From 16 October until 20 November 2019, the National Library of Latvia Level 1 atrium will feature the exhibition "In Defence of Freedom. British Military and Diplomatic Support to Latvia 1918–1920". Compiled by historians and institutions in both Latvia and the United Kingdom, the exhibition offers new insights, including previously publicly unpublished photographic materials, regarding the diplomatic and military history of Latvia's War of Independence, as well as the daily routines of the British and Latvian soldiers involved. Free admission.
The Latvian War of Independence, which lasted from November 1918 to August 1920, was a military and political struggle for the existence of Latvia. It was a complicated and difficult time, because the new country and its people had to fight against both external and internal enemies. This newly gained freedom had to be defended.
Victory in the struggle for Latvian independence would not have been fully possible without the support of Western Allies – the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. The United Kingdom, whose warships reached the Latvian coastline in December 1918, was the first country to participate, as an ally, in the Latvian War of Independence.
The exhibition "In Defence of Freedom. British Military and Diplomatic Support to Latvia 1918–1920" provides the opportunity to view the Ship's Log book, from 1919, of HMS Dragon. The Ship's Log is on loan from the National Archives in the United Kingdom.
This unique Log details the actions of the heroic yet tragic events of 17 October 1919, when nine British soldiers lost their lives whilst supporting the Latvian Army against the attacks from Pavel Bermondt's forces.
British Embassy Riga
National Library of Latvia
Latvian War Museum
The National Archives
Imperial War Museums
Ēriks Jēkabsons, Klāvs Zariņš
Līga Buka, Andra Jakoviča, Mark Sapsford, Keith Shannon, Ieva Zībārte, Ksenija Zviedre
Emilie Cloos, Patricia Keenan, Elizabeth Leach, Angela Pascoe, Neil Whitfield, Eileen Clarke, Professor Patrick Salmon, Professor Mark Watson-Gandy