Yevgeniy Vesyoly

Yevgeniy Vesyoly

Born April 15th 1926 Rechista, Belarus.

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class) and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Aviation Mechanic Normandie-Nieman Regiment: Battle Of Berlin.

“French pilots flew our airplanes…the pilots shook hands with us after the missions” Yevgeniy was a mechanic in the famous Normandie-Nieman Regiment. Founded in 1943, the Normandie-Niemen Regiment was a fighter pilot squadron, later regiment (of three squadrons) of the French Air Force “ The free French” who fought with the Soviets on the Eastern Front until the end of the war. The regiment is notable for being one of only two

air combat units from an Allied western European country to participate on the Eastern Front during World War II, the other being the British No. 151 Wing RAF. The regiment fought in three campaigns on behalf of the Soviet Union between 22 March 1943, and 9 May 1945, during which time it destroyed 273 enemy aircraft.

One night Yevgeniy was alone guarding the planes when the aerodrome was ambushed:

“That night the Germans attacked and fired at us. I was on my own at my post. I fired back all night, running from one place to another. I was trying to make the Germans think that I wasn’t alone there. In the morning other soldiers came to help me fire back at the Germans.”

After the Second World War, Yeveginy was sent to train communist forces in China:

“When we were sent to China we were dressed as civilians. When we got to China we trained, through interpreters, Chinese mechanics to operate the aircraft. The Chinese were very good people. The treated us very well. They were so grateful”.

He was demobilized in 1952 and worked as a wood turner in Rechitsa, Belarus before immigrating to Canada.