Author Topic: The uniforms of Alexis  (Read 43195 times)

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aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2009, 04:44:39 PM »
Outstanding and comprehensive, Daniel !   Well done!   Best regards,  AP

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2009, 07:21:54 PM »


Same cap, isn't it, of  Life-Guards’ Engineers Battalion, from Toys of Tsar's children, or Na Detskoi polovine Russian book. Similar caps appears in some Aleksei's photos.  ;-)

[/quote]

Nena you are right about the cap pattern being the same. In 1909 a new headgear pattern, based on the 1812 style shako (« kiver » in Russian), was introduced for all Guards’ Infantry, Rifles, Artillery and Engineers units with the exception of the LG Pavlovsky Regiment who kept their old Grenadier mitres, and the 4th Imperial Family Rifles who kept their typical cap. The various units could be distinguished by regimental cap-band and button colours, honour scrolls and other devices (such as crossed cannons for artillery). All had the star of St. Andrew (reserved for the Guards). Officers’ shakos were basically tsar’s green (with various braids to show rank), lower ranks were black. On full dress order, a white or black plume was worn. On undress order, it was replaced by a pompon, as the one shown of the photo you’ve posted (Alexei in winter dress, LG Jaegersky Regiment).

All ranks had a braided-like shako string (« kutas ») hung on the back of the cap with a tassel on each side. Commanding officers and Chiefs of regiments ALSO had a string IN FRONT of the shako, over the star of St. Andrew. So when Alexei has one on his, it means he’s the Chief of the regiment as can be seen on this photo showing him in his full-dress uniform of  the Life-Guards Moskovsky Regiment (probably taken for the regiment's jubilee in 1911):



Can't trust the museums though, as some shakos have lost their strings...better check old photos!

In the case of the Life-Guards Jaegersky Regiment, Alexei’s shako doesn’t have a front string because the chief of the regiment was his father. BTW, I have seen the greatcoat that's on your photo. It’s now in the Hermitage collection :


« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 07:25:20 PM by Daniel Briere »
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Offline Ausmanov

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2009, 12:04:00 AM »
Thank you so much Daniel. Your reputation in this area is very well deserved. I had no idea that he was involved in so many regiments, I knew he was very fond of the military though. can you recommend a good place to find information on this subject or did you just pick up little piece's of information from all over. Where did you find those find those shoulder-boards? Ive got a small collection of my own but nothing like that.
God never closes a door without opening a window

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2009, 01:43:54 PM »
Wow!  :o THANK YOU, if I may add this my little add Russian link about his regiment:

Wartime regiment, Battalion:

http://historydoc.edu.ru/catalog.asp?cat_ob_no=13047&ob_no=13710

But you are simply fantastic, I appreciate your work and huge knowledge, Sir!

I wonder, did he wear uniform during war days because of some regiments, or his peronal will, or traditional thing, since war was then? Also, can't define his uniforms he wore during visiting Stavka, I believe they are just regular uniforms, expect Cossack one from Ocober 4th of 1916. I remember you said Alexandra wasn't present, because of her illness. Thank you again! 

Sotnia Cossack review, july 4th 1916, Mogilev , GHQ - Stavka:



October 4th 1916:



With count A. Grabbe (last one), same year, July 4th (first one, I think same day) and October 4th (second one):



I think 4th one is typical day for reviewing troops, or just    incidental?



Ausmanov & Nena, thank you for your kind words. Nena, about your photo link, for those who don’t read Russian, I will add that the link to « Wartime regiment, Battalion » shows the 1st Battalion of the 14th Gruzinsky Grenadier Regiment.

Nena : before I try to answer your questions about Alexei’s Wartime uniforms, I will add the following link to a very large size photo of Egornov’s portrait of Alexei in his LG Finlandsky Regiment uniform :
http://www.belygorod.ru/img2/RusskieKartinki/Used/616rnov_CesarevichAlekseGRM.jpg

Colour balance isn’t correct though, as Alexei’s shouldn’t be that blue but « tsar’s green » (somewhat like dark turquoise). Details of a regimental Chief shako can be seen clearly, with the shako cords on the back and front. The painting is set up in the Alexander Palace Portrait Hall. Interesting to see how it looked liked in colour. If I’m not mistaken, the red vase has survived.

