Yugoslav Nationalist Youth Groups: Adriatic Guard / Jadranska Straža

Figure 1.--This is the cover of the Adriatic Guard (Jadranska Straža) magazine.

We note references to the Adriatic Guard duruing the 1930s. We are not sire if this time if it was an exclusively Croatian group or was active in the other Yugoslav republics. Note that the magazine is printed in the Rioman alphabet. This suggests that the group was Croatian rather than Serbian. It was a boys' group. We initially thought that the age a boy had to be to join was 11 upwards. However, photographs suggest that boys younger than 11 could join. One photograph shows a mixed age range of boys. Two of them seem to be aged only about 9 years. The movement seems to have been more prevalent in towns and cities close to the Adriatic coastline. It seems to have functioned somewhat like the British Sea Scouts or perhaps more likely a sports club. The purpowe was to develop a love of the sea and its environs and nautical skills in the boys. Most of the photographs we have found of the group the the Croatian city of Split, but there were towns such as Beaebnt and Rab. The boys wore a white sailor suit uniform. They are also shown in rowing boats enjoying the sea. There was a membership card and various little badges which show that they are members of the movement rather than achievement badges. The children were grouped according to age and their seamanship skills. Novices would start in the beginning group and work through the different proficiency levels. Older boys look very military in their uniform but I think the photograph shows the instructors. I am unsure as to whether it was a youth movement for later recruitment the navy. I am inclined to thing that this was not its purpose. The book about this movement suggests that it an after school activity and most likely met in the afternoon or early evening. There was a full programme. The boys likely had military drill to develop discipline and team spirit. They learnt nautical skills. Reading maps and learning to use sailing equipment. A large proportion of their programme was about maritime ecology and what we would now call conservation. There was an art lessons, writing sea stories and poetry about the sea. To raise money the boys were encouraged to organise activities which would bring in revenue to finance the purchase of equipment. Organising dances and social activates was the most profitable fund raising activities. There was also a yearly Adriatic Guard event. This would be a grand parade through the town. The parade seems to have been colourfully decorated boats manned by one of the boys wearing their uniforms. the boats seem to be peddle powered. The Adriatic Guard had its own magazine. The cover shows the fun to be had in this youth group. The magazine image of an 11 year old steering a sailing ship is an appealing adventure. Other photographs that may have been taken by family members show the boys enjoying the sailing activities. The Adriatic Guard doesc not seem to have been a large youth movement because it seems to have been strongest in the coastal areas of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. We have not been able to find much additional information about the organization other than a Uugoslav postage stamop issued to commenorate it. We think that when the Germans invaded the Kingdom during World War II (April 1941), the movement ceased to function.


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Created: 12:45 AM 7/15/2013
Last updated: 10:08 PM 7/15/2013