Dāvids Sīmansons (1859 - 1933), Commander-in-Chief of the Latvian Army, Minister of Defense, General
I WW1 & Wars of Independence

Ģenerālis Dāvids Sīmansons (centrā) un pulkvedis Jānis Balodis Rīgā, Daugavmalā Latvijas Pagaidu valdības sagaidīšanas laikā 1919. gada 8. jūlijā. Foto no Cēsu Vēstures un mākslas muzeja.

Dāvids (also Dāvis) Sīmansons was born on March 23, 1859 (April 4, 1843) in Pīlāti half-manor of Valmiera parish. Graduated from Limbaži County School. 1880 joined the 115th Vyazma Infantry Regiment as a volunteer. In 1882 he graduated from the infantry junk school in Riga. Studied at the General Staff Academy in St. Petersburg. Participated in the Russo-Japanese War. Colonel since 1910. In April 1912, he was appointed commander of the 66th Infantry Regiment. From 1914 he took part in the battles of World War I against the German army in the territory of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. 1915 promoted to Major General in May, appointed Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 17th Infantry Division. Awarded with the orders of Stanislav I, III class, Anna III class, Vladimir III, IV class, Sv. The Sword of the Order of St. George. He left the service in October 1917. Until 1919. lived in Vitebsk and Orl. Returned to Riga on January 8, 1919.

D. Simansons joined the Latvian Army on June 6, 1919, and from July 10, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Minister of Defense from 15 July to 10 September. He was relieved of his post as Commander-in-Chief on 16 October. In the summer of 1919, D. Simansons undertook the establishment of a Latvian army of units different in character and form, without sufficient supply and provision, in the conditions of general military and political turmoil, when the Provisional Government only began to organize a state apparatus . In this difficult situation, he also had to perform diplomatic functions in relations with foreign missions and the command of external armed forces, to resolve the issue of reorganization of the German Landeswehr into a Latvian army unit and others. Successfully fulfilled its tasks, laying the organizational and structural basis for the Latvian army.

For the sensible and energetic action taken during the Bermont attack on 9-10 October 1919. In October 1926, Dāvids Sīmansons was awarded the 3rd class of the Lāčplēsis War Order.

From December 1920 he was a member of the Council of the Ministry of Defense (since 1922 - War). In 1924 he was appointed Acting Chairman of the Council of the Ministry of War. In February 1925, Symanson was discharged from the army due to illness. David Simanson died in 1933. January 13. Buried in Riga, Brothers Cemetery.

A memorial plaque (sculptor Jānis Strupulis) was unveiled to Dāvids Sīmansons near the former district school in Limbaži in 2014.

More information sources

Eric Jacobson. David Simanson. - National Encyclopedia: https://enciklopedija.lv/skirklis/29934-D%C4%81vids-S%C4%ABmansons

Biography of the Knight of the Order of David Simanson Lāčplēsis: http://lkok.com/detail1.asp?ID=1402

Related objects

Brothers' Cemetery in Riga

Riga Brothers’ Cemetery is located in the northern district of Riga. The cemetery extends over an area of 9 ha and is the most outstanding and significant memorial ensemble in Latvia dedicated to the fallen Latvian soldiers. About 3,000 soldiers are buried here. The Brothers’ Cemetery was created during World War I after the first three Latvian Riflemen, who fell in Tīreļpurvs in the battle against the German Army, were buried here. Later Latvian soldiers who had died in other battles and wars would also be buried in the Brothers’ Cemetery. The memorial is based on the design of the sculptor Kārlis Zāle, and is the first memorial ensemble in Europe with such landscape, architecture and sculptural value. It uses elements typical to the Latvian landscape, traditional farmsteads, Latvian folklore and history that praise the characteristics of soldiers and tell the story of the way of the soldier. The memorial was unveiled in 1936 and it has three parts: ‘The Road of Though’ which is a 250 m long alley, ‘Terrace of Heroes’ with the Altar of the Sacred Flame and ensemble the Sacred Oak Grove, and the burial ground with the Latvian wall and a memorial of a mother with her fallen sons.

Related stories

For the first Commander-in-Chief of the Latvian Army David Simanson

The essays of the book "Latvian Army Commanders" convince that history is significantly influenced by specific people. Although at the epicenter of the most important historical events for a short time, the true Latvian patriots, with their rich military experience, managed to accomplish a lot in the formation and strengthening of the Latvian army and the turn of historical events.
This story is about the first commander-in-chief of the Latvian army, David Simanson (1859-1933).