[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Tsarist Draft

Helen Gillespie hgillespie at rogers.com
Wed May 29 05:22:44 PDT 2013

My grandfather, EMIL BETHKE (1893-1976), was in the Czar's navy, based in the Finland Basin in 1917 when the Revolution broke out.  He was drafted - but I don't know when.  He was born in 1893 in Pempkov, north of Kostopol, in Wolhynia.  Apparently he could not speak Russian at the beginning. This was a problem because the system was that the men were lined up according to height, and he, being a very tall man (at least 6'3") was supposed to be at the front - and legend has it that the person in charge of training was agreeable to Opa being next in line until he was able to understand sufficient Russian.  So, yes, there was a draft but am not sure when he was drafted.
Also, before the 1915 deportation to Siberia, my grandmother ALWINE BAIER (1895-1981), had been engaged to marry, but her fiancé was drafted and was never heard from again.  Unfortunately, I don't know his name or the date he was drafted, but he too would have been German.

PS  there is info on the history of Conscription in Russia - 

so it looks like the draft age was 20 years 

So something else to add to my Opa's military service information.  However, when the Revolution broke out, the navy was disbanded and he went in search of his family who were deported in July 1915.....He found them....and my grandmother whom he married in December 1917.



The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future. 
--Herbert Spencer

 From: gpvjem <gpvjem at sasktel.net>
To: DLPratt123 at aol.com; ger-poland-volhynia at sggee.org 
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:28:26 AM
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Tsarist Draft

    My Grandfather Emil Marsch, left Poland for Volhynia with his father and siblings in 1873 and in 1878 he returned at the age of 21 to Poland to "fulfill his military duty" as he wrote. He served in the Russian army for 5 1/2 years.  It appears there was draft program in place at least in at that time..  
    In July of 1905 Emil's father Karl Gustav wrote to his son who was now in Canada, "that the Russian-Japanese war was causing a great deal of stress in the community.  Many men have already been called up to serve as occupation troops".  Men were taken to serve in the army with total disregard for the wives, children and elderly dependants who were left behind with no means of support.

John Marsch

  Can anyone tell me when Volhynian young men would have been subject to  
  being drafted into the tsarist army?  I have in mind the period around  1900.  
  (It seems several of my relatives emigrated at age 19 or 20, even if  it 
  meant the family came later.)
  Can anyone recommend a book that would answer similar questions of  
  interest, including those I can't think to ask?
  Dan Pratt
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