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Old 08-28-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
sololoseek
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Theodor Sololo

Theodor Sololo (born 1892 Mariupol, Ukraine) allegedly fought in the Russian Army in WWI, was taken prisoner by the Germans and somehow found his way to Canada. He enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Force in January 1917 when the attached photograph was taken.

Does anyone recognise the medal/insignia pinned over his right pocket? Is it from the Russian Army?

Sololoseeker [Diane]
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: Theodor Sololo

Hello! Interesting story/search. I'm no expert at all on Imperial Russian jettons but this looks like it could be one.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: Theodor Sololo

Thanks - that's a good start. Not very clearly definited on uniform but I hope someone will recognise it.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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Re: Theodor Sololo

Maybe these?

eBay descriptions: 220734089284 , circa 1909-1917, enameled silver badge of the Imperial Russian Universities. This is a rare pinback version, not a typical screwback version of this badge. Compared to other similar badges, this one is HUGE - measures 68mm tall, 32mm wide and weights 14.7gm.

120484857742 Here is Russian Imperial Academy School Graduate Badge. Bronze, Enamel. Dimensions: 2 5/8" long by 1 1/4" wide. Some damage to the white enamel: top above the blue cross, small surface chip by left arm of cross. Weights 7 ounces.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Theodor Sololo

You are definitely on the right track. Theodor allegedly attended Kharkiv (Kharkov) University before his WWI war service and graduated with a B.A. Both your e-bay examples are associated with universities. He later taught modern languages in a private school in Bedfordshire, England. He was obviously proud of his medal - he is wearing it in this dinner jacket 1929 (attached). But it is almost out of the picture. Strangely it was c. 1929 that he was deported from England to Greece. Another mystery I find myself embroiled in on behalf of his 90-year old daughter.

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Old 08-28-2011, 11:32 PM   #6
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Re: Theodor Sololo

These Imperial university badges were impressive, especially the large ones. Since there wasn't much, if any text on the badges (that I can recall) and would look equally impressive no matter what uniform or jacket it was worn on.

If I am not mistaken, pin back versions were given to the faculty of the major universities across Imperial Russia, sometimes the USSR and in the RF they finally got around to the simple stick pin with clamping clasp. Whichever method, the idea was to be able to wear the same award on many different types of clothing without leaving a permanent hole. The diplomatic corps had the same idea and design of their badges.

However, the second picture in Eric's post above has a screwback.

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Old 08-28-2011, 11:58 PM   #7
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Re: Theodor Sololo

Thanks for the additional information. I have been trawling the Net to find examples of these 'jettons' from Kharkov University but to no avail. I have emailed the University to find out if it has a list of graduates. Sololo would have been 22 years old when WWI broke out. I suppose there is a small chance that he could have been junior faculty. I do not know what age one entered University back then, nor how long it would take to graduate with a BA. He often referred to himself as a 'professor' of modern languages. But I know from experience all about gaining qualifications when country-hopping!
:) Diane
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #8
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Re: Theodor Sololo

As a side note these badges (Imperial jettons) are, I think, very heavily faked so don't do anything rash without consulting some sort of expert.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:34 AM   #9
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Re: Theodor Sololo

Thanks Eric for the warning. I'm actually not in the market to buy anything - just trying to identify the medal/jetton/badge for Theodor Sololo's daughter who is nearly 90 years old and now wants to know more about her father's life. He was deported from England in 1929 to Greece and did not return for 30 years, so she missed out on a good deal of information about him. He was probably fortunate to be deported to Greece, Stalin would have shot him if he'd been sent back to the Ukraine. I think the possibility that the jetton was a university honour will be sufficient. The daughter emigrated to Australia when she was 65 and left a lot of personal stuff behind ... probably once had the jetton herself and now regrets leaving it behind. I have just ordered his Canadian Army service record - I think she will too delighted with that to worry about the jetton!
Diane
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:28 AM   #10
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Re: Theodor Sololo

I think I found an image of this in Avers8 on page 560. I assume it's to illustrate where the Soviet design came from?
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