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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Ayrshire memorial to Russian boat
A memorial pays tribute to the boat's crew
A ceremony has taken place at the final resting place of an iconic Russian boat which ran aground off the Ayrshire coast more than 85 years ago.

A group of senior Russian politicians, Navy personnel and prominent business people travelled from Moscow to take part in the event at Lendalfoot.

The cruiser Varyag became famous for its defiance after being surrounded by Japanese battleships in 1904.

A memorial has been created near the village to pay tribute to its crew.

The story of the Varyag has been told to generations of Russian schoolchildren as an example of bravery and determination.

Serious damage

The ship and another Russian gunboat were surrounded by 15 Japanese battleships at the Korean port of Chemulpo in January, 1904.

The Japanese commander demanded that they surrender, but the Russian seamen rejected the ultimatum.

They led both ships out of the port to engage in battle, where they sustained serious damage.

The Varyag ran aground off Lendalfoot

When it became clear that continued resistance was impossible, the Russians scuttled the ships and were taken aboard by foreign vessels.

They returned to a heroes' welcome in Russia.

The Japanese recovered the vessel in 1905 and it served in their navy after being repaired.

It was returned to Russia in 1916 and the following year the Varyag was sent to Britain for repairs.

However, it was forgotten after the October Revolution and was eventually sold to Germany as a hulk in 1920.

It was while being transported to Germany that the boat ran agound just off the coast at Lendalfoot.

Alexander Gromov, the Deputy of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation, said it was fitting that a memorial had been created.

He hoped that Russian people would be able to visit the area and pay their own tributes to the crew.

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