A monument commemorating Soviet pilots from the Moscow Special Purpose Air Group (MAON) was opened in the Scottish city of Errol. Provost of Perth and Kinross Dennis Melloy thanked Anna Belorusova, the granddaughter of the MAON crew commander Peter Kolesnikov, for perpetuating the memory of the heroes of World War II.
The unveiling of the memorial stone made from shokshinsky crimson quartzite, which was used for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin Wall, is timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory and the Remembrance Day. In the UK and the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, Remembrance Day is celebrated on November 11, following a tradition established after the First World War by King George V (1865-1936), the grandfather of the reigning Queen Elizabeth II. Karelian sculptor Alexander Kim is the author of the monument. The plaque was manufactured at the Petrozavodskmash foundry according to the design of Ivan Yudinkov, the grandson of a MAON pilot.
The Moscow Special Purpose Air Group is a military transport aviation formation, which was established in June 1941 from the most experienced pilots of the Civil Air Fleet. MAON pilots carried out some of the most important assignments of the Red Army High Command. They delivered food to besieged Leningrad, carried out amphibious operations behind enemy lines, supplied troops surrounded by Rzhev and Vyazma with ammunition, evacuated the wounded in the last days of the defence of Sevastopol, and brought supplies to the partisans.
In early 1943, in the strictest secrecy, Soviet officers were transferred to Errol airbase in the east of Scotland, where they joined the special 305th Royal Air Force detachment, created to train crews and deliver Albemarle aircrafts to Moscow. At the height of World War II, the British government handed several of these twin-engined bombers over to the Soviet Union, which was experiencing an acute shortage of transport aircraft. Only the most experienced pilots, who managed to master the new machines, were able to make the long overnight flight over the North Sea and the territories occupied by the enemy.
Based on TASS materials