In particular, did they fight in the territories of modern-day Belarus or Lithuania?

Online sources such as Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War, National Archives UK, and saving the war or killing bolshevism in the cradle state that troops were deployed in North Russia, the Caucasus and Siberia. Furthermore there was a British naval force in the Baltic as mentioned by @JohnDallman.

However, I've not yet found clear sources indicating the precise actions and movements of British forces (which are typically described as 'muddled and half-hearted'), and in particular, whether the British presence ever extended to the Southern Front.


4 Answers 4


The British did fight in North Russia, for example; Topso; Tulgas; Emtsa and Bolshie-Ozerki. There are memorials,two at Archangel and one at Murmansk that commemorates British soldiers killed in North Russia

  • 4
    Seconded @MarkC.Wallace. Also, who set up the memorials? It would be very weird for the Reds to do so...
    – gktscrk
    Aug 13, 2020 at 10:47
  • 1
    @gktscrk: According to wikipedia, there were some mutinies during the Northern Russia Intervention. Soldiers killed while or due to rebelling against the British monarchy and refusing to fight the Bolsheviks would probably considered martyrs bx the Soviets. That is just a guess, however.
    – Jan
    Aug 13, 2020 at 13:59
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    I am upvoting this. Relevant wiki links are e.g. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Russia_intervention, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tulgas and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shenkursk . It would still be nice to have the links (or something similar or even better) in the answer.
    – Jan
    Aug 13, 2020 at 14:05

There's an English-language subtlety here. In English "troops" specifically means land forces, and excludes naval forces.

There was a British naval force in the Baltic supporting the Whites in parts of the Russian Civil War, but they provided sea control and bombardment, rather than troops. They helped establish the independence of Estonia and Latvia, but not Lithuania, as far as I know.

  • I agree with this. I think only the Americans landed in Vladivostok in Eastern Russia. Nov 3, 2016 at 18:25
  • The (updated) links in the question suggest that a small number of Brits did land in Vladivostok. Two of the links even links show the British flag in a military parade there.
    – Uri Granta
    Nov 3, 2016 at 19:53

The British troops did not really fight. The British landed in Murmansk with the explicit purpose to prevent the transfer of the allies military supplies previously provided to Russia from being seized by the Germans. In the beginning of 1918 the new communist government of Russia surrendered to Germany, and the Western part of the empire (if not the whole empire) fell into a complete disorder. There was a danger that the allies military supplies stored in Murmansk may fall into German hands.

When in the fall 1918 Germany surrendered on the Western front, and the war ended, the British forces withdrew. There was no real fighting between the British and the Communist government.

The British also had some limited involvement in Transcaucasian republics which became independent for a short period after the 1917 revolution. They also withdrew when Germany was defeated and WWI ended.

Another thing is that Britain supported the whites in the Russian civil war with supplies. This support was very limited, and did not include any British troups, only some technicians. A British tank captured from Denikin's troops still stands on the main square of Kharkiv.

Somewhat similar was the story of American troops landed in the Far East. Their purpose was to prevent Japan from seizing Russian Far East.

Communist historians later called these things "foreign intervention". But there was no organized fighting between British or American troops and the Red army.

  • Brits fought all the way from Murmansk to Arhangelsk to Shenkursk. Some of the time they fought against Red Army, some of the time alongside with it. A very ill-conceived mission it was indeed.
    – user58697
    Nov 7, 2016 at 4:12
  • @user58697 can you elaborate? so they did fight? Sep 24, 2018 at 12:43

I would check the Wikipedia articles on Major Bruce Cameron and the Battle of Tsaritsyn.

In June 1919 the above Scottish officer and a handful of other British troops had been sent to Denikin's White army near Tsaritsyn to train them in the use of British tanks supplied to them. Despairing of the Russians slow progress in learning how to operate the tanks, Cameron decided to show them how it was done and ordered the handful of British troops to take one of the tanks and attack Tsaritsyn themselves. Totally surprised, the Red troops panicked and fled or surrendered, allowing this tiny British force to capture the city and turn it over to Denikins White Russians

Tsaritsyn was later renamed Stalingrad, in honour of Joseph Stalin who was one of the defending Red commanders. Thus, Britain succeeded in capturing Stalingrad where the Germans later failed.

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