27 November 2020
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London: 06:38

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PHOTO REPORTS

On opening the memorial dedicated to Russian airmen in Errol

On Remembrance Day 11th November a memorial dedicated to Russian airmen will be unveiled in Britain, timed to the 75th Victory Anniversary year.

At the height of WWII the British Government gave the Soviet Union, which had been suffering a severe shortage of transport aircraft, twin-engine bombers ‘Albemarle’. A long night flight across the North Sea and enemy-occupied territories could be managed by ace-pilots only.  

The top-secret mission of the State Defense Committee was entrusted to the hand-picked experienced crews of the Moscow Special Assignment Airgroup - an elite air division of the military transport aviation formed in June 1941 of the best civil airmen of the country to perform critical tasks for the High Command.

The Airgroup had delivered food to besieged Leningrad, performed massive airborne operations behind the enemy lines, supplied with ammunition armies trapped in the enemy circle near Vyazma and Rzhev, evacuated the wounded in the last days of Sevastopol defense, dropped parachute reconnaissance and brought aid to the Resistance hiding in the depth of the woods. 

In early 1943 the Russian officers, in groups, were covertly flown to RAF Errol in the east of Scotland, where they joined RAF 305 Air Unit, specially created to train the crews and ferry the aircraft to Moscow.

The Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvidkoi: “Prior to their allied mission in Britain the airmen had taken part in the hardest battles of the Great Patriotic War, before the turning point at Stalingrad. Today they have become a symbol of the overall respect for the combat past of the countries who stood shoulder to shoulder in the war against the Nazism. The Errol Memorial is a result of the good will and selfless efforts of people from Russia and Britain sharing the same aspiration to pass on that memory to the future generations.’

The Memorial to be installed by the Village Church in the center of Errol is a natural rock of Shoksha crimson quartzite. It is the same stone which the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall is lined with. The Hero-cities’ names inscribed in gold on the blocks going there along the memorial walkway correspond to the Airgroup’s combat operations. The Errol Stone is a work by a Karelian sculptor Aleksandr Kim. The plaque designed by Ivan Yudinkov, a grandson of one of the pilots, was cast at the Petrozavodsk Foundry.   

Earlier at Khvoinaya Village, Novgorod region, where in autumn-winter 1941 the airmen had been based while supplying besieged Leningrad, a memorial plaque was unveiled, also cast by the Petrozavodsk craftsmen.

The history of the legendary Airgroup and the Russian-British allied operation ‘Albemarle’, became widely known after the release of the book ‘Special Assignment Airmen’ by Anna Belorusova, a granddaughter of pilot commander Pyotr Kolesnikov. On the same day, 11th November, in the hero’s native village Mitrofanovka, Voronezh region, his memorial museum will open.

Today the cargo ship with the Memorial Stone on board has sailed off St Petersburg and set course for a British port.

 





LATEST EVENTS

13.11.2020

Monumet to Soviet pilots installed in Errol

On 11th November 2020 the memorial to the Soviet pilots, who fought during World War II and took part in the joint Soviet-British secret operation ‘Albemarle’, has been installed in Errol, Scotland. The event also commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany.


08.11.2020

Remembrance Day at Soviet War Memorial

On 8 November Remembrance Day was marked at the Soviet War Memorial on the grounds of the Imperial War Museum in the London borough of Southwark.


22.10.2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin visits Natural History Museum

On 22 October 2020, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin visited the Natural History Museum in London to see the photo exhibition dedicated to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, which was won by the Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov and his capture of the rare and glorious Amur tigress "The Embrace".


06.10.2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin speaks at Harrow School

On 6 October, 2020 Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom Mr Andrei Kelin delivered a speech at Harrow School, one of the oldest and most prominent British private schools for boys.


03.09.2020

Opening of the Memorial to the fallen soldiers in Manchester

On 3 September 2020 Ambassador Andrei Kelin participated in the unveiling ceremony of the Memorial in honoured memory of the Soviet soldiers who gave their lives liberating Europe, and in recognition of the brave people of the besieged Leningrad. Participants of the ceremony also included Lord Mayor of Manchester City Councillor Abid Latif Chohan, representatives of the Russian Embassy in London and the Russian community of Manchester.


21.08.2020

Russian diplomats visit British potato processing enterprise in Norfolk

On 19 August 2020 diplomats of the Russian Embassy visited British enterprise “Albert Bartlett” in county Norfolk which specialises in potato processing and producing potato meals. Diplomats met the owners and managers of the company and then had a tour of the enterprise. Matters related to the development of cooperation in humanitarian and agricultural areas, as well as organising a visit to Russian agricultural enterprises were discussed.


28.07.2020

Agricultural Attaché Derbenskiy visits British farm in county Cornwall

On 24-25 July 2020 the Agricultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy Vladimir Derbenskiy visited agricultural farm Trevear Farm and potato processing plant in Cornwall. Vladimir Derbenskiy met the owner and had a tour of fields and livestock farm. Matters related to the development of cooperation between Russian and British farmers and organizing a visit to Russian agricultural enterprises were discussed.


22.06.2020

Candle Lighting Ceremony to commemorate the Day of Memory and Sorrow

On the Day of Memory and Sorrow Ambassador Andrei Kelin took part in a commemorative Candle Lighting Ceremony near the Soviet War Memorial in London. Together we pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives defending the Motherland against the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War.


17.06.2020

On presenting school diplomas

On 17 June 2020, the Embassy hosted the ceremony of presenting school diplomas of upper (full) secondary education to the graduates of the Russian Embassy School. Messages of congratulations were said by Ambassador Andrei Kelin and the school Principal Sergey Salomakhin, who presented the long-awaited diplomas as well as gold medals to those who completed the school course with excellence.


09.05.2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin participated in the wreath laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial in London on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War

On 9 May 2020 Ambassador Andrei Kelin participated in the wreath laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial near the Imperial War Museum in London on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.



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