A Prisoner Of The Reds by Francis McCullagh

By Francis McCullagh

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A doctor attached to the White Army told me that over 20,000 people had died of typhus and cold en route from Omsk to Krasnoyarsk, exclusive of those who died in the towns . His own train had left Omsk with over 8oo persons on board, and when they reached Krasnoyarsk twenty-six dead bodies were piled on top of one another, like logs of wood, in the open gangways outside the brake-waggons . At least one waggon in every train was converted into a travelling morgue, and the dead always overflowed on to these outer gangways .

We did all we could for him, made enquiries at every station, and telegraphed up and down the line, but, up to the time I left Krasnoyarsk, he had heard nothing of the lost children . One of our staff officers had been carried off at Omsk in the same way through his carriage getting accidentally attached to the wrong train . A young clerk whom I employed and whom I had sent on in General Knox's train, placed his wife in a Russian train which was afterwards captured . An English sergeant who had married a Russian lady placed her aboard a train which got through, but he himself was captured .

Young girls of sixteen or seventeen were sometimes left stranded at a station in their summer shoes without money or friends, and, being frightened almost out of their wits by the accounts they heard of Bolshevik atrocities, they fell an easy prey to the lust of the soldiery. Sometimes they were dressed in men's clothes, and their smooth, young faces contrasted sharply with the hairy busbies and sheepskins which they wore . Some of the girls in the soldiers' echelons were little more than children ; others were evidently experienced campaigners and not unwilling victims .

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