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To those who did not haul down St. Andrew's Flag...

Text: Central Navy Portal, Ildus Giliazutdinov
Photo: Central Navy Portal, Ildus Giliazutdinov
February 9, 2011 was a 107th anniversary of heroic battle carried out by legendary cruiser Varyag and gunboat Koreyets. Having received unexpected news about beginning of the Russo-Japanese War on this very day in 1904 and repelled an offer to surrender, those Russian ships tried to break a blockade in Chemulpo port and entered a battle against the outnumbered enemy.

Honor guard at the monument to Varyag's heroes

During a one-hour battle gunners of Varyag fired over 1 000 shells at Japanese fleet and inflict perceptible damage to enemy warships. Varyag also suffered human losses and equipment damages incompatible with further engagement. It was decided to return to the port's inner harbor, sink Varyag and steamship Sungary, and to explode Koreyets.

Having displayed to the whole world the brilliant example of fortitude, courage, and fidelity to the St. Andrew's Flag, Russian mariners wrote their names into annals of military devotion to Motherland.

Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander for personnel affairs Capt 1 rank Anatoly Zelinsky

In remembrance of this tragic date, Pacific Fleet command arranged various memorable activities to immortalize Russian sailors and promote heroic traditions of Russian Navy.

In memory of Varyag's heroes

A memorable meeting was held on February 9 at Naval Cemetery in Vladivostok near the monument to Varyag's sailors. The event was attended by Pacific Fleet's top-ranking officers and servicemen, crewmen of Guard missile cruiser Varyag, Vladivostok city officials, members of children's patriotic clubs "Varyag's Flotilla" and "Young Patriot", representatives of public and veteran organizations. They laid natural flowers at the monument; Orthodox requiem was chanted in the memory of Russian sailors.

"Act of heroism displayed by crews of the Russian warships will be an everlasting symbol of fidelity to the St. Andrew's Flag, military honor, and unselfish devotion to Motherland", emphasized commanding officer of Guard missile cruiser Varyag Capt 1 rank Eduard Moskalenko.

Commanding officer of Guard missile cruiser Varyag Capt 1 rank Eduard Moskalenko

Memorial to Varyag's sailors was founded by desire of wounded crewmen of the cruiser. Twenty four Russian mariners were brought to Chemulpo hospital right after the battle. Dying of injuries, they asked to bury them in Russian land. In 1911 Russian government addressed to Japan with request to allow the transfer of cremains to Vladivostok.

Solemn ceremony held in the memory of Varyag's heroes

The Japanese agreed to let remains of Russian sailors be brought to Russia from occupied Korea. On December 20, 1911 ach of the heroes was buried at Naval Cemetery in Vladivostok. In summer 1912 a grey granite stele was built on the bed of honor. Topped with St. George's Cross, the monument was made on people's donations. Near the monument there are graves of Russian sailors died during the Russo-Japanese War.

Parade of Pacific Fleet servicemen