Skip to main content

St George's Cross, 4th Class: CM.1499-2009

An image of St George's Cross, 4th Class

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


State: Russia




The Order of St George was founded by Catherine II (the Great), Empress of Russia, in 1769 for officers in the Army and Navy, and was restored by Alexander I in 1801. It was originally conferred to officers of the rank of Colonel or above for taking a fortress, capturing a vessel, a standard or an enemy officer of high rank.
During the collapse of Tsarist Russia in the Revolution of 1917, a Provisional Government was briefly formed to represent the interests of government against the Bolshevik factions of the new order, and then various regional governments were formed in their wake, but what came to be classed as White Russian (as opposed to Red) resistance was eventually (by the end of 1918) crystallised around the Siberian Regional Government led by the Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak.
Despite the death of not only Tsar Nicholas II in 1917 but Grand Duke Michael his notional successor in 1918, effectively ending the Romanov royal line in whose name they were given, Kolchak's government maintained the issue of royal decorations and orders until the final collapse of the White Russian resistance in 1921, by which time Kolchak, perhaps their most capable military leader, had been made to resign. These awards were made not just to Russian servicemen, but to the soldiers, sailors and airman of British and French forces sent to assist in the fight against Bolshevism.
This Cross is not named, but we know from its provenance and supporting documentation that it was such an award, to 2nd Lieutenant John Mitchell, of the Royal Air Force contingent that served in South Russia in support of British forces embroiled in the unsuccessful defence of White Russia, with whose other medals Lester Watson acquired it. A list of awards from the British Military Mission from 20th August 1919 explains the circumstances in which this cross was earned:

"During the fighting near Cherny Yar on the 23-24 July (5-6 August) flying low above despite heavy gun fire they [Mitchell and others to whom awards were made] performed reconnaissances and dropped bombs on enemy troops and vessels, thus assisting our troops to occupy new positions when their right wing was outflanked by cavalry."

Subsequent letters written in support of Mitchell's claim to the VC for an earlier exploit (for which in the end he was awarded the DFC instead) reveal that Mitchell was hospitalised with the wounds he received during this action; it was probably also for it that he was awarded his DSO.
Although the catalogue of the Watson Collection considers Mitchell's awards as its Group 7, the medals of that group are not physically attached and so have been treated separately here. Nonetheless it was as a group that Lester Watson purchased them, from the London dealers Baldwin in 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt Baldwin 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 34.6 mm
Weight: 11.64 g

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


Production date: AD 1919

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Monogram in centre with inscriptions quartered on arms of cross

  • Text: [SG]
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: St George on horseback trampling dragon

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1499-2009
Primary reference Number: 141596
Watson Catalogue: 354
Ordering: M-0385
Previous object number: LW.0365e
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Sunday 23 January 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "St George's Cross, 4th Class" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-03-21 18:25:02

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=St George's Cross, 4th Class |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-03-21 18:25:02|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="St George's Cross, 4th Class"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">St George's Cross, 4th Class</figcaption>

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: CM.1333-2001


Accession Number: CM.1295-2001


Accession Number: CM.1548-2001

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...