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Mannerheim
Friherre Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland

ARMS: Quarterly per saltire: chief, or two banners azure with staves proper in saltire each banner charged with two arrows in saltire Or armed and fletched Argent and in chief a coronet Or; dexter, azure a mount Or and in chief a star Argent; sinister, Azure an artillery redoubt with five bastions Or in plan voided of the field between two stars of six points Argent in pale; base, Gules two cannon in saltire cantoned by four cannonballs Or; the quarters divided by a saltire formy Argent; overall an inescutcheon of the arms Azure a bend Or between six lozenges Argent.

SOURCE/NOTES & CREDITS: Blason translated from the Swedish by D.Q.Wedvick, interpreted for blazon by: John Hamilton Gaylor and source for arms: “Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Vapenbok”, by Carl Arvid Klingspor, Riksheraldiker, Ridderhus, Stockholm, ( ND, about 1890 ), page 22 and the blazon in Swedish from “Den Svenska Adelns Vapenbok”, by Raneke and Dahlby, Albert Bonniers Förlag, Stockholm 1967. Text by D.Q.Wedvick from [1] the Wikipedia articles. [2] “The Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim”, translated by Count Eric Lewenhaupt, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1954, [3] Mannerheim Marshal of Finland, by Stig Jägerskiöld, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1986, ( This is a one volume abridgement of the original shown below. ) [4] For those who read Finnish or Swedish and have access, there is the monumental eight volume definitive biography in those languages by his noble cousin, Stig Jägerskiöld, ( their grandparents were siblings ) written between 1964-1982.

Friherre (Baron ) Gustaf Mannerheim was born on 4 June 1867 as a Swedish speaking Finn, a member of the nobility in both Sweden and Finland, and, I believe, took lessons to learn Finnish as late as 1918. He was fluent in Russian, French, German and English but Swedish was his mother tongue.

Mannerheim was his family’s representative ( his older brother, the count, was in exile in Sweden at the time) at the last meeting of the Four Estates ( Clergy, Nobles, Burghers and Peasants ) as a government in 1906 in Finland. I believe they replaced themselves with a universally elected single chamber diet for their government.

It is to be noted that Mannerheim also had Scottish ancestry on his paternal side, his ancestor, a George Henry Wright was founder of the Swedish & Finnish noble family of von Wright having emigrated from Dundee, Scotland to Sweden in the 17th century.

Mannerheim pursued a very successful career as a military officer in the Imperial Russian Army. He rose from the rank of cornet to that of Lt. General of Cavalry ( commanding a Corps of Cavalry of at least two Divisions ) before retiring to Finland when Russia broke out with their revolution in 1917.

Interestingly, as a lieutenant whilst assigned to the Emperor’s “Chevalier Guards” we have a photo in which he is shown as right front escorting the Emperor Nicholas II under his baldachin on 26 May 1896 in Moscow on the occasion of his coronation. The photo is B&W so Mannerheim’s breastplate appears black with the Chevalier Guards’ huge silver breast star in the middle. Both Mannerheim and the Emperor are recognizable.

He was cited for Gallantry in Action against the Germans in 1915 and 1916. For his personal bravery he was the recipient of the Sword of St. George ( given for personal bravery for some feat under fire without regard to rank ) and then appointed a Knight 4th Class of the Order of George Cross ( for the same reason, but much more rarely given with less than 10 Finns being the recipient of this award ) what is remarkable is that he was a a Major General first of a brigade and then of a cavalry division when these actions took place. It is verra unusual that a General Officer gets such decorations…he lead from the front obviously and by personal example ..usually done by lieutenant colonels and colonels who frequently get themselves killed … The American Douglas MacArthur, as a Brigadier General, also lead such a charmed life in WWI. The highest Russian decoration Mannerheim received was the Order of St. Vladimir 2nd Class with Swords in 1916.

Mannerheim was elected by Finland’s Parliament as Regent of Finland on
12 December 1918 serving in that position through 25 July 1919. He as decorated by the Kingdom of Sweden with the Order of the Seraphim and by the Kingdom of Denmark with the Order of the Elephant.

He also served as Finland’s Military Commander in their War of Independence of 1917-18, the Winter War of 1939-40 against the Soviet Union and the Continuation War of 1941-44 also against the Soviet Union.

On the 17 of March 1942 , the Sweden’s Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, invested the Marshal, at his headquarters in Mikkeli, Finland, with the Grand Cross, First Class, of the Swedish Order of the Sword, the insignia of which included a small straight sword about 3” high worn on the breast, point up, very rarely conferred …before Mannerheim, the last person to receive this award was the Emperor Napoleon III of France.

In respect of his age and singular leadership abilities, he was appointed Marshal of Finland on his 75th birthday on 4 June 1942, he had been previously appointed Field Marshal on 19 May 1933. These were unique appointments never to be repeated

And, a little bit later the Marshal was elected President of Finland and installed on 4 August 1944 to guide Finland safely through the difficult times of 1944-45 which he did successfully, stepping down on 4 March 1946. Mannerheim’s health declined and he died 28 January 1951 at age 83. Finland gave him a State Funeral. dqw 20100203

See also our entries under Jägerskiöld and Pellew.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

Wedvick Armorial, 059d, Mannerheim, 20080622
Massey0149.jpg Marcenaro.jpg Mannerheim11.jpg MacMahon_02-29-1_copy.jpg MacDougall_022.jpg
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