Siamese cruise "Aurora"
The cruiser "Aurora" is rightfully called the ship number one of the Navy fleet Of Russia. The cruiser is a participant in the Battle of Tsushima, the 1917 revolution and the Great Patriotic War (the most important events in stories countries of the 20th century). It would seem that everything and everyone knows about the life of this ship. However, despite many publications, in the life of the cruiser there is still one little-known episode relating to the peaceful voyages of the Aurora. In 1911, the cruiser carried out a responsible diplomatic mission, representing the Russian Navy at the coronation of the King of Siam, in the capital of the state of Bangkok. On the eve of the impending world war, there was a tense struggle for the future foreign policy orientation of the countries of Southeast Asia, including Siam, and the Russian Empire could not ignore this. It is worth noting that diplomatic and trade relations between Russia and the Kingdom of Siam were established even 1898 year.
In August 1911, the cruiser Aurora, which was part of the training detachment of the ships of the Marine Corps, after a long voyage with midshipmen on board returned to Kronstadt. The stern left 25,5 thousand miles, visits to many countries in Europe and Asia, and most importantly, successful maritime training of the students of the corps. The cruiser was commanded at that time by captain 1 of the rank PN. Leskov - an experienced sailor, member of the Russian-Japanese war. On August 8, the naval minister I. K. Grigorovich held a cruiser on display. The Vice-Admiral N. O. Essen, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, reported: "There is nothing to see, everything is always in order." To this, the minister replied: "I know that," walked around the ship, thanked the crew "for the faithful service to the king and fatherland" and departed from the Aurora.
On August 13, the ship's commander P. N. Leskov turned over the case to the senior officer and went on vacation. But on the same day, a telegram of the Minister of the Navy came to the cruiser: "To the commander or his deputy to arrive at me tomorrow at eight o'clock in the morning." At the appointed time, Grigorovich received a senior officer, Aurora Stark, who answered the question "Can a cruiser take a serious voyage in three weeks?" Answered in the affirmative. Having heard the agreement, the Minister set the task: to sail to Bangkok for the coronation of the Siamese king. Arriving in Siam should be no later than November 16. In the Mediterranean Sea, the Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich and Royal Nikolai, representing the sovereign-emperor, were supposed to sit on the Aurora. Having set the task, the minister ended his conversation, wishing the crew of the ship success and happy sailing.
Despite the understandable fatigue from the previous (almost two-year) voyage, the personnel of the Aurora took this news with great satisfaction. Began preparing for a new campaign. All officers were recalled from vacations, small repairs were required on the ship, and various supplies were loaded. However, the main task of the crew was to place on the cruiser the Grand Duke, his retinues and servants, as well as 200 students of non-commissioned officers, 70 Yung, 16 ship midshipmen, one officer over the set, orchestra. In this case, it was necessary to take into account the presence on board of a full-time crew of 570 people. And although the time was running out, by the appointed time all the necessary was completed.
September 8 "Aurora" came to Revel, where the fleet commander conducted a thorough inspection of the cruiser, was again satisfied with his condition and gave a warm farewell to the crew before going to shore. In the evening, the cruiser was removed from the anchor. The ships and ships on the Revel raid accompanied him by lifting signals with the wishes of a happy voyage.
While sailing on the ship, in parallel with studies, carrying the watch of the watch, preparations for receiving distinguished guests continued. Leaving behind parking in Plymouth and Algeria, according to the transition plan, on September 28 the Aurora arrived in Naples. The following evening, the Grand Duke arrived on a cruiser. At the same time, the news came that the Greek prince was not on the ship. Raising the flag of the Grand Duke and making a ceremonial salute, "Aurora" left the Italian coast. October 5 ship arrived in Port Said and then, passing through the Suez Canal, October 14 arrived in Aden. In all the designated points of the camps for command and officers of the ship, local authorities arranged receptions and meetings, paid visits to the cruiser. This was considered as a kind of diplomatic work in the interests of Russia.
On October 22, the ship entered the Indian Ocean and arrived in Colombo two days later. Because of the strike of the British miners, complications began with the loading of coal. Instead, Singapore had to go to Sabang, where they arrived on November 5, where the ship took the coal, and November 6 went to Singapore.
Exactly at the appointed time, on November 16 at 10 o'clock in the morning, the Aurora anchored in Bangkok's raid. Nearby were the Siamese yacht Makhachakari under the standard of the Duke of Südermanland and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the English cruiser Astraea under the standard of the Prince of Teksky, the Japanese cruiser Ibuki, two Siamese gunners. Upon the arrival of the Russian ship, a salute was effected to all standards "in turn, in order of precedence."
The Russian envoy and the younger son of the Siamese prince arrived with anchoring on the Aurora. They congratulated the Grand Duke and the crew on a safe arrival. Unfortunately, as GK recalled. Stark, our envoy was far from aware of how the coronation ceremony will take place and who should be officially present. Naturally, all this caused the displeasure of the Grand Duke. It was decided that the grand duke with his retinue and two officers of the ship, including the commander of the Aurora, would go to the celebrations. At about half past eleven on a Siamese yacht, they departed for Bangkok, and there was a lull on the ship.
