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Memorial plaque for the Danes in Estonian War of Independence was unveiled at Tori

29.06.2016  11:13
A memorial plaque for the Danes who participated in the Estonian War of Independence and received the Cross of Liberty from Estonian Government was unveiled in Estonian Soldiers' Memorial Church in Tori on 22 June 2016.

The memorial plaque was unveiled by Danish Ambassador Søren Kelstrup and the Speaker of Estonian Parliament Eiki Nestor, with speech also by colonel Lars Baier from Danish Defence Forces. The ceremony included handing over decorations to reserve officers by Estonian Defence League and lighting a memorial torch which flames were afterwards taken with torches across Estonia. The event continued at the Tori cemetery where wreaths were placed at the monument of the War of Independence.

The memorial event took place a day before 23 June, the Victory Day, that commemorates the victory in the 1919 Battle of Võnnu (near Cēsis, Latvia) of the Estonian military forces and their allies over German forces (Baltische Landeswehr). The battle was part of the 1918–1920 Estonian War of Independence.

A Danish volunteer unit of 200 men was formed under the command of Captain Richard Gustav Borgelin in April 1919 to fight in the Estonian War of Independence. The memorial plaque remembers 48 Danes that for their courage received the Cross of Liberty during the war. Borgelin's memoirs from the war have been collected into a book "Under the Dannebrog Flag" ("Hvor Dannebrog faldt ned"). A monument for Borgelin’s unit was opened in Rõuge, South Estonia in 2013.

(From left) Ambassador Søren Kelstrup, Parliament Speaker Eiki Nestor, Archbishop Emeritus Andres Põder and Estonian Defence League's Chaplain Maj Aivar Sarapik preparing for unveiling. (All photos: Lembit Miil)

Memorial tablets for American and Danish volunteers.

Ambassador Søren Kelstrup.

Colonel Lars Baier.

Jüri Kask, the Chairman of Estonian Soldiers Memorial Church, and Brigadier General Meelis Kiili, commander of the Estonian Defence League, presented Ambassador Søren Kelstrup with a framed copy of the engraved memorial tablet.

Søren Kelstrup and Lars Baier laying a wreath at the monument for the War of Independence at Tori cemetery.

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