BOOK REVIEW: The Russian Baltic Fleet in the Time of War and Revolution 1914-1918: The Recollections of Admiral S N Timiryov

 In GDI, Russia, Sea

by S. N. Timiryov, translated by Stephen Ellis

Barnsley, Eng.: Seaforth / Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2020. Pp. xviii, 238. Illus., map, appends, notes, biblio., indices. $36.95. ISBN: 1526777029

A Memoir of the Russian Baltic Fleet

Sergei N. Timiryov (1872-1932), son of a naval officer, served as an officer in the Imperial Navy from 1889. During the Russo-Japanese War he served in a battleship and later commanded naval infantry during the Siege of Port Arthur, where he became a prisoner-of-war. In 1914, having become a captain, Timiryov was commanding a training ship in the Baltic, and it is at that point that this memoir begins.

Timiryov opens with an look at the state of Russian fleet on the outbreak of the war, and then covers his experiences and perceptions of the conflict, during which he rose to rear admiral. We get personal view of combat operations in the Baltic during the war in some detail, during which the Russian fleet did moderately well against the Germans, and he is particularly good in his treatment of the Moon Sound campaign of 1917. Timiryov then covers the events of the two Revolutions of 1917, the republican overthrow of the Tsar early in the year, the increasing deterioration of discipline in the fleet, the Communist coup in October, and the subsequent civil war.

At war’s end, having sided with the “Whites”, Timiryov fled into exile to avoid execution by the “Reds”. He ended his days in the expatriate community in China, commanding a merchant ship in the China Seas.

The Russian Baltic Fleet in Time of War and Revolution is a useful read for anyone interested in early 20th century Russia and naval operations in the Great War.


Note: The Russian Baltic Fleet in Time of War and Revolution is also available in several e-editions.

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