Author Topic: British engineers  (Read 5403 times)

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Offline historywriter

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British engineers
« on: May 20, 2006, 12:48:20 AM »
I read that there were many British engineers working in Russia when the Revolution occurred.  Some were executed and some escaped.  I would like to know more about this topic.

Best Regards,

Lisa

Offline Belochka

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2006, 07:05:46 AM »
Hi Lisa,

What is the source of your information?

Thanks,

Margarita


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Offline historywriter

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2006, 03:24:53 AM »
Hi Margarita,

I think that I read this somewhere on the Internet.  Of course, I know that not everything on the Web is reliable but I am interested in knowing more about what happened to the engineers.

Best Regards,

Lisa

Offline Belochka

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2006, 07:00:29 AM »
Hi Lisa,

Do you recall which project or in which city the engineers were working on?

Were the engineers attached to the military?

Thanks again,

Margarita


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Offline Phil_tomaselli

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2006, 02:44:05 AM »
There were indeed many British engineers working in Russia at the start of the war in 1914, in the South & Caucasus in the oil and copper industries, in Siberia in the mining industry and in St Petersberg itself installing and managing cotton and other factories.  Many of them returned to England on the outbreak of war to join the British army, but others stayed on.

Because they spoke Russian several were sent back to Russia in intelligence or liaison capacities.  Thomas Preston, Consul at Ekaterinberg, was a mining engineer who says in his "Before the Curtain" that he was sent back "in view of my exceptional knowledge of Russia (particularly of the platinum industry, in which the War Office were very interested)".  Stephen Alley was an oil engineer who was sent back to to serve with the Intelligence Mission and I can name one or two others.  When the Revolution(s) occurred most fled the country one way or another.  While I have a vague memory of a couple dying whilst in prison I have no knowledge of any being executed and would be interested in a source.  One old chap in Ekaterinberg who had owned and run a couple of factories died in 1918 when his factories and home were taken over by the Bolshevik workers, but he was in his eighties and it was probably stress.  One or two may even have been murdered, but the Foreign Office files at The National Archives are full of requests for information about British subjects trapped in Russia and lists of escapees.  There really would have been the most unholy row if it found out about executions so I can't think any took place.

Phil Tomaselli

Offline Mike

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2006, 08:03:12 AM »
This brave Scot (presumably an engineer) served as a British observer at the Murman railway construction in 1916.

Offline Phil_tomaselli

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2006, 06:00:02 AM »
Not a Royal Engineer (not wearing such a natty tam o'shanter).  Do you know who he was?

Phil T

Offline Mike

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2006, 01:38:52 PM »
Quote
Do you know who he was?
Chan eil fhios agam...

Offline Mike

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2006, 12:07:34 AM »
After having solved a quiz what "tam o'shanter" might be, I decided to answer in style, i.e. in Gaelic. "Chan eil fhios agam" means "I don't know" - which refers to the identity of the British officer who was photographed at the Murman railroad.

Offline Phil_tomaselli

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2006, 02:40:06 AM »
Thanks Mike - there can't havebeen too many Scottish officers in Russia in 1916 so when I have time I'll see if I can tentatively name him.

Phil T

Offline historywriter

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2006, 02:39:37 AM »
Thank you very much, Phil.  That was very interesting and I'd like to read the autobiography that you mentioned.  I will see if I can obtain it.

When I tried to obtain more information from the Internet myself I kept coming across Stalin's show trial of British engineers who worked for the Metro-Vickers Corporation.  In the Metro-Vickers trial (in 1933) a large group of Soviet and British engineers was convicted of deliberately sabotaging Soviet electrical generating facilities. The British engineers were deported; the Soviet engineers were sent to a labour camp.  

This was also interesting and a book has been written about it recently.  It wasn't what I wanted to know, however.

Best Regards,

Lisa

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Re: British engineers
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2010, 07:53:52 AM »
Interesting thread.  Considering the number of foreigners in Russia pre world war one, it would be interesting to see more stories.  Given the extremely soft treatment that the Imperial tutors were given, probably most British engineers would have been allowed and encouraged to leave unless they had communist leanings.