Memory of WWI heroes is perpetuated in the town of Postavy
Memorial plaque honouring WWI heroes and devoted to 17th-18th September, 1915, unveiled at House of Crafts
In honour of WWI heroes
Ivan Druzhinin — a sergeant with the 85th Vyborg infantry regiment — received an order to conduct surveillance of the south borders of Postavy (occupied by the Germans). Jointly with two platoons of reconnaissance officers, he defeated the enemy’s right wing with bayonet attacks — pushing them to retreat back to Myadelka. However, on their way back, the Germans torched the river bridge, inspiring Ivan to rush forward through the flames, followed by his men, in the face of gunfire. The Russian army later pressed the German troops from Postavy.
Raisa Kurachenko, the Director of Postavy’s Local History Museum, tells us that Ivan Druzhinin was awarded a 1st degree George Cross for his bravery, and became a full George Cavalier. She explains, “Studying Russian archives and materials from the 1916 Trophy Commission, we learnt of Druzhinin’s deed. We also discovered an engraving by artist P. Nosko, which depicts the battle on the fiery bridge over the Myadelka, in September 1915. We interviewed Alexandra Gerasimova, who was 21 in 1915, and working as a teacher at Postavy’s parochial school. On seeing that the Germans had set fire to the bridge, she took a bucket, ran to the river and managed to beat back the fire.”
During the Great Patriotic War, Alexandra also fought fiercely against the enemy and, later, taught in the Vitebsk Region. Her grandson lives in Molodechno. As regards Ivan Druzhinin, Postavy museum staff are attempting to learn more from their colleagues in the Novgorod Museum-Reserve. So far, it’s only known that he was born in 1988, in the village of Kaptsy, in the Novgorod Region.
By Sergey Golesnik