THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED
One hundred years ago a group of 15 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. 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. 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 His extensive research includes a treasure-trove of unpublished documents and archives from Philadelphia, London, St Petersburg and Oxford.