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Information about British (Scottish) officers in Russian service


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Hello!

I am looking for information about 3 officers of Scottish origin mentioned in photo below.

The source is  The Bystander - Wednesday 30 September 1914.

But on this photo we see not ordinary Russian officers, but officers of his Imperial Majesty's retinue on the palace square of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg in 1914, among them are several grand dukes!

So probably the description is absolutely incorrect.

if it possible please help me to find any info about mentioned Colonel Robertson, Colonel Gillivray and Major-General Ross in the Britich army archives.

Probably they are members of the British military mission in Russia in the Great war?

I was able to find information about the awarding of Major Robertson, an employee of the British military mission, the Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class, in the Russian archives in 1916.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

1914.jpg

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I was able also to find a group photo of officers of British military in Petrograd: Major General D. Wolf-Murray, Major Robertson, Captain George-Lloyd and Colonel of the Russain General Staff Mukhanov, who is attached to the mission.

But it seems ttat details of uniforms of British officers don't match with this description again :(

Please clarify ...

Mission.jpg

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sadbrewer

This article suggests they are of Scottish descent. From The Sketch, May 1907.

Courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20210420-122818.jpg

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FROGSMILE

In the second photo the three officers are dressed for their appointments on the general staff and so wearing associated gorgets (collar tabs, usually red, but in other colours for some specialisms) and cap insignia (including gold lace on the peaks), rather than the regimental insignia that they would wear if below the rank of Colonel, or not on the general staff.

 

In the first photo the officers of Scots origin (presumably descent) are wearing Russian imperial uniform, which they would not do as British Army officers.  However, there were several distinct periods of Scottish diaspora, when Scottish families left their homeland and settled in continental Europe, including Russia, usually but not always in connection with the wars between the House of Hanover when that family was on the throne of first England, and then the United Kingdom, and the usurped ‘pretenders’ from the House of Stuart (originally Stewart).  The initial surge of Scottish departures was after 1651, then more after 1689, 1715, and perhaps most famous, after 1745.  Some Scots families settled elsewhere, especially in France and Italy, but some professional military men took themselves and their families to Russia, in service of the Czar, and then subsequently some of their kin came to join the small group of Scottish families there.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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8 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Thanks a lot, FROGSMILE, I know this story but in whole Russian army there were NO officers with surnames Ross, Robertson or Gillivray! I researched full official  lists of Russian officers and Gelerals from 1908-1914...

 

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FROGSMILE
19 minutes ago, Mikhail said:

 

I think that they must be there somewhere Mikhail.

I don’t know if connected, but there were senior Russian officers in the Napoleonic and Crimean wars with Scottish names if I recall correctly, and I also read of one during WW2.

 

A key point is that British officers simply would not wear Russian imperial army uniform if serving in the British army.  The members of the Royal family did so for ceremonial and familial reasons, but that was entirely different.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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sadbrewer
12 minutes ago, Mikhail said:

 

Mikhail, check my post above....written in 1907.

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FROGSMILE
7 minutes ago, sadbrewer said:

Mikhail, check my post above....written in 1907.

It looks like the Bystander in 1914 was regurgitating a story from 1907 then!  Media, huh, plus ca change....

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20 minutes ago, sadbrewer said:

Mikhail, check my post above....written in 1907.

Yes I have checked, but it's quite unusual if 2 colonels and Major-General disappeared from Russian army in 1908... The other problem with this photo is - all officers wear the Uniform of His Imperial Majesty's retinue, and we know ALL of them by names, and of course there are no Scottish surnames among them...

So at the moment it looks like a fake news for me...

44 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

In the second photo the three officers are dressed for their appointments on the general staff and so wearing associated gorgets (collar tabs, usually red, but in other colours for some specialisms) and cap insignia (including gold lace on the peaks), rather than the regimental insignia that they would wear if below the rank of Colonel, or not on the general staff.

 

Can You help to define who is who on the second photo?

Edited by Mikhail
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FROGSMILE
1 hour ago, Mikhail said:

 

Can You help to define who is who on the second photo?

Yes, I can.  The Captain is standing at the rear and is almost certainly the Maj Gen’s aide de camp (ADC).  The Maj Gen himself is seated centrally and has the two rows of oak leaves lace on his cap’s peak.  The Major is seated right as we look and has a single row of lace on his peak.  The Major’s appointment would be Military Assistant (MA).  I would describe the photo then as typical of a general officer and his ‘personal staff’ on a diplomatic visit.  It thus comprises entirely appropriately the General, his ADC, his MA and his Russian liaison officer (LO).

50467DE2-9115-47E6-B671-7DA4CF409553.jpeg

CB3F27A2-A197-43EE-A691-52C6E44C03AF.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thanks a lot, FROGSMILE! 

So can I kindly ask You give me more information about Major Robertson, seated right?

 

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FROGSMILE
8 minutes ago, Mikhail said:

Thanks a lot, FROGSMILE! 

So can I kindly ask You give me more information about Major Robertson, seated right?

 

I’m sorry Mikhail I’m afraid not, we would need as an absolute minimum his full initials and even that might be difficult if there were other officers with identical initials.  Someone like @PRC might be able to assist if you can get those initials.  However, the names of both the Maj Gen and the Major appear to be Scots so that might help to narrow them down.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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travers61

For photo two the Major-General could be:

 

Lt-Gen Sir James Wolfe Murray (1853-1919)

He served as an army represtantive on a British Delegation to Russia set up by the British Parliament in 1912. Must have returned from Russia by Dec 1913 as was appointed C in C Scottish Command that month. Later Chief of the Imperial General Staff & returned to Russia for another Military Mission in 1916. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Wolfe_Murray

 

Screen Shot 2021-04-20 at 17.40.34.png

image from his wikipedia entry

Edited by travers61
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Thank You, travers61!

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BullerTurner

Perhaps these officers were from Ross-shire?  It was often a source of confusion around that time?  😉

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  • 2 weeks later...
Robertsongreatneice

I am Major Robertson's Great Niece ! 

 

He was born in Glasgow . 

He had a fascinating history -spoke fluent Russian , Japanese , Chinese and Sebo Croat 

He is not in the first photograph but the second with Major Wolfe Murray taken in 1916.

He was awarded the $th Class Order of St Vladimir in July 1916

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Forum @Robertsongreatneice

 

When he was first disussed above, Forum members were keen to get fuller details about him to try to "identify" him

 

Can you perhaps give us his full name and a few other details about him like date of birth and where he lived

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