A Collection of Medals for the Russian Intervention 1918-20

Date of Auction: 27th February 2019

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £700 - £900

A Great War M.M. and rare 1919 ‘North Russia Relief Force’ Second Award Bar group of three awarded to Private W. Wright, Royal Fusiliers

Military Medal, G.V.R., with Second Award Bar (G-66959 Pte. W. Wright 2/R. Fus.); British War and Victory Medals (GS-66959 Pte. W. Wright. R. Fus.) good very fine (3) £700-£900


M.M. London Gazette 17 June 1919.

M.M. Second Award Bar London Gazette 3 January 1920:
‘For bravery in the Field with the British Forces in North Russia.’

William Wright attested for the Royal Fusiliers and served with the 2nd Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front, being awarded the Military Medal, before volunteered for service with the Sadleir-Jackson Brigade of the North Russia Relief Force, which was formed in April 1919 specifically for service in North Russia with the intention of striking such a blow against the Soviet Red Army on the Archangel Front that the British North Russian Expeditionary Force, which had been frozen in during the winter of 1918-19, could be withdrawn without interference.

Posted to the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, who along with their sister unit the 46th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, had been formed specifically for service in North Russia, Wright subsequently served during the Allied Intervention in North Russia, and was awarded a Second Award Bar to his Military Medal. His Bar was awarded most likely for his gallantry during either the great ‘Dvina Offensive’ of 10 August 1919, the largest battle fought by British troops against the Soviet Red Army during British military intervention in the Russian Civil War - in the same action Corporal Arthur Sullivan, an Australian volunteer also serving with the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers was awarded the Victoria Cross; for an attack against a Red Army battery position near the village of Emtsa on the Archangel-Vologda Railway Front on 29 August 1919, which resulted in a further posthumous Victoria Cross being awarded to Sergeant Samuel Pearse, another Australian volunteer serving with the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

All British troops were withdrawn from North Russia in October 1919 just as the Dvina River and the White Sea were freezing over. The North Russia Relief Force and the short lived 45th and 46th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers, were disbanded the following month, having gained the Battle Honour ‘Archangel 1919’.