Escape to England

On September 16th, 1917, Tsarevich Alexei Romanov along with his four older sisters (Olga, Maria, Tatiana and Anastasia) departed from the western Finnish coastline in the cover of darkness, their destination: England.

Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Tsarina Alexandra were forced to abdicate their thrones after the February 1917 revolution. Realizing Russia was too dangerous to stay in, Nicholas tried to secure asylum for himself, his wife and their children in the United Kingdom (which was ruled over by Nicholas's and Alexandra's cousin, King George V). At first this was successful, but later because of protests, George was forced to withdraw the invitation. Nicholas tried to persuade King George until late summer when a compromise was made. The King agreed to take the children but NOT the Tsar or Tsarina. This was the best they could get, realized both of them, and so they sent the children.

Alexei was the youngest and was heartbroken to leave his Mother and Father but he eventually was convinced that there was no other way. Alexei promised to write to his parents whenever he could, and so on September 16th 1917 the children sneaked onto a docked ship (British owned) on the western Finnish coastline under the cover of darkness. The ship quickly left Finland for England. To be doubly sure that the children were not caught they wore tattered clothes to make them look poor and displaced this plan would hopefully stop anyone recognizing them straight away. This was a world where few faces were recognizable. But just a day into the voyage there "Neutral" cargo ship was stopped by the Russian navy. It was bordered and searched when finally the sailors got to the children Alexei recognized one of them, a man by the name of Dimitri Feoder. The sailor walked around the room a bit and eventually started staring and walking towards Alexei, Alexei later admitted he was literally wetting himself with fear. The sailor stopped by Alexei and asked him his name.

Alexei in sheer panic said "My name? Well, it's, um, ah, A-Alexei, um Valus, yes, Alexei Valus." He then wondered whether he should have said Alexei has that could bring Feoder through. But the sailor just nodded at Alexei and instead said "I see. Well, you definitely look like someone I once knew. I'll let you into a secret, it was the Tsarevich." Alexei simply said "Well, that would be impossible because I'm, um well, not related to the Romanovs." The old sailor said back "Of course you're not, or you wouldn't be dressed like THAT!" The disguise worked for all of them and they were free to continue with the voyage to England. Alexei had to go and change his trousers as he had completely soaked them in complete fear. Eventually they arrived in England two days later, Olga, the eldest was simply happy to admit that she was happy to see solid ground.

To continue to read search "Arrival and life in England (Tsar Alexei II).

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