6 Feb 2020 10:05
Published by: Daniel Almond

Bury author and naval historian Steve Dunn’s new book has earned him a VIP invite to the Latvian Embassy in London in March.

Steve will address Her Excellency Ms Baiba Braže and her guests as part of the official launch of Battle in the Baltic, which highlights the key role played by the Royal Navy between 1918 – 1920 in helping to protect the fragile independence of the new states of Estonia and Latvia.

“It’s a real honour for me to be invited to the embassy and have the opportunity to explain why I wanted to tell this story, which is largely forgotten even though it is such an important example of standing up for democracy,”  said Steve, who was born and grew up in town, attending Bury Grammar School between 1962 and 1971.

“Also, it is yet another illustration of how brave British sailors made such great sacrifices and yet today, very few people are aware of this campaign.”

What makes the story particularly poignant is that many of the sailors involved had already spent four years at sea and were exhausted and war weary. They had expected to be going home to celebrate the Allied victory and instead they were sent to the Baltic Sea to fight a battle against Bolshevik Russia.

Neither the British Government nor the public had any appetite for the conflict but Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill was determined to stop Bolshevik Russia retaking the new Baltic countries.  And so for 13 months the Royal Navy was in action against Soviet ships and pro-German and Bolshevik ground forces before a treaty ended the hostilities in February 1920.

“Although Estonia and Latvia’s independence was preserved, there was a cost to Britain – 128 sailors died and 17 Royal Navy ships were lost.”

Battle in the Baltic is Steve’s eighth book. Two of his previous books were shortlisted for the prestigious Mountbatten Maritime Award, which is presented annually to the author of a distinguished publication that has made a significant contribution to the UK’s maritime history.

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