“Aurora” is a cruiser of the 1st rank of the Baltic Fleet of the “Diana” type. It was named in honor of the sailing frigate “Aurora”, which became famous during the defense of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky during the Crimean War. During the Russo-Japanese War it participated in the campaign of the Second Pacific Squadron.
The cruiser Aurora, 1909-1910.
The cruiser also took part in the First World War (1914-1918). The blank shot from the “Aurora” signaled the start of the storming of the Winter Palace; the cruiser became one of the main symbols of the October Revolution. In the morning of May 24, 1900 the ship, which was to remain forever in the history of the Russian fleet, was launched.
Name of the cruiser
In the summer of 1896 the decree on the beginning of building of the cruiser with 6630 ton displacement of “Diana” type was issued. Curiously, the name remained unchanged for about a year, until Nikolay II renamed it.
This happened in the spring of 1897, when the tsar ordered the ship to be named Aurora, in honor of the Roman goddess of the dawn. It is worth noting that the tsar chose this name out of 11 suggestions.
From Tsushima to Manila
In his first military campaign the cruiser “Aurora” went in 1902, and after two years had already participated in the Russo-Japanese War. It had a chance to go to the protracted crossing of the Second Far Eastern Squadron and to take part in the infamous Tsushima battle.
When the Japanese received reinforcements, they began to actively attack the Aurora. One shell hit the wheelhouse, as a result of which all the sailors in it were wounded by shrapnel. The captain of the cruiser was killed in the battle. The survivors of the Russian ships began to leave the Korean Strait in a hurry.
A total of 9 people died on the Aurora cruiser, including its captain, Yevgeny Yegoriev. After repairs in Manila the ship returned to the waters of the Baltic Sea in 1906.
Death of the captain
1st Rank Captain Eugene Yegorjev received a fatal head wound, caused by an exploding shell. For some time he was still alive. He died in the arms of Sailor Andrey Podlesnyi when he carried him to his cabin. Yegoriev was buried off the coast of Luzon Island on May 21, 1905, according to naval custom.
War Without Battles
After returning home, the cruiser Aurora was re-equipped, and as a consequence began to be regularly engaged in foreign campaigns. An interesting fact is that after Tsushima, the ship did not take part in any more serious battles. Every year the “Aurora” became more and more obsolete, for which reason it could no longer be effective in military operations.
The cruiser “Aurora” 1909-1914.
The most ambitious World War I operation for the cruiser was the landing in the Gulf of Riga. The frigate as far as possible covered the Russian infantrymen with fire.
The real story of the shot in October
At the height of the February Revolution, the cruiser’s sailors supported her, with the exception of the captain and chief mate. As a result, both officers were killed by the rebellious sailors. By the time of the October Revolution, there were already quite a few Bolshevik supporters aboard the Aurora.
An interesting fact is that in fact no signal to the beginning of the storming of the Winter Palace cruiser did not give. According to members of the crew, the shot, which went down in history, was made as a warning to the ships standing on the banks of the Neva.
But the real signal for the attack were two volleys from the Peter and Paul Fortress. Curiously, both shells hit the windows of the Winter Palace. It is fair to say that it was from the cruiser “Aurora” that Vladimir Lenin’s legendary message “To the Citizens of Russia” was transmitted.