining and signs of wear, 4to, 1914-1920 

Sold for £576 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Statement of Henry Elijah Baker HMS Wryneck 18th October 1919

The subject of food or rather the lack of adequate suppies for Seamen being sent out to the Baltic during 1919 is a common theme when looking through some of the documents in the National archives.
Henry's statement, which was taken following his arrest shows that the shortage of food caused consideable discontent and unrest amongst the crew resulting in a group of seamen leaving their ships and travelling to London by train.

"in London several upon seeing the Police broke from the party. The Inspector was informed we wanted to go to Whitehall. We formed fours by common consent and marched to the police station. I had the petition on arrival at the Police station, and also on arrival here on Tuesday. We left on on Wednesday and I gave it to someone else in our party. No civilian has at any time been on board to address a meeting on bolshevism or has any attempt been made to cause us to refuse duty. None of us would have left the ship had we been sure of better food conditions in the Baltic. I refuse to give the names of the other men in the party with it now or who have left it"
 signed Henry Elijah Baker Cell 69

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