Canadians in Russia (Col)
Canadians in Russia: the Last Contingent of World War I, 2006 by Hendrik (Henk) Burgers. Covers and postcards from two never before published correspondences form the major part of this important addition to the field of Canadian Military Postal History. BNAPS Exhibit Series #41. Colour edition. Spiral Bound, 98 pp.
When people think of the end of World War I they usually recall that the war ended on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. But it didn’t! Although the Armistice in Western Europe took effect on that day and at that time, it did not end the fighting in the east, in Russia, where the Bolshevik forces of Vladimir Lenin were still trying to take over the vast country. Canada was asked to send forces to assist the British Army units still active in Russia.
A few Canadians went to Russia early in 1918 but the majority were not sent until much later that year. The main tasks of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia) [CEF(S)] were to protect the Czechoslovak Legion from the Bolsheviks and to guard the 700,000 tons of allied military supplies which had been stockpiled in Vladivostok.
The first units of the CEF(S) reached Vladivostok in October 1918 and eventually grew to 3,800 officers and men (and one Nursing Sister). The last members of the Canadian units were repatriated from Siberia by 5 June 1919, and from Northern Russia (Murmansk) by 12 October 1919.
Henk Burgers’ career with the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) and the post-1967 Canadian Military Engineers (CME) took him on assignments as far apart as Alert, NWT, Germany with NATO forces, and Egypt with the United Nations Emergency Force. Upon retirement from the military in 1984 he was able to resume his childhood philatelic hobby, with an added interest in military postal history, and was Editor of the Newsletter of the BNAPS Military Mail Study Group. While looking for material for his collection Henk was fortunate to come across the Keene and Fennell military correspondences, which were previously unknown. Covers and postcards from these finds are being published here for the first time and form the major part of the volume.
Canadians in Russia: the Last Contingent of World War I is an important addition to the field of Canadian Military Postal History.