15/04/2015
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Russians in Scotland exhibition to highlight wartime connections

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A new exhibition opening at Montrose Air Station in May will highlight the wartime connections between Scotland and Russia and tell the story of a top secret World War Two mission by 24 elite Soviet pilots.

The Russians in Scotland will open on 15 May 2015 in the presence of a delegation from Russia, consisting of the Head of Vnukovo Aviation Museum and several descendants of  pilots of the 10th Guards Air Division, who were sent to Errol Airfield, near Perth, to learn how to fly Whitworth Armstrong Albemarle bombers in 1943.

The exhibition was inspired by Anna Belorusova, the granddaughter of Soviet pilot Commander Peter Kolesnikov, who visited Scotland last year to find out more about her grandfather's wartime work. She said: 'My grandfather died soon after World War Two and among treasured possessions at home there was a map of the coast of Britain, a Christmas menu adorned with a thistle and a photograph of him with ten other Soviet airmen, which was a puzzle to me all my life.' Anna's investigation into her grandfather’s war records led to the discovery that Soviet pilots had secretly trained at Errol and Hurn in Dorset from 1943 to 1944.

During her investigations, Anna met military historian Dan Paton, who realised that the story would make an interesting exhibition. He commented: 'Many of the Soviet pilots’ descendants who are attending the opening ceremony have followed in their father or grandfather’s footsteps and are pilots themselves. I’m sure they will be fascinated by the information, photographs, documents and memorabilia on display at the exhibition and also by Montrose Air Station’s aviation artefacts, including planes, vehicles and buildings from World War I and World War II.'

Montrose Air Station, Waldron Road, Montrose, Angus DD10 9BD; tel: 01674 678222; website.

Read more about wartime Scotland in our news and features archive.

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