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Online Museum with OAC (Part 19): Abhakorn Memorial day

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2021-05-28 14:41:42

Online Museum with OAC (Part 19): Abhakorn Memorial day

          On May 19th of every year is the Abhakorn day known as "Wan Ar-pa-korn Day", the memorial day of the passing away of His Royal Highness Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, Prince of Chumphon (Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak or Sadet Tia). With his tremendous contribution all member of the Royal Thai Navy   regard the Prince as “The Father of the Royal Thai Navy”.

          His Royal Highness Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, a royal son of King Rama V and Chao Chom Manda Mod (née Bunnag). When he 13 years old his father, the King Rama V, sent him to studies as a naval cadet in England. He was the first Thai Prince to become a cadet of the Royal Navy. When he studying in the Royal Navy his skilled in seamanship appeared to all during King Rama V’s first journey to Europe. The Prince assumed the helm of the Royal ship from Ceylon to Europe.  The young prince spent over six years in the Royal Navy and finally returned home after successfully completing his training and when he returned home he served with distinction in the Royal Siamese Navy and was instrumental in the modernization of the fleet and the naval service in general

          On June 13th, 1900 the Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse was promoted to Sub Lieutenant and given a new assignment as commanding officer of the “Murathavasitsawat”, a Siamese naval ship.

          H.R.H Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse was the first Thai prince to be closely associated with the Royal Thai Navy. He was the first Thai naval officer to develop its organization to be in line with that of the western naval system. He taught the naval tactics and strategies of European countries to Thai Naval officers and trained them to master the skills of seamanship. In addition, the prince was also the first Thai officer to train Thai naval cadets in foreign waters. As a result of his hard work, the prince and his Thai seaman also showed skills during the trip to Europe bringing back the “HTMS Phra Ruang” or “MTS Radiant”, a newly-built Siamese naval ship from Europe. He took her to Thailand successfully in 1920.  For the great work the Royal Thai Navy could reduce hiring foreignofficer.

          His other best-known masterpieces are founder of Royal Thai Naval Academy and the Marine Engineering School and establishment of Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri.

          Not only does the prince be respected for his major role in the advancement and modernization of the navy, but he is also much loved by commoners for his dedication to helping rural people. He was particularly interested in the study of herbal medicine and used his expertise to treat people of all classes without disclosing his royal background. As a result, he was also otherwise known as "Doctor Phon".

          His familiar other names, Sadej Tia, with  deep respect from Thai seaman. Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse succumbed to influenza on May 19, 1923 at the age of 43. Despite decades of his passing, Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse contributions to the Thai navy and to society apparently imprint unforgettable memories on many Thais. More than 200 shrines and monuments of the Prince were erected throughout Thailand.

English Text Resource : PR of Naval Secretariat, Royal Thai Navy