Born 1926 Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine
Interviewed In: Vancouver, British Columbia
Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class) and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War
Military Medical Train Volunteer, Rifleman, Radio Operator – Battle Of Kursk, Western Front
Grigori was 15 when The Soviet Union entered World War II. His father was drafted and served as a military doctor, leaving Grigori and his mother in Kamenets-Podolsk. They were evacuated to Kharkov when Nazis began bombing their town.
“When I saw 10 planes flying, bombs started falling from the last one. I saw the objects. And explosions started setting off. It didn’t make itself felt…because in border towns neither enemies’ nor our aviation didn’t take the air because of the terms… the law ruling in border towns for planes not to take air. After that, when people started running away from
the Old Town telling us about casualties – those wounded and killed by the bombs – one bomb fell into our relatives’ yard killing them and destroying the house… ”.
In Kharkov, Grigori’s mother worked in a military hospital. He volunteered there for 2 years before enlisting in the army himself and volunteering to serve on a military medical train.
“I ended up joining #43 military medical train. I was a medical attendant. Each medical attendant served for one train car, 60 patients per train car. At such a young age I had to carry wounded soldiers, especially those arriving from medical battalions. ”
Grigori’s medical train transported soldiers from The Battle of Kursk to hospital a hospital in Irkutsk. They treated wounded soldiers in Manchuria and Mongolia returning to The Western Front. Around this time Grigori volunteered for active duty. He was sent to a radio training program before being stationed on the front lines in Belarus.
“We were sent to a communications regiment in the central section of the West Front, town Borisov, Belarus. Interestingly, the enemy equipped with radars were able to identify the location of our radio station right when we were on the air. They knew that there was supposed to be an HQ and the command around. They would quickly open artillery fire targeting the spot”.
Grigori would use his radio training after the war, working with the navy to improve submarine communication at extreme depths. After retiring in 1976, Grigori was a frequent guest lecturer at Soviet naval academies. He currently lives in Vancouver.