A Collection of Medals for the Russian Intervention 1918-20

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Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £2,800

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A rare 1919 North Russia Relief Force D.C.M. group of four awarded to Private H. L. Sharpe, 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, late Lincolnshire Regiment, for gallantry and devotion to duty in dressing and evacuating wounded under heavy fire during the ‘Dvina Offensive’ attack on the Dvina River on 10 August 1919, the largest battle fought by British troops against the Soviet Red Army in the Russian Civil War

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (130228 Pte. H. L. Sharpe. 45/R. Fus.); 1914 Star, with clasp (6861 Pte. H. Sharp. 1/Linc: R.); British War and Victory Medals (6861 Pte. H. Sharp. Linc. R.) mounted as worn, contact marks and edge nicks, about very fine (4) £1,400-£1,800

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 21 January 1920:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 10 August 1919, in dressing and evacuating wounded under heavy rifle and machine gun fire. He set a very fine example to those with him.’


H. L. Sharpe, pre-war regular soldier in the Lincolnshire Regiment, served with the 1st Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 13 August 1914, and was present at Framieres on 24 August 1914 when his Battalion, together with the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment, held off the entire German 6th Division for four hours, their marksmanship and rapid rifle fire convincing the German's that they were facing numerous machine guns.

Following the cessation of hostilities Sharp volunteered for service with the North Russia Relief Force in 1919, and was 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. He subsequently served during the Allied Intervention in North Russia, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry during 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 - after a three day approach march through dense forest the Fusiliers launched a surprise attack against the flank of a series of Red Army held villages on the western bank of the Dvina River, routing the garrisons with the bayonet under covering fire from Royal Navy gunboats. In the same action Corporal Arthur Sullivan, an Australian volunteer also serving with the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers was awarded the Victoria Cross.

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’.

Post-war Sharpe resided in Peterborough, Northamptonshire. His son, Frederick Leslie Sharp, was killed in action during the Second World War on 29 August 1942, whilst serving in North Africa with 28th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and is buried in Tripoli War Cemetery.

Sharpe is mentioned in Churchill’s Secret War with Lenin by Damien Wright.