An evening at Dartmouth House with Rupert Wieloch who will give a talk for the ESU on his book Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.
The ESU invites you to an evening with Rupert Wieloch who will provide insights into the foundation of the modern Anglo-Russian relationship from his book Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.
Drinks will be served at the bar from 6.00pm and the talk will commence at 6.30pm sharp.
One hundred years ago a group of fifteen British soldiers serving with the British Mission to Siberia were captured by the Red Army on Russian Christmas Eve (6th January). They were held in a lice-infested room at Krasnoyarsk for three months, whilst Prime Minister Lloyd George’s representative signed a prisoner exchange treaty with Lenin’s envoy in Copenhagen. One of the prisoners was a young Captain Brian Horrocks (played by Edward Fox in the film A Bridge Too Far), who succumbed to epidemic typhus, but was saved by his best friend who nursed him through the illness. Another captive, Francis McCullagh, was the only western correspondent to interview the Tsar’s assassin. In March, the prisoners were escorted to Irkutsk where a British train arrived to pick them up, but the Bolshevik authorities only allowed the women and children to leave and sent the despondent soldiers 3,500 miles to hateful prisons in Moscow.
In his talk at the English-Speaking Union, Rupert Wieloch will describe how the soldiers maintained morale and coped with their fearsome ordeal and explain what the War Secretary, Winston Churchill, did to secure their protracted release and how their incarceration became a ’cause célèbre’ in the House of Commons. Rupert was educated at Winston Churchill’s alma mater and completed a Fellowship in International Relations at Pembroke College, Cambridge during a 35 year career in the British Army. His extensive research includes a treasure-trove of unpublished document, as well as archives from Philadelphia, London, St Petersburg and Oxford and the testimony from the families of some of the prisoners.