Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Soviet Air Force in Britain

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by GRW, May 28, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Interesting story, if you ignore the geographic illiteracy of whoever wrote it.
    Apparently, Edinburgh and Dundee are next door.
    "His Grace the 6th Duke of Montrose was hosting a squadron of airmen at a discreet afternoon tea in Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. His guests were all crack frontline pilots who had flown against the Nazis in some of the most dangerous operations of the war.
    Yet while their new uniforms had been made by the best tailor - a Mr Novak - in the nearby city of Dundee, there was something alien about their appearance and conversation.
    Nor were they the only unusual aspects about this gathering on May 9, 1943. The pilots' very presence in the United Kingdom was - and remained - top secret.
    Though their flying duties would take them from Scotland to the Channel coast, no newspaper was allowed to report on them. The mission which had brought them to Britain was a diplomatic and military hot potato. This was because the flyers were all members of the Soviet Air Force.
    A few years earlier, thousands of their fellow officers had been purged - executed or sent to gulags - on the orders of Joseph Stalin, for suspected bourgeois or Western democratic sympathies.
    Now a hand-picked few were being pitched into the very bosom of reactionary capitalism, entertained at a royal palace by His Majesty King George VI's representative at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
    For both the British and Russians, it was a case of needs must in a war of national survival. But from necessity also grew mutual respect.
    The ducal tea and scones was but one episode in the wonderfully quixotic and often harrowing adventures of the only Soviet pilots to serve in Britain - or anywhere else - in a Royal Air Force unit.
    The current coronavirus lockdown prevented their long-untold story being celebrated as planned on May 8 on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in a ceremony at the village of Errol, near Perth.
    An obelisk is waiting to be shipped from Russia to become a permanent memorial beside Errol's parish church. The huge stone, mined in Russia's north-western region of Karelia, is of the same vibrant crimson quartzite which was used for the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in the wall of Moscow's Kremlin and Napoleon's mausoleum in Paris. Largely unsculpted, the rock will look like a Soviet meteorite which has landed in a rural corner of Great Britain."

Share This Page