Robert Radcliffe

Robert Radcliffe

Robert Radcliffe (Bob) was the Uncle of Parishioner Irene Collins. He lived with the family until he was called up in 1918 and enrolled in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was trained as a machine gunner and then sent, not to the western Front, but to Russia to assist in Churchill’s little known campaign to put down the Bolshevik Revolution. Unfortunately he told Irene nothing about his experiences. Instead he gave her an exciting account of a great railway that was being built across Russia from St Petersburg to Vladivostok. What part he saw of it, if any, is unclear. A chance remark about a branch line leading to Murmansk suggests that ther Fusiliers might have been involved in the confusion which reigned there in the early months of 1919. White Russians (the supporters of the Tsar) had gathered there in considerable numbers, but the joint offensive that had been planned never took place. The British soldiers mistrusted the Russians; the men were disgruntled that they had been sent to Russia without being consulted; some were prepared to mutiny rather than risk being killed in action when there was an Armistace in the west. It was not an experience to be proud of. Uncle Bob was, in any case, a very private person. He managed to evade any camera that came near so there is no photo to flesh out that part of their family story. He was honourably discharged and received the British and Victory medal in 1922.

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