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Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

Article about: Russian Imperial Army-Kornylovcy

  1. #1

    Default Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Hello everyone!

    This is my first post on this Forum, in fact on any Forum!

    I have been researching my family history, which has links to the Russian Imperial Army.

    I have a picture of my Great Grandad call Baron Gune Uexkull-Gyllenbandt. (unsure of exact spelling!)

    He apperently was a Captain of the Russian Imperial Artillery and in the 1st C.C according to an old calling card I have of his.

    He fled to the UK via Turkey in 1922 after fighting in the White Army. We knew him as George Smith! His father was a Colonel in the Imperial Army but i have no photo's of him, he calls himself Lyon Smith on George's marriage certificate.

    Can some one help me understand more about his military career and perhaps when this photo was taken? I know he was born in Russia in 1900 and looks very young here. What does 1st C.C stand for? I also can not seem to identify the shoulder board in the ID books I have of military uniform. It seems like it has one stripe and a small star and crossed rifles or swords? Can any one make out the badge on the cap? It is not a good picture i'm afraid.
    A great Aunt said he was awarded the George Cross for bravery but this family heir loom has been "lost". Is there any way of verifing this? Is there a record/book of the medals awarded?

    I also have a picture of a Russian Relative called Vera who was a Red Cross Nurse but there is some debate over the war she fought in. The family say's Crimean but i think this is too early? Family legend also say's she was grewsomly cut into 4 peices, but i have no way of varifing this nor do i know why!! She has medals in the picture but they are not well seen.

    Sorry for all the questions on my first post! Thank you for any time spent helping with me this. I look forward to any replies.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    What a shame i have to reply to my own thread!!

    I suppose this must either be a tricky question or just not very interesting?

    Since my post i have done some reasearch and have found a reference in a book by Mikhail Khvostov - The Russian Cival War (2) White Armies. It talks of uniforms in north-west Russia, and states that some volenteer units had the own outfits......"The Colonel Dibitch Detachment had it's own metal badge - a star covered by crossed swords."
    Is it possible that this is a badge on the should board, and the one stripe is for Captain as i was told? Does anyone know more about the Colonel Dibitch Detachment?

    Also the mysterious Nurse remarkably resembles Folorence Nightingale!!! But this i'm sure is impossible, as hardly any pictures exist of her as she disliked being photographed. Also i don't think she would fit in to my family tree, although her mother's maiden name was spookly smith!!!

    Anyway, hopefully i won't have to speak to myself much longer and someone might have a reason to replyto my rambling.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Hi Bexster!

    Very interesting photos. I might have a few ideas about the photo of your Great Grandad.

    As mentioned, born in 1900 and he certainly looks very young, the photo was clearly taken during the Civil war period or just after. Say he's 18-19 years of age here - simple mathematics - 1918/19. Fled from Turkey in 1922, you mentioned, which probably meant the Gallipoli camp. Then he was, with some certainty, a member of Wrangel's white army, and possibly one of the "colourful regiments" (Kornilovtsy, Drozdovtsy etc.). Might have come from other units also, of course, and it's not totally impossible that he once served in another theatre of war, but still ended up in Gallipoli.

    His uniform conforms well with a RCW period - and not to be forgotten, a post-war migr period (mid-/late 1920s) - uniform. The bright cap band/stripe is rather intriguing, but I can't give any explanation at this point. I can't detect any other distinguishing, unit related details, apart from his shoulder boards. The cap badge is a RIA pattern officer's cockade, standard for RCW era officers also.

    His shoulder boards are most probably late WW1/RCW soft, subdued pattern (possibly locally or privately manufactured) for artillery officers, black with red piping. The rank is indicated by a singe red stripe and a single 5-pt star: ensign or sometimes translated junior lieutenant. Oddly enough, a captain would have worn no stars at all, only a stripe. The badge is the crossed cannons of the artillery. I have attached a reconstruction image.

    BTW, the Uexkull-Gyllenband nobility family is known over here, in Sweden, too, as the von Yxkull-Gyllenband branch. Might have some more info to share about that.

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army


    I can not offer much help here concerning your search, but perhaps it may be wise to learn to transfer your thoughts and questions from English into Russian language and forward them to one of the many Russian language forums that exist pertaining to the subject of Imperial militaria and Tsarist history.

    One of them residing here: - "WW2" ->

    This online translator : Free Translation Online has a lot to offer, but it is limited to exact, literal translation. So, IMO, you must practice, practice, and practice using it without ANY AND ALL non-colloquial and slang words - in order to transfer what you truly want to say/ask...

