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Macedonian-Andrinopolitan Volunteer Corps (1912-1913), Bulgaria

Last modified: 2009-06-13 by rob raeside
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Macedonian-Andrinopolitan Volunteer Corps

Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps fought in the battles of the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912-1913 and 1913 respectively).
"On September 17th 1912 at 2:00 p.m. a mobilization proclamation was announced. Two hours later thousands of volunteers enroll in the battalions of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps. On September 23rd 1912 Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps was set up with a tsarís decree. They were headed by general Nikola Genev and major Petar Darvingov was the chief of the general staff. They consisted of six battalions of 212-215 people each: Thessaloniki, Skopje, Debar, Bitola, Edirne and Ohrid battalions. In October six more battalions were established: Veles, Kostur, Kumanovo, Prilep, Serres and Lozengrad battalions. There were 14,670 personnel. 500 of them were foreigners (Russians, Jews, Armenians, Swiss /Louis-Emil Eyer/, Englishman /non- commissioned officer Robert Fisher/, and others). On October 4th and 5th 1912 the battalions from the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps were given their flags. The main flag of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps, which is also flag of the 11th Serres Battalion, is a gift from Tsaritsa Eleonore of Bulgaria. It was consecrated on October 28th 1912 at an official church service in the presence of Tsaritsa Eleonore at the railway station in the city of Plovdiv. All flags of the volunteer corps took part in the parade held in May 1913 on the occasion of the Day of Valor, close to Komotini.

After the end of the Second Balkan War, on August 7th 1913, the flags of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps were welcomed officially at the cycling track in Sofia. On May 9th 1937 Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps bid a farewell to their flags together with the flags of the old Bulgarian regiments that participated in the national liberation and unification wars. The honorary company took the flags into eternal charge.

The veterans of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps are the foundation of the 11th Infantry Macedonian Division, which collected 33 374 Bulgarian officers and soldiers of Macedonian origin."

Text from FOCUS Information Agency, with a colour photo of the flag:
Ivan Sache, 12 May 2009

Here are some facts about Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps (26 Sep 1912 - 1 Oct 1913)
Personnel: 14 670.
Bulgarians: 14 139 (11 470 were from Macedonia, 1 215 - from Adrianople Thrace, and 2 512 - from the free part).
Foreigners: 531 (275 Armenians, 82 Russians, 68 Romanians, 40 Serbians, 21 "Austro-Hungarians", 12 Montenegrins, 3 Greeks, an Albanian, an Englishman, an Italian, and a Persian).
The flags of 13th Kukush (Kilkis) and 14th Voden (Edessa) Battalions have been lost.
The flag of 12th Lozengrad (Kirklareli) Battalion has become flag of the Sofia branch of the Yunak Sport Association and has disappeared.
Its own flag has had 1st Armenian Company of 12th Lozengrad Battalion, but it has also disappeared.
The 10th Prilep Battalion has had two flags.
The only flag that has been flown in battle is that of 11th Seres Battalion (the flag of all Corps).
The principle source of information about MAVC and its flags in Ivanov (1998).
Stoyan Antonov, 13 May 2009

From Macedonian point of view, the commanding officers were Bulgarians, but the volunteers were Macedonians, plus some foreigners.
Valentin Poposki, 13 May 2009

First Debar Battalion

[Macedonian-Andrinopolitan Volunteer Corps] image by Stoyan Antonov and Plamen Tsvetkov, 13 May 2009

On September 17, 1912, at 16.00, only two hours after the announcement of mobilization, 1,200 men, aged 18-55, wearing white Debar traditional costumes, gathered in Sofia. They were invited to join the Debar-Galich-Rekan Macedonian brotherhood. The volunteers were received by Major Stefan Nikolov from Prilep, Petar Darvingov from Kukush, and Alexandar Protogerov from Ohrid, with the words: "Hello, First Debar Battalion!". The military flag of First Debar Battalion of Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps was given solemnly on October 4th 1912. The flag was made between September 17 and October 4, while the Battalion had been formed. It was made from double silk cloth Ė 105 x 84 centimeters. Its right side is colored like the Bulgarian national flag - white, green and red - situated horizontally. A cross upon half-crest was painted in the middle of the flag. The words FIRST DEBAR VOLUNTEER are written above the cross in a semicircle and the word BATTALION is written below the cross. The other side is green. There is a crowned lion on two sprays. There is an inscription MAY GOD BE WITH US and the year 1912 under the lion. The flag is embroidered with gold-lace fringes and there are tassels at the end of the two outer corners. The wooden handle of the flag finishes in its upper end with a metal crowned lion. A metal bracelet reading FIRST DEBAR VOLUNTEER BATTALION hangs below the cloth of the handle.

Text from FOCUS Information Agency, with a colour photo of the flag:
Ivan Sache, 12 May 2009