The Russian Baltic Fleet in the Time of War and Revolution, 1914–1918 (Hardback)
The Recollections of Admiral S N Timiryov
The translation of these memoirs brings an important and authoritative historical source to those interested in Russian or naval history who are unable to access them in the original Russian. Their author, Rear Admiral S N Timiryov, was well placed to make observations on the character of many of the significant commanding officers and also many of the operations of the Baltic Fleet from the beginning of the war in 1914 up to exit from it in 1918. He trained with many of the key figures and shared battle experience with them in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 and the siege of Port Arthur; and he spent a year in Japan as a prisoner of war with a number of them. In his subsequent career in the Navy he had roles which brought him into contact with new recruits as well as with many serving officers, and as the Executive Officer on the imperial yacht Shtandart for some years, he came into contact with senior members of the navy establishment and of the government, including the imperial household. His memoirs also exhibit an unusual degree of self-awareness.
Written in Shanghai in 1922, these memoirs remained unknown to scholars for several decades. Since their publication in New York in 1961, in the absence of access to authoritative archives, many historians in the West used them as a source for the study of the role of the Navy in the Russian revolution, particularly as it unfolded in the north. They have also been used as a source in numerous studies of the naval war in the Baltic, and following the fall of the Soviet Union they were re-published in Russia and are regarded there as an authoritative source on the history both of the revolution and of the Russian Navy in the First World War.
This first English-language edition, complemented by extensive notes and commentary on issues which may not be familiar to many, will fascinate scholars and naval historians alike.
Taking the vivid recollections of Timirev, the translator, Stephen Ellis, has done an excellent job in producing an accessible narrative, which he has complemented with extensive explanatory notes and commentary, contemporary obituaries and a foreword by Professor Norman Saul.Mariners Mirror
I found this an utterly fascinating read, and extremely engaging which can be a challenge for some memoirs written by senior officers. In this Ellis is to be warmly congratulated.Naval Wargames Society
Review by Mark Bailey PhDAustralian Naval Institute
This book is a valuable addition to the library of those interested in WWI naval history and the war in the Baltic. The coverage of Russian operations, command structure dynamics and their impact on operational capability makes it worthy of recommendation to ANI members.
Click here for the full review
I finding that I am greatly getting into war on the sea through warships, u-boats and the commanding officers. There is a great deal of difference compared with their counterparts in the air or on the land. This excellent read gives a very good account of the events in the Baltic. This book offers a good glimpse in the difference between leadership and you common sailor, as we quite a few instances of mutiny as bolshevism increased its presence within the ranks. This is a very good book and I enjoyed how you get a more personal look at life from the man, and this is bought over well in the translation of his work. A really good read and I would recommend this as one of the books I have read and have got into the subject.UK Historian
Read the full review here
This is a virtually unknown set of memoirs that are published for the first time in English, the edition published in 1961 by the American Society for Russian Naval History having been in the original Russian. The memoirs provide a unique view of the Russian Navy during the First World War and the Revolutionary Wars – Valuable Rare Source MaterialFiretrench
Read the full review here
The First World War at sea in northern waters is often portrayed as a purely German and British affair but the Russian Baltic fleet saw frequent and at times desperate action against Germany. Vividly written in Shanghai in 1922, this memoir remained unknown for several decades until its publication (in Russian) in New York in 1961. Translated into English by naval historian Stephen Ellis, it offers unique insights into the characters of key figures Rear Admiral S N Timirev met during his years of service. Timirev was well placed to make observations on the operations of the Baltic Fleet from 1914 up to 1918. He had trained alongside many of the commanding officers and fought in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 and the siege of Port Arthur with them. This edition is complemented by extensive notes and commentary. A spotlight on the Russian mind-set in home waters and engaging account of Russian naval operations in general during these formative years of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.Julian Stockwin
Read the full review here
This book offers a good account of events in the Baltic and through to the revolutions in 1917, offering an insight into those significant events against the background of conducting naval warfare. It is a very personal account, written soon after the events described (in 1922) and adds value to the seldom measured efforts of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Great War. The author’s descriptions of the behaviour of mutineers as the fabric of the Baltic Fleet essentially collapsed as revolutionary activity increased, is well worth reading as a lesson of the failure of authority and the rise of the mob. This is further expanded after the Bolsheviks took control and created impossible conditions for the fleet to function. Overall an interesting read written by a witness to the events.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide