The North Russia Company The Devonshire Regiment in World War One
In May 1919 the Devonshire Regiment supplied a rifle company of volunteers to join the 1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry to reinforce the Allied Expeditionary Force despatched to North Russia in 1918. The original purpose of the expedition – which had been to prevent the Bolsheviks supplying a large quantity of ammunition and military equipment to the Germans – disappeared with the Armistice. However, the expedition was maintained in the misguided hope that it might help the White (non-Communist) Russian forces defeat their Bolshevik enemies. The exhausted victors of 1918 had neither the capacity nor the will to turn the Communist tide in Russia.
In a confused, fruitless, hazardous and uncomfortable campaign (in which mutinies occurred in some British and foreign units) the Devons served and fought with honour and in their single battle won six decorations for gallantry. Their battle, on 1st September 1919, was fought against a Bolshevik force at Ust Vaga near the River Dvina, south of Archangel. Later that month the Devons were withdrawn and the Allied Expeditionary Force left Russia to its fate.