Campaign uniforms : in 1909 the Russian Army adopted a universal field service dress of grey-green colour which Russians call « protective colour » (zashchitnaya) and I will call khaki.  From then on, Field service dress basically all looked alike especially for lower ranks who wore a peasant-like blouse (« gymnastiorka ») over loose pants of the same colour (except in the Cavalry where blue or grey pants were worn). Reversible shoulder boards were worn with the blouse : regimental colour on one side (for parades and off-duty service), khaki on the other side (for service at the Front). As the 1914 British Army Handbook of the Russian Army puts it :
« The unit to which an officer or man belongs can best be ascertained, in the case of Guards units, by the coloured piping on the collar, cuffs and shoulder-straps; in the case of all other units, by the distinguishing marks on the shoulder-straps. There are also certain additional guides which may be useful useful aids in determining the unit to which an individual belongs: these are the colour of the shoulder-straps of the greatcoat (…), the colour of the collar patches on the greatcoat, and, in the case of the cavalry, the coloured stripe on the breeches. »

So in most cases, only minute details could identify to which units men belonged : during the War even the rank insignias and units ID became as inconspicuous as possible so that, even with binoculars, the enemy wouldn’t be able to identify which units were where. By now, you will certainly have understood that on black & white photos, without colour references, most war-time uniforms cannot be identified unless a close-up can show the shoulder-boards, or a regimental insignia.

It is known that Nicholas II had some favourite uniforms for daily wear : amongst them, the one from his Own 4th Imperial Family Rifles, which luckily for us can easily be identified – even in war-time - by their peasant-like blouse along with their unique shoulder-board pattern and cockade on forage cap. On special occasions, such as one of his regiments’ holidays, he would wear the uniform of the regiment of the day. When there were many oh his regiments – at reviews or manoeuvers for instance - as a special favour, he would often choose the uniform of a regiment which had distinguished itself. In any case, the officers and men of a regiment always took great pride to see the Emperor dressed in their regiment’s uniform. Before the Alexei did the same as his father. It is more difficult to prove he did the same during the War as he usually wore the uniform of an ordinary soldier. Only correctly captioned photos, diary entries, memoirs of witnesses and the Court Diary (« Kamer-furiersky zhurnal ») could give us some clues. In theory, for daily wear he could pick any of his 23 regiments, and even any of the 38 other regiments he was enlisted in, though I doubt very much that when travelling to Stavka they would pack more than a few uniforms at the time, taking in consideration those to be worn on upcoming special occasions.

Luckily though, all Caucasian Cossack units had a different summer & winter field dress than the the others so they are less difficult to identify.

Your photos no. 1, 4 & 6 show Alexei in summer field-dress with a white leather belt. This undoubtedly indicate a Guards’ regiment – as do the plain colour shoulder-boards I have seen elsewhere (Line regiments and other units had numbers, letters & specialty badges and wore black leather belts). As for which regiment, I can’t tell but it’s not the Cossack Escort, even though he and his father are reviewing one of its detachment. In N. V. Galushkin’s book « Sobstvennyi Ego Imperatorskogo Velichestva Konvoi », your photo no. 4 is captioned as « Return from the Front of the 4th Life-Guards’ Terek Sotnia. Report to the Sovereign Emperor from Sotnia Commander Captain Tatonov. 1916.»




 

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 01:45:43 PM by Daniel Briere »
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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2009, 02:06:35 PM »
Here’s another photo showing Alexei in an unidentified Guard’s regiment winter dress. Quite interesting, as he is wearing a withe leather belt with a side arm which he usually didn’t do, except for fromal photo shoots, as he could have injured himself with it :



Your photo no. 3 is quite blurred but it doesn’t seem the Tsar and Alexei are wearing the Winter Escort uniform but rather an Army one.

Your photo no. 5 cannot have been taken on October 4, 1916 but rather a year earlier. Alexei looks smaller than on your photo no. 2 and although both photos were taken during an  Escort’s regimental holiday parade, the Emperor, Alexei and the Escort aren’t wearing the same uniform. On photo no. 5 they are wearing the so-called « everyday » dress uniform :  dark blue « cherkesska » (long Caucasian wool coat) with silver braid for officers , red « beshmet » (long Caucasian blouse) with silver braid and shoulder boards for officers. This uniform was worn as war-time parade dress until late 1915. As Colonel Galushkin (a former Escort officer) wrote in his book (my translation) : « The Parade at Stavka on the day of the Konvoi’s regimental holiday in 1915 was the last parade where the Sovereign Emperor, the Heir Tsesarevich, the officers and cossacks had the blue Konvoi uniform. For war-time a campaign uniform was established by Highest Order » (starting in late 1915 a khaki cherkesska coat –without braid – was worn over the red beshmet blouse with silver braid). This is the uniform they are wearing on your photo no. 2. Here is a photo showing both uniforms worn by Nicholas II (1915 on the left, 1916 on the right):



