The little-kwn intervention by the RAF in aid of the White Armies during the Russian Civil War began in 1919. Marion Aten, an American flyer from California who had joined the RAF, was invited by WWI ace Raymond Collishaw join Squadron 47's B Flight, bound for the southern Russian front. The ensuing war between the Whites, Reds and Greens was particularly vicious and the cruelty, suffering and despair - both military and civilian - was monumental. 'Last Train Over Rostov Bridge' is Marion Aten's account of the beginning optimism - 'Moscow by Christmas' - when White Cavalry units came within 200 miles of the capital, followed by the long and tumultuous retreat through Rostov to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. B Flight found itself caught up in the stream of terrified, typhus-ridden refugees who, along with the White armies, were fleeing the dreaded Reds. This is a highly personal account of B Flight's campaign and was written as a rousing yarn of adventure for the sake of adventure, of companionship and bravery, and ultimately of heartbreak and death. Beyond the caviar, vodka and beautiful Russian girls, Aten - as a prestigious flyer - had access to the top command of the southern Russian armies including Baron Wrangel and watched as infighting and lack of resources condemned the White cause there to collapse. How different the history of the 20th century might have been if the Whites had prevailed in this 'side-show' abandoned by a war-weary Western world.
Marion Hughes Aten, DFC, was the son of a Texas Ranger and grew up California's Imperial Valley. After volunteering for the RAF, he fought in Russia and Mesopotamia. He retired from the RAF in 1927 and took over the family ranch where he died in 1961.