The Relics of Varyag Cruiser
25 July 2009, on the eve of the Navy Day the exhibition of the relics of legendary Varyag cruiser and Koreyets gunboat, prepared by the State Hermitage, was opened in the St George Room of the Winter Palace. The relics were brought to Russia from Korea due to the efforts of the Organizing committee of the Varyag Cruiser. Finding of the Relics Exhibition project.
It has been 105 years since Varyag cruiser is an example
of Russian navy sailors’ courage and greatness of the Russian
spirit. At the very beginning
January 27 (February 9) 1904 captain of the Varyag Vsevolod Rudnev received ultimatum from Uriu with a direction to leave the port otherwise Russian ships would be attacked during the raid. Rudnev decided to battle through into Port Arthur and in case of failure blow up the ships. At noon the Varyag and the Koreyets left Chemulpo. Captains of foreign ships did not expect such a brave move from the Russian ships. French and English sailors greeted the passing Varyag with orchestra. When leaving the port at a distance of 10 miles the ships met with the Japanese squadron that had come into position behind the Iodolmi island. With help of signal Uriu offered the Russian ships to surrender, but brought down fire after he didn’t receive any answer. Unequal battle lasted 50 minutes. During this time the Varyag let go 1,105 missiles at the contender, the Koreyets let go 52 missiles. In accordance with the report of the commander, the Varyag took down one torpedo boat and delivered damage to 4 Japanese cruisers.
After the battle the Varyag got 5 shot holes and lost almost all its ordnance. Without having an opportunity to continue the battle the Russian ships returned to Chemulpo. After the assessment of damage severity the remained ordnance and its equipment were destroyed as far as it was possible and the ship itself was scuttled by opening Kingston valves; the Koreyets was blown up. Their crews were accepted on board of foreign ships and then they returned back to Russia through neutral ports.
The feat of both ships became a bright example of courage,
fortitude and fidelity to military duty. Defenders of the Russian
lands, the sailors of the Varyag and the Koreyets,
who were brought up
There is a sufficient number of various exhibits related to Varyag
cruiser in the collections of museums and in archives
of Russia. However, the symbols of military honour and valour
of the crews, the relics that were kept in obscurity
in the storerooms
11 exhibits are presented at the exhibition among them there is a bow flag (jack) of Varyag cruiser, a bow St Andrew’s flag from the boat of Koreyets gunboat, a Russian trading flag from Sungary mail steamer, cartridge cases, shells, rifles, a rigging block and a slewing anchor as well as albums with Japanese watercolours depicting the battle of the Varyag and the Koreyets with the Japanese squadron.
The choice of the first exhibition site was not by chance - it was in the Winter Palace that the Russian Emperor received the heroes of the battle of Chemulpo 105 years ago.
The programme of the Varyag Cruiser. Finding of the Relics Exhibition project was prepared by the specialists of the Russian Federal Surveillance Service for Compliance with the Law in Mass Communication and Cultural Heritage Protection and of the Federal State Institution of Culture ROSIZO. The exhibition curator is Dmitry Lubin, the head of the Museum in the Konstantin Palace department of the State Hermitage, candidate of art history.
In one month the exhibits from Korea together with the original articles from the museum funds related to the destiny of the Varyag and the Koreyets shall arrive to the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow. The exhibition can be also seen in Murmansk, Severomorsk, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, Sevastopol and other Russian cities of naval glory.