As colonel Galushkin recalls in his book (he was in attendance that day), your photo no. 2 was taken, at Stavka on October 4, 1916 after the religious service (« moleben ») and parade of the Escort’s 1st & 2nd Life-Guards Kuban Sotnias (Cossack squadrons) held for the their last regimental holiday before the Revolution. As Galushkin wrote, instead of the usual photo shoot, Court photographers took photos and also filmed the celebrations. (I have seen film excerpts showing part of the parade and later the group of officers with the IF standing still for your photo then disbanding. At the end the Imperial Family walks away smiling. It’s quite eery to see them happy as it might have been the last time the Imperial Family was ever filmed. Unfortunately, although she was present at Moghilev, as Galuskin wrote, Empress Alexandra was unwell and didn’t attend the ceremonies. Therefore she doesn’t appear on any photos or film shot that day.  In his diary, Alexei indeed writes (my translation): « 4 October: This morning there was the Konvoi parade. Went to the moleben. For lunch, went to Mama on the train. »

 If I’m not mistaken, this photo shows 2 cherkesskas which belonged to Alexei and are now on display at the Alexander Palace (the khaki cherkesska he wore on October 4, 1916 is on the right – shoulder boards with silver braid & cartridges missing; red one on the left was his peace-time parade dress (epaulettes & cartrides missing) :



The next day, an interesting event occured. October 5th was Alexei’s namesday and also the holiday of all Kuban & Terek Cossack Troops. As the Escort was composed of Kuban & Terek Cossacks, and Alexei being Ataman (Chief) of all Cossack Troops, celebrations were in order for a second day. The Imperial Family, the Escort and the hang-ranking officers from Headquarters went to Mogilev cathedral for a religious service where special prayers were sung for the health of the Heir. Then, as Nicholas II wrote in his diary, a lunch was served for 80 people. As usual, Alexei received a lot of congratulations and gifts, but on that day, as both he and his father recorded, a special gift was offered to him : a uniform kit from his own 1st Volgsky Terek Cossack Regiment, which his father had made him colonel-in-chief of a few months earlier (in his diary his father wrote they received « a deputation from the 1st Volgksy Regiment which presented Alexei with a blue cherkesska with arms »). Here is how Alexei described the day :

 « 5 October : Went to church. (…) After mass received congratulations. In the morning there was a delegation from the 1st Volgsky-Terek Cossack Troop. Wore their uniform which they brought me, and photos were taken with the group. Received a lot of telegrams and letters. At lunch were all the family and lots of guests. There was no outing. Played with toy soldiers. After supper went to the movies. Both the drama and the comedy were OK. At 8 PM went with Papa to see Mama on the train. Came back at 10 PM. »

Little did he know he had just described the last official celebration of his namesday (it was a holiday in Imperial Russia).

I don’t recall having seen any of the photos taken on that day but here is a photo of a blue cherkesska that was on display at the Alexander Palace. Could it be the one Alexei received?



Nena : I hope I have answered your questions.

Ausmanov : I will get back to you ASAP.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 02:10:16 PM by Daniel Briere »
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Offline nena

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2009, 10:08:20 AM »
Sir, Daniel Briere, thank you so much for your patience and will you did! Well done. I learned many new things about him/his wearing. Of course you answered to my questions, and I am speechless - wow!

The one you posted of NII and Aleskei with Russian description, was taken IMO, during winter of 1915/6, in front of Governor's House art Mogilev.

Moleben at Mogilev, October 4th 1916:



During war, sorry for size:






This photo was taken in late of 1915, when Aleksei recieved St. George medal, right?:




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Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2009, 10:44:23 AM »
Nena : It’s hard to date my photo with Russian description as we can’t see if Nicholas II & Alexei are wearing their St. George’s Cross/Medal or not. Seems to me the photo wasn’t taken in front of the Governor’s House but rather in front of the adjacent GHQ building (former Governor’s Office & District Tribunal). A Tower can be barely be seen behind. Must be the Ratusha’s (Town Hall) on Governor’s Square

 

from where this photo below was taken. Click on this one for larger size :



(From Russian Archives, « the Emperor reviewing the Konvoi, Mogilev, August 1915 » most probably August 23rd when Nicholas II arrived at Mogilev to take over as Commander-in-Chief) ; the GHQ was in the building on the left, the Govenor’s Mansion next to it (on top of photo).

As for your « Moleben at Mogilev » photo , it couldn’t have been taken on October 4th 1916 as no one is wearing a Cossack uniform (and there was no other ceremony on that day). Only thing I can say is that it was taken after October 25th, 1915 as Alexei’s Medal of St. George can be seen on his uniform, and the Order of St. George’s ribbon on Nicholas II’s greatcoat too.

Your last photo was indeed taken late in 1915, shortly after October 25 to publicize the fact that the Emperor and the Heir had just been decorated for their bravery having been in harm’s way during an inspection at the Front. It was published in newspapers and magazines all over Russia.

