Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Russians are Coming!

A Russian Hussar, 1914. Image: Wikipedia

4th September 1914, Bedford: Rumours about the Russians abound. It has been said that Lord Kitchener has an “unknown factor” up his sleeve – surely this must indicate he knows the Russian army will soon strike heavily at the Germans. Trains have been seen speeding from north to south with their blinds drawn. These are supposed to be carrying Russian soldiers who have been transported by sea from Archangel to Leith in Scotland, from where they are being sent to France and Belgium. More evidence that Russians are being sent across the Channel from England came from a marine who returned to Bedford from Belgium and told his friends they had been ordered to leave Ostend when the Russians arrived. On Tuesday news came that the Kaiser and his HQ staff had retired to Metz because an army of Russians was advancing against them from the coast. This rumour has not been confirmed but almost everyone believes it to be true.

Source: Beds Times 11/9/1914

Note: In fact there was no truth to the rumours of Russian involvement on the Western Front in the early stages of the war. At the end of August the Germans had defeated the Russian 2nd army in the East at the Battle of Tannenberg and during the early part of September the 3rd and 8th Russian armies were advancing against the Austrians. The French requested in December 1915 that Russian troops should be sent to the Western Front in exchange for munitions and the first Russian soldiers arrived in France in April 1916.

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