Re: World War 1 photos & questions

Dave Dreyer

Kathy, Michael,

If a Banater became a member of the Czech Legion I would guess all depended on how much anti Hapsburg feeling they possessed.

The book I cite in the previous message below  contains a final chapter which discusses the complicated arrangements to repatriate the Legion back to Europe.  Some Ships contained both German POWs as well as Legionnaires.   A minor comment on Michael’s statement. A large contingent crossed the Pacific to Vancouver BC, crossed Canada to Halifax by train and continued on to Trieste by ship.   


Dave Dreyer




From: Kathy Plourde via
Sent: Saturday, September 19, 2020 1:00 PM
Subject: Re: [banat] World War 1 photos & questions


I had heard of the Czech Legion but did not know that it included POW’s of other nationalities. I’ll ask my dad if he remembers hearing anything about the Czech Legion from his father.




On Sep 19, 2020, at 6:57 AM, Michael Kaiser via <mkdt@...> wrote:


this is a very good hint.

Despite the name the legion did not consist of Czechs alone. The name "Czech Legion" came up only after the war. By the end of WWI the legion had ~140.000 members from various nations - lots of them from Serbia.

Also the description that Kathy gave about her grandfather's journey home matches *exactly* what is known about the legion. From Vladivostok some travelled to the US, some travelled across the continent by train. And some travelled by ship on the southern route via Japan, Hongkong, Ceylon and the Suez Canal to Triest (Italien). All in all the evacuation took one year and eight months.


ps. For those who read german:

Am 18.09.2020 um 06:44 schrieb Dave Dreyer:


Was It possible that your guy, even so, a Banater was a member of the Czech Legion?

The Legion was made up of POWs who disserted or were taken by the Russians as POWs.   They evolved into an independent force and  fought their way along the transSiberian railroad across Russia and Siberia with many wild events along the way-------shootouts with armored trains, encounters with a crazy Russian admiral who was in possession of the Russian gold reserves, a bandit with his own armored train.  They ended up in Vladivostok where they were eventually evacuated mixed with normal German and Austrian POWs.

One of the latest studies on the matter is;

“The Czech and Slovak Legion in Siberia 1917-1922” 2012 by Mohr.


Dave Dreyer




From: Jocele Wild
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:18 PM
Subject: Re: [banat] World War 1 photos & questions


Not to worry, Kathy. I am used to both the tyranny of the spell checker and variations of spelling and pronunciations of my name. Here in Mexico, the locals hear "Rocio" which is a common enough first name for females, but when they try to pronounce the J as an H (which is valid in Spanish), makes the "Jocelyn" in your message to me seem quite minor.




From: <> on behalf of Kathy Plourde via <daveKathyplourde@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2020 6:25 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [banat] World War 1 photos & questions


Sorry, Jocele - I just saw that I had your name wrong. The spell checker tried to change it again!



On Sep 17, 2020, at 7:13 PM, david Plourde <davekathyplourde@...> wrote:

Thanks, Jocelyn, for your response. I guess that explains why I found so many ships with names ending in Maru! The photos were tucked away in my Dad’s attic for 50 years. I will take good care of them.



On Sep 17, 2020, at 4:17 PM, Jocele Wild <jocelew@...> wrote:



Despite the circumstances under which caused your grandfather to make such a unique-for-the-times journey, what a marvelous opportunity he was given to be able to experience, what were for most people at that time, 

only faraway places on a map. The photos you have and his collection of images from postcards are precious historical documents; hang on to them tightly, please.


"Maru" () is a suffix for ship names.

Jocele Wild (Mexico)

From: <> on behalf of Kathy Plourde via <daveKathyplourde@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2020 9:17 AM
To: <>
Subject: [banat] World War 1 photos & questions



My grandfather, Mathias Potye (or Potje), was in the Austro-Hungarian army in World War 1.  I have three old photos that appear to be from that period and am wondering if anyone could provide some insight about them. He also had a collection of images cut out from postcards which appear to be from Russia, China, Japan and perhaps Indonesia.


Some background: 


He was born in Sackelhausen in 1895 and attended the Royal Hungarian Academy of Horticulture in Budapest. An archivist there confirmed to me that he completed two semesters before leaving the school in 1915 for official army service. My father recalls that my grandfather was captured later in the war and had to walk for long distances to get to the prisoner of war camp which was near Vladivostok (possibly under the occupation of the Japanese?).  There he learned some English from a multi-lingual professor in the camp. After being released, he boarded a ship in Shanghai  (?) and travelled past Japan, Singapore, India and through the Suez Canal to return to Sackelhausen. He didn’t get back to Sackelhausen until 1921.


The first photo is of 3 men in uniform (the one on the upper right appears to be my grandfather) and a man in a great coat wearing a Cossack type fur hat. I’d like to know if these are Austro-Hungarian uniforms circa the First World War.


The second photo appears to have been taken in a barracks (I can’t identify my grandfather in this photo).


The third photo is of a ship. The first part of the name is obscured in the photo but it ends with Maru. A Red Cross list of ships with POW’s leaving Vladivostock shows a number of ships ending in the name Maru.


If anyone can help with this, I can send the photos.













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