Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of Naval Intelligence

CABLEGRAM SENT  3 June 1918,   RES

To  Opnav, Washington (For Navintel)        Serial No. 8909

Prep. by  S-3           SX  D.R.

   31 ADR

_CONFIDENTIAL_

8909. General Poole1 of British Army with force of 600 infantry with field guns and machine guns has been sent to Mourmansk. General Poole is to command all military forces ashore both at Mourmansk and Archangel; his special duty will be to organize the Czech, Serbian and other units which are reported to be at those localities.2 The river Dvina at Archangel is now clear of ice and ships can approach the harbour safely. As result of recent activities of German submarines in the White Sea and Arctic, President of Mourmansk committee has asked the Central authorities for permission to organize defensive forces against enemy submarines.3 8909.

Sims

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. Frederick C. Poole. He went to Murmansk aboard the American cruiser Olympia, which had been sent from America to participate in the expedition to northern Russia. Henry P. Beers, US Naval Forces in Northern Russia (Archangel and Murmansk), 1918-1919, 6-8. The force commanded by Poole landed in Murmansk, Russia, in May. In August Poole moved his headquarters to Archangel to support an anti-Bolshevik uprising there. Richard H. Ullman, Britain and the Russian Civil War, November 1918-February 1920 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968), 19.

Footnote 2: The so-called Czechoslovak Corps, composed of Czechs and Slovaks (not Serbians), some 60,000 strong and made up of Czech and Slovak residents of Russia as well as former prisoners of war who supported an independent Czech and Slovak state and thus opposed Austro-Hungary. These forces were in Siberia but arrangements had been made to transport them to Murmansk from Omak, Siberia. However, a Bolshevik force intercepted them and did not allow them to proceed so they were not available for Poole to organize. Beers, US Naval Forces in Northern Russia, 8.

Footnote 3: The Murmansk Regional Council only agreed to defend the area against the Germans on 6 July and only after the Allies agreed to provide them with supplies and funds. The Russian central government did not support the agreement and instead protested against this “invasion” of Soviet territory and sent troops to expel the allied force. Ibid., 9-10.

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