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Ivan Tsonchev's Detachment (1895-1903), Bulgaria

Last modified: 2010-08-21 by rob raeside
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Ivan Tsonchev's Detachment

As part of a long-lasting series, the "Focus" news agency presents the flag used by Ivan Tsonchev's Detachment in 1895-1903. The flag is green with yellow charges, an Orthodox cross, a writing and the year "1895".

Quoting Focus:
"The flag of the detachment of General Ivan Tsonchev [1859-1910] was made in 1895 and has consecutively been the flag of several bands. Originally intended for the detachment of Nikola Mutafov and Peter Nachev, but ahead of the armed operation in the summer of that year was delivered to the detachment of Stoyu voivode. Rebels with their flag fought in Dospat. For standard-bearer is determined officer as known as Chelkasha from Sliven, for his assistant rebel Nikola Ivanov. In the autumn of 1902 the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee organized an uprising in Eastern Macedonia (Gorna Dzhumaya), which was suppressed with great brutality. In 1902, General Ivan Tsonchev left the army to devote himself entirely to the liberation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia. Led by the flag worn by Nicola Vinarov, his band took part to the Eastern Macedonia Uprising (1902), and participated in heavy fighting against Turkish troops near the village of Bistrica and Chatal peak. During the Ilinden Uprising (1903), the detachment of General Tsonchev fought in Razlog on 14-15 September and by the village of Belitsa on 18 September. As result the band was transferred to the territory of the Principality of Bulgaria."

A black-and-white photo, dated 1903, shows the Australian novelist and war correspondent Alfred Hales (1860-1936), who fought in Tsonchev's troops, "taking the oath on General Tsonchev's revolutionary flag". The said flag, as far as it can be seen on the photo, seems to be different from the flag presented by "Focus".
Ivan Sache, 26 July 2010