Tanks in Russia during the Civil War

Unique donation to the Museum Archive

24th March 2017

An exciting and significant new donation has just been generously gifted to the Museum’s Archive. 

Russian blog

A major collection of documents and scanned photographs belonging to Major H S Sayer, has been donated to The Tank Museum. The collection relates to the Tank Detachment sent by Britain in 1919 to South Russia, during the Russian Civil War, after the October Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. 

Major Sayer, and the Tank Detachment set up base at Taganrog, South Russia in 1919. Their mission was to assist in the training of the Russian Tank Corps in the use of Mark V and Medium Mark A Whippet tanks.

Among these fascinating items are three unique photograph albums with handwritten annotations. Referred to on one album as “H S Sayer Trip to Russia”, these photographs flit between snap shots of the sights and the brutality of a vicious civil war. Included are two photographs from the album. The first photograph (above) shows White Russian soldiers undergoing 6-pdr gun training, (note the traditional Cossack headwear). 


Russian blog2The second (left) is a further glimpse into Russian culture as a Russian Orthodox priest blesses a Mark V tank Male tank before it goes into action.

Of particular interest is a Nominal Roll of Officers, NCO's and Men of the South Russian Tank Detachment. This detailed and rare document is a complete list of all ranks describing their job titles within the Detachment.  

If you are interested in donating items to The Tank Museum, please contact library@tankmuseum.org