    Good luck.

    Fellow collectors are NOT adversaries to be bested...

    ☭ "Ричик, я не понимаю, почему, почему ты тратишь деньги на эти вещи!" ☭

  5. #5

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Hi Guy's, thank you so much for your time to answer my post.
    Very interesting info about the uniform, it certainly fits the story. perhaps this photo was taken before he was a Captain, and presumably before he recieved the George Cross as he is not wearing it! Is it possible he would have been promoted to Captain because of an act of heroism that would also have been why he might have recieved the medal?
    I looked more on the interent on the colourful regiments and found loads of photos on U tube with officers wearing the white cap band in the Drozdovtsy regiment as you stated. I'm no expert, but it certainly looks like a match to me. Why was this cap band intruging to you? Was it that you could not place it, or something else? Also, Drozdovtsy himself was based in Kiev which is where the family had a home as well as St Petersburg.
    Is there any way of finding out who was enlisted in the Drozdovtsy regiment? Any museums in Russia etc who have the archives? What about a medal recipient list?

    George's father was called Lyon Smith and was a Colonel in the Imperial Army. Is it likely that they served in the same regiment, or was that not a done thing???

    I will also try posting on a Russian forum as mentioned by the Administrator, luckily i have someone who has agreed to kindly translate for me, so i will post back if i find out some more info.

    As for the family name, i now have confirmation of the spelling as Uexkull von Guldenbandt. I believe this to be the German way of spelling the family name. Very confusing why the name is spelt in many different way's depending on the country! It makes it difficult trying to trace where in the family my G - Grandad fit's in! I have also heard from other relatives that the name has been shortened and should have Tishenhausen in the title too. Could this infact be the Tiesenhausen family and our family spelling was anglified? Although i think this subject belongs on another thread somewhere not related to this forem. Sorry for deviating!
    All thoughts and help especially on the strange Nurse greatly recieved. Do we think these are Russian Nursing medals?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    I'm reasonably sure that Nurse Vera is World War I and/or RCW.

    I have a photo of my grandmother, who was a British Red Cross VAD nurse during WWI in very similar gear.

    The small Red Cross medal Vera is wearing is very similar to one my grandmother had, but the other medals are definitely not British. I would say Russian Imperial.

    You can forget the Crimean War (1854-55). Military nursing was in its infancy. Check out Florence Nightingale.

    Red Cross was conceived by Henri Dunant after the Battle of Solferino in 1859 and International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in 1863.

    I can't add anything to what others have said about the army uniform.....but the family name is surely of Swedish origin.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    PS to my last post:

    The George Cross is a high British decoration, but the Cross of St.George and the Medal of St. George were Russian Imperial. They came in various classes.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Well, he is not a Captain on this photo, but promotion was probably fast during the RCW. Other experts have to comment on the Order of St. George/Cross of St. George, and to what extent they were issued by White army commands after 1917.

    Re the cap that looks like a rather narrow STRIPE (probably white, possibly some other bright colour). Drozdovtsy actually wore white cap BANDS with black piping, that, is, the complete lower part of the cap was white, with black borders. Many artillery officers of the "Colourful regiments" also seem to have chosen to wear their old RIA pattern artillery cap instead.

    This doesn't rule out a possible Drozdovtsy connection, but to me the stripe is a bit of a mystery. It might be the distinction of another unit or simply a temporary duty stripe of some kind.

    I can recommend this website (in Russian):

    Theoretically - without knowing details - he and his father could very well have served together, there are a few examples known to me, for example Manshteyn.

    It's a long shot, but the Swedish House of Nobility might be able to assist you in some way regarding the complicated history of the Uexkll-Gldenband/Yxkull-Gyllenband/Uexkull von Guldenbandt family.

    Riddarhuset : Engelska

    I am confident there are German nobility associations, and possibly Russian and Estonian as well, or at least genealogy associations that could give you some help.

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Hello again everyone!
    Its been a while since my last post but hopefully i have some more interesting info that will be of interest. I have made contact with a relative who had George's Military career written down in Russian, and has had it translated in to English. There is a lot of text so i will try and up load images of the scanned documents. Let me know what you think about the campaigns and the uniform etc. I am particulary interested in the medals. As we now have the issue numbers is there any way of seeing if they still exist in a collection, or an award book? We also have found in a box what looks to be a pin for a medal. All opinions greatly recieved. Becky
    PS We also have his military accademy school report but i have not had this translated yet.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Identifying shoulder boards and Uniform etc Russian Imperial Army

    Russian Imperial Army-Markovci
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