HC Deb 28 December 1919 vol 123 cc1268-9W

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state the number of Russians who have been formed into special units in connection with any of the Allied Armies, stating what is at present the condition of such persons; and what is the policy of the Allied and Associated Governments with regard to them?


Two battalions of Russians were formed in England in 1918 for labour duties in France; the total numbers raised were about 2,700. The battalions were amalgamated in December, 1918, and this unit has just been disbanded. A Labour Company was also used in France composed of Russians and Roumanians, which was disbanded in July, 1919. In North Russia, SlavoBritish Allied Legions were formed both at Archangel and Murmansk., The total number in these was about 6,000. On the withdrawal of the Allies from North Russia these units were disbanded. All the men comprising them who wished to leave North Russia were evacuated at the same time as the Allied troops, and were transported to other parts of Russia. Last spring a Russian brigade under British officers was formed in Siberia as an experiment. In July, owing to the military situation and the urgent need to reinforce existing units at the front, the brigade was disbanded and the Russian personnel transferred to the Russian Command at the latter's request. The establishment of the brigade was, roughly, 10,000; the numbers actually recruited under the scheme cannot be ascertained without reference to the British Mission in Siberia. I have no further information as regards any special units formed in connection with any of the Allied Armies.