The visit of prince Ferdinand at Creusot






On October 1905 prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria visited France. He arrived in Paris on 16 October, was received by the French President, François Émile Loubet at the Élysée palace, went hunting at Compiègne, saw a play at the Comédie-Française and met the élite of the French high society. In particular on 18 October he went to the proving ground of Valenciennes, where he could observe the manoeuvres of six infantry battalions, four dragoons squadrons and six field artillery batteries of the French Army. The manoeuvres were directed by the commander of the 10th artillery brigade, gen. Guiran, and the two parties were commanded by colonels Rollin and Lefèvre. The prince was especially interested in the evolutions of the artillery, since at that time the Bulgarian Army has just started to equip its artillery with French quick-firing guns.


On 19 October at 11.30 Ferdinand left the capital at the Gare des Invalides and at the 18.30 he reached Creusot by train. The delegation that accompanied him was composed by Eugène Schneider, the factory general manager Gény, the manager of the artillery department Canet, his deputy Patart, the naval engineer attached to the factory Revol, the chief-secretary of the factory Lichtenberger, the technical manager of the yard of the Gironde department Huin and two managers assigned to the metallurgical works, de Frayssinet and Carret.

The Bulgarian delegation was composed by the Prime Minister gen. Racho Petrov, the Minister of War gen. Mihail Savov, the head of the Fleet capt. Paul Pichon, the ex-head of the Sofia Military School gen. Kiril Botev, the general-adjutant of the prince Danail Nikolaev, the aide-de-camp of the prince maj. Aleksi Stoyanov, the Bulgarian ambassador in France doctor Lubomir Zolotovitz, and the private secretary of the prince Nikola Lambrev. During his stay Ferdinand was lodged at Château de la Verrerie, Schneider’s residence in Creusot.


The main aim of the visit at Creusot was to examine the artillery matériel recently ordered by the Bulgarian Army. On 20 October the prince visited the various department of the works and could observe the lamination of an armour plate weighting 22,500 kg for the Russian cruiser Admiral Makarov, in course of construction at La Seine. In the hammer and presses shop he saw the fabrication of the shrapnels for field artillery assigned to Bulgarian, Russian and Portuguese Armies and the shaping of an armour plate for the French cruiser Ernest Renan.

On 21 October in the proving ground of Villedieu he could also test the new quick-firing field gun bought by the Bulgarian artillery, being very satisfied by its performances. In the evening Prince Ferdinand had a dinner with the officers of the Bulgarian military mission charged with the purchase of the guns. He left Creusot on 22 October in the morning and came back to Paris.