Pvt. Vera "Ivan" Cavoski

A Serbian Soldier


Before the war, Vera had little care in the world except for the love of her life, and her cows. She now contends with keeping herself alive and undiscovered as “Ivan”. She thinks that her commander, Lt. Peter Kadijević, might know, but so far he has not said anything.


Vera was born on a farm in on 3 April 1896 outside Aleksinac, the youngest of three. She grew up alongside the cows and chickens, and like most other farm girls in Serbia expected her life to not extend far beyond one day being a farmer’s wife. Her childhood was a quiet one, and though her parents worked her hard, they were always very loving.

In 1912 when Vera was 16, the Serbian Army passed through her farm, requisitioning supplies for the First Balkan War, Vera met a young soldier named Todor. Despite being only in the area for a few days, the two took to each other. Todor was quite the gentleman, despite his friends egging on, and Vera wrote to him in secret after the army moved out.

This correspondence continued through the Second Balkan War, when Todor’s unit coincidentally came through the same area. Again they met and again he left, and the correspondence continued.

Then in 1914, the Great War was declared, and after three months, the letters stopped coming. Vera ran away from home to find her Todor. She cut her hair short and joined the Army as “Ivan Cavoski”. Despite the fabulous luck in meeting him in 1913, 1914 was not as lucky, and “Ivan” was assigned to Lt. Peter Kadijević‘s platoon under Sgt. Marko Pasic. She soon became friends with Pvt. Konstantin Zukic, who’s melancholy nature she tried to reverse. When Belgrade fell, the Army evacuated, eventually for the Greek island of Corfu. She managed to remain unharmed and undiscovered the whole time.

Pvt. Vera "Ivan" Cavoski

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