In the spring last year, we featured an article on the Fearnan Air Crash which told the story of the Russian Airmen who were based at Errol on a top-secret mission, arranged in conjunction with the British Air Ministry. Three of the airmen, along with a Czech colleague, died when their plane crashed in the Cow Park in 1943.
Our ability to tell the story in such detail was due to Anna Belorusova contacting the Fearnan Blog. Anna wrote to us when she was researching her grandfather’s wartime service, and she has since written a book (to be published shortly) on the experience of the men of the Moscow Special Assignment Air Group who were stationed in Errol for part of the war. The book features a section on Fearnan, and the crash in the Cow Park.
On the 9th May this year, Anna and two other descendants of the Russian Airmen came to Fearnan to visit the crash site. For Anna, it was her second visit, and this time she brought Valery and Peter Petrovichev, the son and grandson of one of her grandfather’s fellow airmen. Both have followed in Grandfather Petrovichev’s footsteps and the family now has three generations of airmen. Bradley Borland, one of the custodians of the Errol Airfield and its history, accompanied them to Fearnan.
The 9th May is V-Day in Russia (similar to VE Day in the UK) when servicemen and women are honoured, so it was a very appropriate day for them to visit the crash site.
From the crash site, we went to the War Memorial, where Anna, Valery and Peter left a wreath in memory of their countrymen who died so close to the village. For Valery, it was the realisation of a long held an ambition to visit Scotland and see the places where his father served in WW2.
At a ceremony held at Errol Airfield earlier in the day, Anna and Valery had laid a wreath to commemorate the role of the 60 Russian pilots, navigators and engineers who were based in the Carse of Gowrie.
Valery and Peter live in Moscow and they were much taken with Fearnan’s hills and mountains, the loch and the different flora and fauna in Scotland. Lots of photos were taken, while the lambs on the Brae were the cause of much amusement. In Russia, sheep are reared in the Caucausus region, so lambs gambolling in fields are not such a familiar sight.
Next year will be the 75th anniversary of the Fearnan Air Crash and Anna is working on a plan to mark the occasion in conjunction with the Russian Consulate and colleagues at the Errol Air Base.
Valery and Peter brought a gift for Fearnan to thank us for helping to keep alive the memory of the airmen who died in 1943. It is a model plane that is the symbol of Vnukovo Airport, which was the Russian base of the Moscow Special Assignment Air Group. The plane is a TU-104, Russia’s first commercial jetliner, and we shall put it in the glass cabinet in the Hall.
Meanwhile, across on the other side of the Cow Park, work was starting to clear a space for a special seat which is to be installed at the top of the path from Quarry Road to Drummond Hill. Ian McGregor is gifting the seat in memory of his wife Ann who died last year, and it will mark a spot where they often sat to admire the wonderful view down the loch and to the hills beyond. A number of volunteers met to start the process of clearing the bracken around the spot, although there is still a lot of work to be done.
The FVA has bought some tools for the task and if you’re interested in volunteering for some bracken bashing, please contact The Blog and we’ll try and arrange dates that suit most people. The tools are available anytime for volunteers to use.
May Coffee Morning
The May Coffee Morning was well attended and provided a chance for much catching up and chat. Looking at the photos below, I’m just wondering if I missed the announcement that striped tops were to be worn!
The next Coffee Morning is on Tuesday 20th June at 10.30 am in the Hall and our summertime extravaganza, Strawberry TeaZ will be served on Saturday 15th July at 3pm in the Hall.
The May Book Club met to discuss “Secret Scriptures” by Sebastian Barry. It stimulated a range of responses around the rich language and the plight of the main character. The film is currently showing at the Birks cinema in Aberfeldy and some book club members have expressed interest in going to see it.
Next month’s book is To be Continued by James Robertson described as a “madcap Highland adventure from the Booker-longlisted author of And The Land Lay Still, and The Testament of Gideon Mack”.
The Group previously read his earlier novel The Testament of Gideon Mack which most enjoyed. It has been agreed that in future the group will meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, which means that the June meeting will be held on the 14th June.