— Marine Engineering School of Emperor Nicholas I ~ 1896-1901

In 1896, the year when Wladyslaw turned 18, he was issued with papers calling him up for service in the Tsar’s military …

and here’s the translation …

I found out that Wladyslaw went to St Petersburg and enrolled at the Marine Engineering School of Emperor Nicholas I in Kronstadt. Kronstadt is situated on the small island of Kotlin in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, 48km west of Saint Petersburg.

Below was a document which my nephew’s researcher found showing that Wladyslaw did attend the School in 1896  😀

He seemed to be rather a rebel when he first started at the College, as per this sworn statement by his mother, Sabina 😮

I guess his mother gave him a strong talking to and he decided it wasn’t worth bucking the system so knuckled down and behaved himself!

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)


The marine engineering course was for four years and he graduated as an engineer-mech officer in 1901.

Marine Engineering School in Kronstadt

Marine Engineering School in Kronstadt

MESThe college was pretty exclusive, accepting children of the nobility, hereditary honorary citizens, officers and officials of the Maritime Office. There were two divisions there, one was for Naval Architects, which was the shipbuilding section, and the other one, the one Wladyslaw attended, was called «The Corps of Engineers – Mechanical Fleet».

After two years, the students had the ‘pre-emptive right’ for admission to the Naval Academy and it took a total of four years before the graduates were assigned to ships.

Russian Imperial Naval Officers were considered the “true elite” of the Armed Forces. They had a higher standard of general and technical training and most of the officers came from noble families.

This description for the College was taken from the article called «The Russian fleet in the 1905-1918 period».  As it was probably translated from Russian, the English might not be perfect 😀

Marine Engineering College

This school was conducted technician training for the Navy. Initially, like school – the School of Naval Architecture – was created in 1798 in St. Petersburg. Until 1894 it accepted representatives of almost all classes of the Russian Empire – nobles, burghers, merchants and peasants. This is significantly different from the Marine Corps. Since 1894 the school accepted only children of the nobility, hereditary honorary citizens, officers and officials of the Naval Department. Caste restrictions were imposed in order to reduce potential conflicts of graduates in further joint service with the graduates of the Marine Corps.

In 1897, the Technical College was transformed into the Naval Engineering School of Emperor Nicholas I (the name it bore until March 1917, after which it became referred to simply as the Naval Engineering School) with two departments – mechanical and shipbuilding. At the entrance exam required knowledge based on real school.

On shipbuilding department studied applied mechanics, strength of materials, technology of metal and wood, electricity and electrical engineering, mine it, artillery, steamship mechanics, the theory of seaworthiness, shipbuilding architecture, drawing details of ships, engineering vessels. On the mechanical – early parohodoustroystva, torpedoes, mechanical theory of the body, a description of the main ship machinery and boilers, bilge hydraulics, drawing details of ship machinery, engineering machinery, strength of materials, technology of metal and wood, applied mechanics, electricity and electrical engineering.

Graduates were enrolled in the body of Naval Architects (shipbuilding division) and in the body of Mechanical Engineers Fleet (mechanical department). After 2 years they received pre-emptive right for admission to the Naval Academy. From 1877 to 1904, a full course of college graduated 122 and 495 naval engineer Mechanical Engineers. From 1905 to 1909, was released on 27 of Naval Architects and 141 mechanical engineer. In the 1900-1905 period. School let out from 28 to 42 people a year in 1906-1912. average output was 30 people, in 1913, was released 43 people in 1914 – 79 (including 43 people fast release), in 1915 – 45 people. Naval Architects in issues of 1906-1915 years. there were an average of 5 persons.

In March 1918, together with the Marine Corps School, it was eliminated.

The institutions to train officers of the fleet were divided into two groups: those whose officers graduated with the rank of first officer, like the Marine Engineering College which Wladyslaw attended, and those where the young men received a higher education and had to earn their rank when sent to the ships.

Uniform worn by midshipmen from the Marine Engineering College

Uniform worn by midshipmen from the Marine Engineering College

Wlaydyslaw’s cousin, George Nikolaiovich Pio-Ulski, whose family lived in Pskov, was enrolled in the shipbuilding department and became a very well known and respected professor and inventor in the Russian Imperial Navy.

Seaman officers attended the Marine Corps, which had several changes of names over the years from 1715. It was also an elite institution, with the bulk of the cadets coming from nobility.

Just for interest, Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakoff, who was the elder brother of the composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff, was appointed the Director of the Marine Corps in 1865. A famous and very talented family!

All graduates from the Marine Engineering College received this badge

All graduates from the Marine Engineering College received this badge



I found a website which was a treasure trove of information regarding naval officers and if I got the information right, it seems that officers all got the same salary, no matter where they served, but it was different for the other ranks. Not sure why.

From what I could deduce, officers had to buy everything themselves, including their uniforms! They were also told that they could only go to the best restaurants and other places which were listed by the Minister of Marine, as well as travelling first class on trains or other means of transport. It seems like they had to “lead a life worthy of a high ranking officer of the Russian Navy”!

However it also seems like naval officers enjoyed certain privileges. They were entitled to a 50 percent reduction in rail fares to attend the Imperial theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg – and this included the lower ranks of the service.

Junkers - cadets of the Marine Engineering College

Junkers – cadets of the Marine Engineering College

They were also awarded special benefits in the form of additional cash and pensions if serving in the remote areas of the Empire, like the Far East, the Caucasus, parts of the Arkhangelsk region and the Caspian Sea coast.

Wladyslaw graduated from the College in 1901 and he was transferred to the Pacific Fleet as there was a feeling that there would be war with the Japanese sooner rather than later.

Now to marriage … apparently no officers were allowed to get married before their 23rd birthday and it was only after getting permission! Imagine that happening in this day and age!! 😛

Officers who wanted to get married between their 23rd and 25th birthday had to show that they had estates bringing in at least 250 roubles, net income.

I don’t have any documents to show when Wladyslaw got married to Maria Makeeva; however his eldest son, Lev, was born in 1905 so IF they’d got married a year earlier, Wladyslaw would have been 26. Had they married a year or two earlier, then he would have had an estate which was bringing in the required amount of money to satisfy the “authorities”, whoever they were, to allow the union 😀

This is the literal translation (by Google) from that site which shows what it was like in those days

«In addition, the command is mandatory to consider the “propriety” of marriages. Necessary to say a few words about the appearance of naval officers – about naval uniform, which was a source of pride and one of the external symbols of honor and dignity.»
[Source: Российский флот в 1905–1918 гг (The Russian fleet in the years 1905-1918)]



Marine Engineering School

Photos of the MES & Kronstadt during Wladyslaw's time there

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