The soliders Yegory, St. Georges Cross 11.08.2015

The craftsmen of the Moscow Printing Factory of Goznak have produced four stamps Heroes of the First World War. The stamps of the Russian Post were issued within the History of the First World War series and are dedicated to four heroes whose merits were noted with the complete St. Georges Knot the four Crosses. There are St. Georges Crosses struck at the Saint-Petersburg (Petrograd at the time) Mint during the years of the First World war, on the breast of each of the heroes.    

The postage stamps depict Konstantin Iosifovich Nedorubov, a cornet (1889 1978), Ivan Vladimirovich Tyulenev, an ensign (18921978), Nikolay Ivanovich Ulanov, a cornet (18841948) and Ivan Lukich Khizhnyak, an ensign.  

Ivan Vladimirovich Tyulenev, an ensign, was awarded with six St. Georges Crosses for bravery shown in battle during the First World war. During the Great Patriotic war Tyulenev, already General of the Army, was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.  

Konstantin Iosifovich Nedorubov, a holder of four Yegorys, a squadron commander during the Great Patriotic war also received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.   Nikolay Ivanovich Ulanov, a cornet, was a participant of the Russian and Japanese war, received four St. Georges Crosses for bravery during the First World war. He served in the First Cavalry Army during the Civil war. Ivan Lukich Khizhnyak, an ensign and a holder of the complete St. Georges Knot, was awarded with the Orders of Lenin, the Red Banner and Suvorov during the Great Patriotic war being Lieutenant General already.

the artist and designer V. Beltyukov depicted the heroes in the military uniform, with St. Georges Crosses. St. Georges band enframes the top left corner. Shades of the khaki colour were applied in the stamp production and helped to achieve the effect of an old photograph.  

The stamps were printed on chalk-coated paper with the application of multicolour offset printing. The face value of the stamps is 21 roubles. The size is 37x50mm. The perforation is comb-shaped, 11 ½ : 12. Each of the stamps was produced in the number of 385 000 pieces. The size of the stamp sheet (11 stamps and a coupon) is 178x180 mm. Each kind of sheet was printed in the number of 35 000 pieces.  

By the way,
St. Georges Cross was the highest, largest-scale and most respected state war award of the Russian Empire. Over 1.5 million signs of different classes were given during the First World war.

St. Georges Cross Yegory as the people called it, was an award added to St. Georges Order given to soldiers since 1807 until 1917 for the military merits and bravery shown against the enemy. The mark of distinction of the Military Order was the highest award for soldiers and non-commissioned officers. Since June 24, 1917 it could also be given to officers for deeds of personal bravery on application of a general meeting of soldiers of the troop or sailors of the ship.  It was only possible to win Yegory only with true bravery and fearlessness in battle. It was worn on the breast in front all other medals on the band with equal orange and black strips of St. Georges Order. The mark represented a cross with broadening equilateral blades and a central round medallion. St. George striking the snake with a spear was depicted on the front side of the medallion; interlaced monograms S. and G. were on the reverse. Later on, some minor changes were introduced to the design of the Crosses. The official title of the award St. Georges Cross was fixed in the statute in 1913.  

24 150 soldiers Georges were given during the Crimea war of 1853 1855. The campaign turned out to be the last when the crosses were given without the classes. In March 1856 St. Georges Cross received four classes. The marks of the first and the second class were made of gold, the third and the fourth class of silver. These marks of distinction were given quite rarely. For example, during the whole Russian and Turkish war only 60 people received St. Georges Cross of the first class.  

After multiple awards during the Turkish war of 1877-78, the punches used at the Mint for striking the crosses were renewed, moreover, A.A. Graliches, a medallier of the Saint-Petersburg Mint, introduced some changes, and the awards received the appearance, which was preserved until 1917.  

In July 1914 due to the war the Mint started striking of a large number of St. Georges Crosses. The first St. Georges Crosses to be given to the heroes of the First World war were produced in small amounts already by April, 1914. To speed up the production, even the awards remaining from the Japanese war were used with partial application of the new numbers. Because of the new order, the Mint cancelled all other state and private orders, increased the working day length by 4 hours and added 30 more workers. Till January 1, 1917, the Petrograd Mint produced 32 510 pieces of Saint Georges Cross of the first class (with the numbers from 1 to 32 480), 65 015 pieces of the second class (with the numbers from 1 to 65 030), 286 050 pieces of the third class (with the numbers from 1 to 289 150) 1 190 150 pieces of the fourth class (with the numbers from 1 to 1 210 150).  

Due to the lack of precious metals, Nikolay II decreed in 1915 to decrease the content of gold in St. Georges Crosses of the first and the second classes to 600 thousandths; the Crosses of the third and the fourth classes were still produced of silver of the 990 hallmark. In 1917, the Crosses were produced of base metals, and the letters ̔ (yellow metal) and ̔ (white metal) were struck on them.

At that time, the Government was collecting donations to the Fund of defense of the Motherland. In the army and the navy, many soldiers and officers donated their awards of silver and gold to the fund. There are documents proving these facts preserved in the archives.  
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