HC Deb 22 October 1919 vol 120 cc17-8
22. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the 7th North Staffords after long service in the East were embarked for home from India., but were disembarked in Russia and asked to volunteer to fight Russians; whether he is aware that they generally refused, with the result that they were all transferred to the Royal Berkshires and called a volunteer battalion in the Black Sea Army; and whether, in view of the pledges he has given, he will explain why this course of action was followed?


This unit embarked for the Dardanelles in June, 1915. It served in the East until 11th June, 1919, when it was disbanded. It was never in India. It was never in Russia. Some of the men who were liable to be retained were transferred to the 7th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, in the Army of the Black Sea. This battalion is now, I understand, being disbanded in the process of demobilisation. No part of the Army of the Black Sea is engaged in fighting Russians or is within hundreds of miles of the anti-Bolshevik front. My hon. and gallant Friend seems to be wrong in every single particular.


Is my right lion. Friend the only authority to say what the bounds of Russia are; and may I ask whether the territory of the Kuban Cossacks is not in Russian territory 7ir is not also excluded from the ambit of Russia., and, further, whether the garrison in the country of the Kuban Cossacks is not likely to bring these men into contact with Denikin's forces?


There is no likelihood. There are no British troops in the territory of the Kuban Cossacks.