So here are good hints for dating Nicholas II & Alexei’s photos. According to rules, the Order of St. George was the only medal to be worn under all dress orders amd at all times, even at the Front. So if you see Nicholas II with his St. George’s Cross 4th class (or sometimes only its ribbon on his greatcoat) it means the photo was taken after October 25, 1915. Same with Alexei, who always proudly wore his medal of St. George, 4th class, similar to this one :



Now, an extra hint regarding Alexei : in May 1916, after returning to Stavka after his illness, his father promoted him to the rank of lance-corporal (efreitor). On some close-ups the insignia rank (one stripe of dark orange across the shoulder-straps (pogoni) can be seen quite clearly, as on this one (who knows maybe it was taken on the day he arrived at Mogilev? He was very happy to come back) :

 

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« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 10:52:42 AM by Daniel Briere »
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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2009, 10:49:50 AM »
Thank you so much Daniel. (...) I had no idea that he was involved in so many regiments, I knew he was very fond of the military though. can you recommend a good place to find information on this subject or did you just pick up little piece's of information from all over. Where did you find those find those shoulder-boards? Ive got a small collection of my own but nothing like that.

Ausmanov : apart from the Russian Archives & Museums, the best place to find information on the Romanov is…a good university or public library! Unfortunately, there is no one single book you will find everything you want to know in. At least not in English, although I’ll send you a few suggestions later. An interesting book would be the biography of Alexei by Princess Eugenie of Greece published in 1990 but alas, it’s in French and to my knowledge hasn’t been translated in English (maybe I should do it!): Le Tsarévitch enfant martyr; avec son journal inédit (« The Martyred Child Tsarevich, with his never published Diary ») : quite interesting, especially for the diary Alexei wrote in 1918 while in Tobolsk, which she found in her late father’s papers (Prince George of Greece who saved Nicholas II’s life in Japan).

So yes, I picked up little pieces of information here and there. Did a lot of reading (history books, biographies, memoirs, etc.) and research. For instance, found some interesting stuff in old magazines and newspapers published in Pre-Revolutionary Russia and by Russian Emigrés after the Revolution. Thinking about it, with all the research material I have, maybe I should write a book!

Daniel Briere

Offline nena

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2009, 11:49:46 AM »
Thank you for all corrcetions, Sir.



-----

Read it was taken on Mogilev Railway station in early 1916.


Said to be same place.

Same day:



Also seen photo taken by Bulla taken in 'May of 1916' -- NII, Aleksei and Aleksandra leaving the train after arriving to Stavka.



How about this uniform and date of taking photo?:


Same day as previous?:


Regular uniform, or?:



Isn't this Governor's House at Mogilev:



Sorry if I make you bore. But your posts are excellent  8)!

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Offline nena

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2009, 09:45:52 AM »
Found this:



1915 -- 8th Grenaderskiii Moscow's Regiment review.

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Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: What uniform is this?
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2009, 10:22:38 PM »
Hi Nena,

You don't bore me at all. You are doing an excellent job and everything you post is very interesting. As I' ll be spending the next few weeks on a special project I won't be able to post. Will be back with my input ASAP. Meanwhile if you're interested in the Cossack Escort, I found that Galushlin's book is online (with photos at the end):
http://regiment.ru/Lib/A/5/1.htm

Keep up the good work!
Daniel Briere

Offline Olga Maria

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Re: The uniforms of Alexis
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2009, 08:10:06 PM »

Amazing colored fotos  by the most wonderful Yelena Aleksandrovna. Endless thank you very much!

Offline nena

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Re: The uniforms of Alexis
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2009, 09:55:29 AM »
IMO, these are not Aleksei's uniforms, IMO, they are too large for him, and design of uniforms don't match with Aleksei's ones.
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aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: The uniforms of Alexis
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2009, 11:19:18 AM »
Attention "nena":   Regarding the pictures in Repy #10, you are correct.  In NO way are those uniforms of the Heir.  The first (not labeled as the Heir's uniform) is a sea-going uniform that appears to be US (?) Navy (from patch on arm) and the second uniform (labeled as the Heir's) is a Soviet uniform (note the Red Star on the cap, the buckle with the star, etc.).  I've no idea why they are presumed to be associated with the Heir. (Perhaps the poster could explain her reasoning on these?)  I have personally seen original clothing of the Heir taken from his wardrobes at the Alexander Palace and his size is indeed rather small.   (Additionally see my posting #6 of Nov. 7, 2007, on this thread.)    Best regards,   AP
« Last Edit: March 24, 2009, 11:25:51 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Olga Maria

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Re: The uniforms of Alexis
« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2009, 04:07:19 AM »
I'm sorry if I misidentified the uniforms as Alexei's. I  got it from a website featuring some photos of Livadia and I thought those uniforms could be his. Thanks for telling me, too.

Amazing colored fotos  by the most wonderful Yelena Aleksandrovna. Endless thank you very much!