KLICHEV DISTRICT, 11 June (BelTA) – A full-scale expedition to unearth an IL-4 bomber has begun in a swamp near the village of Rogi, Klichev District, Mogilev Oblast. The bomber did not return from a combat mission in October 1943, BelTA has learned.
Members of the Mogilev historic and patriotic scout club Vikkru and students of the Klichev State Agrarian Technology College are taking part in the work. Special equipment and vehicles are in use. Hundreds of fragments of the bomber were unearthed in the first half of the day, including part of the cylinder head bearing a serial number. It will allow confirming names of the crew and their combat mission.
Daniil Chistyakov, a student of the college, was the one who found the bit of the engine. It is the first time he has taken part in such an event. “We come into contact with live history here. We help restore memory about heroes of the past war, their bravery and heroism,” he noted.
Participants of the operation are literally sorting through tonnes of soil with their bare hands in order to find all the fragments. The fragments are then washed and laid out to determine where they belong. Vitaly Masold, a member of the Vikkru club, is the key expert on site. He graduated from the Chelyabinsk Supreme Military Aviation College of Navigators. “Here is, for instance, a very valuable find,” he said. “From all appearances, it is an aircraft sighting device. It can be a worthy addition to the collection of any museum. But certainly it is not the thing that matters for us. We endeavor to find out names of the heroes. We want their deeds remembered in order to reduce the number of white spots in the history of the Great Patriotic War.”
Local residents, who saw aerial combat on the night of 12-13 October 1943, helped the scouts find the place where the bomber crashed. German fighters attacked the Soviet bomber that night. The commander and the air gunner, who tried to land on parachutes, are buried at the local cemetery. Only the navigator managed to survive. He returned to the regiment to tell the tale of the bomber's death.
The scouts also know that the radio operator was killed while in the air and dropped in the forest swamp together with the bomber. “We've found the engine's number. We are nearly confident we can confirm the available information about the crew,” said Nikolai Borisenko, head of the Vikkru club. “Now we are focusing efforts on finding remains of the 21-year-old radio operator Aleksei Goncharenko from Ukraine's Sumy Oblast.”
If the remains are found, they will be solemnly reburied in a mass grave. The search will continue on 12 June.More about Society