It is 90 years since The German Empire signed the armistice to end the World War I, today the world celebrates one of the major mark of history of mankind.
Despite ‘The War To End All Wars’ can not stop World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Kosovo War, War on Terror, Afghanistan War, Iraq War and many wars that occurred or about to be occurred, there are something to remember.
So here is the story of Siamese Volunteer Crop in World War I.
After some western pressures and some serious consideration, King Vajiravudh (King Rama VI) declared the war status to the Central Power and later announced the set up of Siamese Volunteer Crop to participate the war in Europe. Thousands young man came to apply but only 1,233 men were selected. Siamese Volunteer Crop was commanded by General HRH Chakrapong phuvanart, brother of The King Vajiravudh.
Siamese Volunteer Crop was consisted of ….
- Army Air Crop (Later become Royal Thai Air Force) which was commanded by Major Luang Tayard Pikard (Tip Keadtad)
- Army Combat Vehicle Crop (Later become Royal Thai Army Transport Department) which was commanded by Captain Luang Ramarittirong (Toi Hasadisevi)
- Medical platoon which was commanded by Sub Lieutenant Chump Jitmetta
After the primary training, Siamese Volunteer Crop departed Siam on 19 June 1918. Army Air Crop received further training in Istres, Pau and St. Rapha-l in France but the war was over before the training had finish. On the other hand, Army Combat Vehicle Crop was trained by France Army in Lyon and Dourdan, reequipped the weapon in Troyes and had a chance to conduct a support and logistic mission for Allied Force into the land of German Empire. One of their mission was to transport Allied troops across the Rhine river in Mainz.
For their excellent combat capacity, Army Combat Vehicle Crop received the Croix de guerre medal from France Army to be carried on the flag of victory for their outstanding combat record.
When the war was over, Siamese Volunteer Crop participated in the victory parade at Arc de triomphe de l’Etoile on 14 July 1918 in Paris and followed by victory parade in Brussel and London on 22 and 29 July accordingly.
In conclusion, Siamese Volunteer Crop lost 19 officers. All their bodies were burnt according to Buddhist belief in Germany. Their cremains were installed in the Siamese Volunteer Crop Monument at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace in Bangkok. All Volunteer troops received the medal of King Vajiravudh’s War Mission in Europe.
Although The Siamese Volunteer Crop did not participated the war in the long period of time, but many goals were achieved, this is included the reconsideration of many disadvantage treaty between Siam and Western Superpowers. Also, Siamese Army received many new knowledge of modern military science. Before WWI Siam only have 8 pilots but after Army Air Crop was trained in France the number rose to 97 and hundred of technicians. This help laid the firm foundation for today’s military and civil aviation in Thailand. Army Combat Vehicle Crop also gained combat experience and many skilled driver and technician were trained.
This day is the 90th anniversary of World War I. This is the day to remember and we still remember every people there. I wish the living can learn the lessen taught by those who die in that war.
Let peace endure for good.