The days of celebration were four days - from 18 to 21 November. 19 November, on the day of the coronation, was given a salute from 100 volleys. On the roadstead where the ships were stationed, a naval parade was held. When it got dark, the Aurora was decorated with bright illumination. On the same day, on board the Siamese gunboat for officers of the ships who arrived at the celebrations, they gave a dinner, during which conversations were conducted solely on maritime subjects, not a word was said about the war, the Japanese (and the Russian-Japanese war had recently ended) Stark's memories, "behaved immaculately." Later, Russian sailors staged a return dinner in honor of the officers of the Siamese canlodka, who also passed in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
On November 20, a group of Aurora officers visited Bangkok, examined the exotic city, the royal palace, took part in festive ceremonies, although not as officials, but simply private guests. An interesting characteristic given by G.K. Starck to the King of Siam, then ascended the throne: Stark reported that the prince was educated in England and is considered a learned man. The first reform he did when he ascended the throne was to dissolve the harem of the old king, in which there were 300 wives. He attached the children to the poorhouse, and simply kicked everyone else away. He himself is a bachelor, and does not want to marry, which, it seems, does not like his subjects. The army of Siam at that time consisted of 30 thousand people, and all of it was located in the capital of the state. In addition to the official army, the king had a regular, so-called tiger army. Representatives of famous Siamese surnames served in it, "from boys 10-12 years to old generals." They all wore the original beautiful form. Nobody obliged them to serve, but everyone considered it an honor to be a "tiger."
The lower ranks of the cruiser also went ashore. Their behavior was impeccable. However, in the spirit of the time, it was not without a serious incident. A dozen sailors "Aurora", who were on the shore, received acute food poisoning. Two of them died. The ship's doctor was afraid that this might be an outbreak of cholera, and on the ship they quickly took preventive measures. Dead sailors were buried in the Bangkok cemetery. These sad events overshadowed the stay of the ship in the Kingdom of Siam. On the ship, the official reception and participation of officials from the crew of the cruiser in a number of receptions on the coast was canceled.
On the evening of November 30, the Grand Duke returned to the cruiser with his retinue, the Aurora raised the anchor and went home. In Singapore, a solemn ritual of production for the officers of the naval midshipmen of the Marine Corps took place on the ship. The Grand Duke warmly congratulated the pupils of the oldest naval educational institution with the assignment of the first officer title of midshipman. A ceremonial breakfast was arranged for the young officers. "Now," noted G. K. Stark in his diary, "an 48 man was already sitting at the table in the mess-room."
When crossing the equator on the ship, they staged a traditional holiday of Neptune. "God of the seas and oceans" congratulated all those who first crossed the zero parallel of our planet. Then there was "baptism" - everyone was thrown into a large bath made of an awning. They started with the Grand Duke, ended up as sailors. The latter was thrown into the water, much to the delight a lively little piglet. In the evening, they had a magnificent dinner at which, it was the only time during the voyage, there were alcoholic drinks on the table. "
The new, 1912, year, the crew of the Aurora met in Colombo. On the ship was a decorated Christmas tree. The Grand Duke handed out gifts to the whole team, and the mess-room presented the perfect brother for the bastard of an old Siamese work. In the evening, for the crew members a concert of the orchestra and "ship talents" took place.
Passing the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and Port Said, the 2 February cruiser arrived at the Greek port of Piraeus. Here he was visited by the Russian mission. February 11 in Naples on the ship arrived Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna, who handed over the commander of the Aurora and some officers of the cruiser of the order "for faithful service." February 22, wishing the crew success in their further service, the Aurora left the Grand Duke. It seemed that the ship, which was no longer burdened by the presence of distinguished guests, could return to its native shores. He fulfilled his mission. However, on February 19, the cruiser commander received a telegram: go to Crete. He began his service as a senior Russian stationer on this island in the bay of the Court.
The presence of the Aurora in a foreign port to demonstrate the military presence was determined by the international situation of that time. Officially then Crete belonged to Turkey, but was populated mainly by Greeks, who sought to join Greece. In order to support the interests of Turkey, the "Protecting Powers" of Crete (England, Russia, and France) blocked the island in order to prevent the deputies of Crete from entering Greece, where Parliament considered the inclusion of the island into the Greek state. Despite this “wardship”, 15 of April 20 of Cretan deputies tried to leave the island on a steamer. However, they were intercepted at sea by the English cruiser Minerva. Seven deputies were sent to the Aurora for maintenance as prisoners until the completion of the work of the Greek parliament. However, it is worth noting that on the Russian ship the deputies were kept for a whole month, far from being prisoners. They even came to the mess-room along with the officers. But this was already the decision of the cruiser commander, and not the Petersburg dignitaries at all.
On March 7, a telegram arrived on the ship, which the Navy Minister recalled Senior Lieutenant GK Stark to Russia. Having relocated to the Khivinets canal ship, he reached Piraeus, and from there by boat to his native Kronstadt. The cruiser also lingered for a long time, performing a difficult diplomatic watch, and returned to Kronstadt only on July 16 of the year 1912.
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- Technical engineer