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Thurnscoe Officer’s Link with Russia

January 1947

South Yorkshire Times, January 11, 1947

Thurnscoe Officer’s Link with Russia

Lietenant F. Witherington (20), only son of Mrs J. Molloy and the late J Witherington of 16, Grange Crescent, Thurnscoe East, is on leave from British occupied Austria, where he is serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment, looking after the Russian Military Mission in Syria.

The mission consists of a Russian officer with the equivalent rank of major in the British Army, who interviews displaced Russian personnel throughout Styria with a view to repatriation.

Lieut Witherington, with an English sergeant interpreter, accompanies the Russian officer on his daily rounds, making the necessary administrative arrangements between the Russian Mission and the British Forces.

“One of the most regular ports of call is at the displaced persons’ camp just outside Bruck, in Syria. Through the displaced personnel are under no obligation to se the Russian officer, they flock round and listen to the lectures he gives on life at present in the Soviet Union, read Soviet newspapers and see Soviet films.”

If the displaced persons agree to return to the Soviet, arrangements are made for immediate repatriation.

Lieut Witherspoon, who joined the Army in November 1944, was commissioned in September the following year. With the 5th Battalion the East Yorkshire Regiment he went to Egypt in December 1945, and later joined the 1st Battalion in Austria.

In addition to these duties, he is also Unit Entertainments officer, which includes arranging battalion dances and managing the local garrison theatre and cinema.

Prior to joining up, Lieut Witherington was on the office staff of the Ministry of Supply at Sprotborough, where he went shortly after leaving Wath Grammar School.