Napalkov Petr Yakovlevich
(01.25.1874 - 1940)
Russian military topographer. Born in the Simsk district of the Ufa
province, in a peasant family. Grandfather and father were serf
owners of the Balashevs.
received his primary education at a factory school, then after home
schooling he entered the Ufa land surveying school and then to the
Practical Oriental Academy.
In 1907-1909, he took part in the expedition of Peter Kozlov to
Central Asia, where he had to deal not only with topographic
surveys, but also with compiling entomological, geological,
ethnographic and botanical collections, take part in archaeological
excavations of the city of Haro-Hoto buried under the sands with a
library from 2000 books and manuscripts written in the then unknown
language of the ancient people of si-xi. In the recall of the
expedition leader there are such words: "... Napalkov contributed to
the success of the Mongol-Sichuan expedition, for which, in my
opinion, he was awarded the title of full member of the Geographical
Society, the Semenov-Tyanshan gold medal and three hundred rubles a
year of a life pension".
The report of Peter Napalkov on this expedition was published in
"Notes of the Russian Geographical Society". It is distinguished
from a dry expeditionary report by its excellent literary language
and lively observations, interesting not only to specialists, but
also to a simple reader: “Near the village of Juedejondo, the steep
slope of the valley is composed of red coarse-grained sandstones,
loess deposits of which ...” and further “To Lan “Zhou Fu, we
arrived on August 3 at 7 pm and stayed in a very dirty hotel, which
in its design resembled a darkened corridor with a dozen dirty rooms
For many years of expedition to Central Asia and service for the
good of the Fatherland, Peter Napalkov was awarded the orders of
Vladimir IV degree,
St. Stanislav II degree,
St. Anna II degree,
memory of the war with Japan" and others.
In the First World War, already with the rank of Colonel Napalkov,
he directed the shooting of military maps. When in 1918 Petrograd
was in the ring of the German blockade, topographic archives were
evacuated to Omsk. So, Pyotr Napalkov with his wife and five
children ended up in Siberia.
With the establishment of Soviet power in Omsk, Napalkov was
appointed head of the cartographic department of the Ob-Yenisei
hydrographic unit. For many years he himself conducted field
observations along the shores of the Gulf of Ob, usually leading a
topographic party of 7-8 Red Army men. They traveled along the coast
with a survey on a six-boat with the Archimedes outboard engine,
rare in those years. To land on the shore, a flat-bottomed two-row
boat was used, and sometimes a tiny Nenets cloud, lifting no more
than 2 people.
Since 1933, Napalkov worked in Polar Hydrography - the West Siberian
Hydrographic Directorate of the Glavsevmorput.
In the late 1930s. he was remembered for a short retreat with
Kolchak’s troops. He was repressed and died. Date of death and
burial place unknown.
Village at Cape Hasreux on the
eastern shore of the Gulf of Ob.