The Northern Echo has launched a new weekly feature which will tell the story behind one of the many items and artifacts on display in the region. Today we visit the Green Howards Museum in Richmond to look at a wartime diary whose first entry was made 101-years-ago.

“MUTINY occurred on board about 6pm.

"About 300 men ‘rushed’ the gangway and went ashore.

"Cause of riot, officers allowed ashore, men not, insufficient food, bad treatment, quarters, bullying etc.

"All men on board up on decks cheering, shouting and booing. Sight that will never be forgotten…After a long spell of freedom men gradually returned and things resumed normal about 8.30 pm.

"Sentries put all over the boat, officers wearing revolvers…Gee, I am seeing life.” 15th October 1918.

The Northern Echo: Stanley HarrisonStanley Harrison

These are the words of 19-year-old Yorkshire Regiment soldier, Stanley Harrison.

His diaries span the period October 14, 1918 to June 27, 1919 and cover the often overlooked Operations Syren and Elope, where thousands of British soldiers got caught up in the Russian Civil War – ending up on the losing side.

The diaries are part of a special exhibition, Hostile Environment: The British in Russia, running until mid December at the Green Howards Museum in Richmond. It’s the only exhibition in the UK marking this forgotten part of the First World War.

“There is so much held within these small diaries – so easy to overlook when you see the tiny little notebooks on display, but packed with insight and opinion,” said The Green Howards Museum’s curator and director, Lynda Powell.

“Far from putting down their guns and going home after the famous November armistice, thousands of British troops were already en-route to Russia, fighting there for almost another two years.

"It’s as if Harrison’s diary has been waiting patiently for a century to help us tell the complex story of why British and allied soldiers were sent to Russia, a country in the grip of revolution and bitter civil war.

"Another Yorkshire Regiment soldier, Fred Neesam, from Northallerton had already experienced war on the Western Front. His diary, which is also on display, gives us an insight into an epic journey of more than 2000 miles through the frozen countryside.”

Battling the elements, a determined enemy and unreliable allies, the exhibition reveals the hidden stories, including murder, mutiny, suffering and sacrifice of Yorkshire Regiment soldiers, sent into the most hostile of environments one hundred years ago.

Hostile Environment: The British in Russia 1918-1920 runs until 14 December 2019. The Green Howards Museum is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm.

  • Does your museum or gallery have any interesting items you’d like to feature in Object of the Week? Contact Andrew White on 01325-505054 or