White Russian Glosters!

Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by Glosters, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    Another unusual little story from WW2. If anyone knows what happened to any
    of these men I would welcome any information.

    While the 28th Regiment (1st Bn Gloucestershire Regiment) were in Rangoon,
    Burma, a group of White Russians arrived. Many had been members of the
    Shanghai Defence Force and now volunteered for service against the Japanese.
    They were experienced fighters, and with the Battalion very short of men, Colonel Bagot enlisted them.

    "They proved a real asset to the 28th in action, were very popular in the ranks, quiet, courageous and with an intense hatred of the Japanese. Some had fought in Manchuria and most could speak Chinese and some Japanese."
    (Back Badge 1946)

    After the 28th fought their way out of India (as rear-guard for the Burma Army), the Russians moved to various units:

    Roll of the White Russian Glosters:
    (as of Dec. 1945)

    Lieutenant E. Binetsky - FSS, Special Section, India. (to be 2nd Lt. S/Sgt.
    George Nicolas Binetsky, 18th Aug.1943. (LG 29-10-43)?
    Lieut. F. Fuchs - IAOC, Calcutta (to be 2nd Lt. Sgt. Efraim Maximovitch
    Fuchs, 4th Jan.1943) (LG 2-7-43)?
    CSM Gibyanski - FSS, Special Section, India.
    Sergt. M. Kessel - 23 FSS Berlin (Field Security Section?)
    Sergt. P. Kondratoff - 23 FSS Berlin
    Sergt. T. Korcyn - Control Commission, Germany
    Captain P. Kostiloff - CISDIC Delhi (to be 2nd Lt. - Sgt. Peter
    Evsievievich Kostiloff, 28th Dec.1943.) (LG 10-3-44)
    Private L. Manasseh - Movement Control, India
    Sergt. N. Nirke - FSS, Special Section, India
    Sergt. P. Perelman - Movement Control, India
    Sergt. Victor Vaselevich. Philatoff, MM* - REME
    Pte T. Poliahoff - RAOC, Aldershot
    Pte L. Prihoda - 15 Holding Battalion
    Pte K. Schultz - Repatriated from Hong Kong (POW?)
    Sergt. R. Sinitsky - Ordnance Depot, Calcutta
    Sapper P. Solovieff - RE, Bombay
    Lieut. R. Voetsky - 4th Gurkhas
    Sergt. Wedensky - Interpreter, Delhi
    S/Conductor L. Zellic - Jhansi

    Killed in action with the 28th in Burma:

    Pte S. Feldman - 7 March 1942
    Pte Jospeh L. Kopievker - 22 March 1942
    Pte Gregory Matevosiantz - 30 March 1942

    * - 5194258 Private V.V. Philatoff's MM was awarded "for gallantry at
    Taukkyan 7th March 1942 when he volunteered to drive his carrier in support
    of an attack against a Japanese road block. The attack failed and heavy
    mortar fire was opened along the road. An accompanying carrier was knocked
    out, but Pte Philatoff collected the wounded in his carrier and brought them back. His courage and tenacity at Taukyyan and subsequently in the campaign was an
    inspiration to all."

    "... White Russians of whom there were a number in our platoon. They had
    been born in exile in Rangoon, Singapore and elsewhere in the Far East of
    White Russian parents who had fled the revolution, but when Mother Russia
    was attacked their immesnse patriotism for the lkand they had never seen
    overcame their distaste for communism and they enlisted in the British
    forces. They were a grand lot, Corporal Peter Kostiloff I remember well;
    small, fierce and engaging. A year later he came to see me in hospital and
    by then he was a senior officer in Intelligence." (The A Soldier by Peter

    Back Badge 1948
    "Lt-Col.Donald's article was very interesting. I think the Russian he refers
    to must have been Pte Polotoff. If so, I met him at Bareilly Hospital in the
    winter of 1942-43. He had been twice wounded at the Schwedaung road block,
    once by a bullet through the shoulder from an anti-tank rifle which left an
    enormous scar. He told me that he had been picked up by a Jeep. Several
    fingers of one hand were paralysed, caused by a bullet from MG or a piece of
    shrapnel which hit his hand. He seemed eager to go home to Russia or else
    resume work as a mechanic after the war. I heard a story that the Russians
    had entered the 28th from Hong Kong whither their fathers had gone as
    refugees from the Revolution." (J. Sibley, Makere College, Kampala, Uganda).

    mac657 likes this.
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing that with us. I have never come across any reference to this before - must be unique to the British Army in WW2?
  3. vicphillips

    vicphillips Junior Member

    I am the son of V.V. Philatoff.
    He married my mother in England after the war and died of lung cancer in Sunderland, England in 1973.
    I have his MM, it's the only medal he kept.
    He was naturalised and changed his name to Phillips.
    Thanks for your post
    Vic Phillips
    mac657 likes this.
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Interesting story Glosters, never heard of that before must be unique in the British Army as Paul says.

    Welcome vicphillips, enjoy your stay here.
  5. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Get your hands on "Shanghai," by Harriet Sergeant, which is about the city and the International Settlement from 1927 to 1939. It has a full chapter on the White Russians. They lived in a curious nether world. They were Caucasian, which meant they were not Chinese, but had no documentation other than ancient Tsarist passports, so they could not share the benefits of the International Settlement. Many of them claimed noble descent, and wound up teaching Russian or teaching piano. Some of the women became hookers (a common enough occupation in Shanghai at the time). They also made up one of the companies of the Shanghai Volunteer Force, the International Settlement's battalion-sized outfit, which had a Portuguese company, a Jewish company, a Japanese company, an American company, a Scottish company, an English company, and an Italian company. They worked to ensure that the Sino-Japanese War raging around them did not spill into the International Settlement. The Japanese also raised a brigade group of White Russians in occupied China for rear-area security. As the Japanese were anti-Communist, these White Russians (in Tientsin) found common cause with the Japanese, despite the racial divisions.
  6. PatriciaK

    PatriciaK New Member

    Re: Roll of the White Russians, reply from Patricia Kaye (Kostiloff)
    Peter Evsievich Kostiloff (my father) settled in Australia in 1948. He married Isabella Reid in Hong Kong in 1946. They met in Burma when she was with the British Canteen. Peter is listed on the 1947 Hong Kong War Crimes Trials documents Nos. 51 & 60: Advisory Officer, Captain P. Kostiloff, 1st Gurkha Rifles. The Kostiloff name was changed to Kaye in 1954. Peter Kaye worked as a Farm Manager and Farm Fencing Contractor until he retired in his late 70s. He loved the Australian Bush. He died in 2001 at the age of 92. My brother John and I are very pleased to have acquired copies of Peter Collister’s book ‘Then A Soldier’ mentioned in your article.

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