In 1915, “The Great War” was in full swing.
It was surprising then, when a band of 12th Century Crusaders rode into Tbilisi asking about joining the war.
This was a whole 7 months after Russia had declared war on Turkey.
The event is documented in Richard Halliburton’s “Seven League Boots” book published in 1935. He describes the event on page 162.
“In the spring of 1915, some months after Russia’s declaration of war against Turkey, a band of twelfth-century Crusaders, covered from head to foot in rusty chain armour and carrying shields and broad-swords came riding on horseback down the main avenue of Tiflis [Tbilisi].
People’s eyes almost popped out of their heads. Obviously this was no cinema company going on location. These were Crusaders – or their ghosts.
The incredible troop clanked up to the governor’s palace. ‘Where’s the war?’ They asked. ‘We hear there’s a war’.
They had heard in April 1915 that there was a war. It had been declared in September 1914. The news took seven months to reach the last of the Crusader…”
The warriors were Khevsurs from the historical Khevsureti region of north east Georgia. Legend tells that they are descended from Crusaders who left France 800 years ago and became detached from the main army, marched through Turkey and Armenia and settled in the Greater Caucasus mountains in Georgia.
Source: About Georgia