|Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin (nee Kravtsova)|
September 8, 1922|
|Died||June 5, 2005
|Allegiance||Soviet Union Russia|
|Service/branch||Soviet Air Force|
|Years of service||1941–1957|
|Commands held||46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin née Kravtsova (Russian: Наталья Фёдоровна Меклин, Ukrainian: Наталія Фёдорiвна Меклин; 1922–2005) was a much decorated World War II combat pilot in one of the three women-only Soviet air regiments. They were nicknamed the 'Night Witches' by their German opponents.
She was born on September 8, 1922, in Lubny, Ukraine. In 1940 she joined the glider school at the Kiev Young Pioneer Palace. When she was 19, in 1942 she joined the Night Witches, piloting a Polikarpov Po-2 light bomber, and by the end of the war had flown 980 night missions. In 1953 she graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages.
Subsequently she worked as a translator before retiring. She became a member of the Union of Soviet Writers. It is rewarded with the Order of Lenin, with Orders of the Patriotic War of the 1st and 2nd degrees, of the Red Star, with medals. Several schools are named after her in Smolensk, Poltava, Stavropol' and other cities. She was entitled honorable citizen of the city of Gdansk (Poland). She died in Moscow on 5 June 2005.
Awards and honors
- Hero of the Soviet Union
- Order of Lenin
- Three Orders of the Red Banner
- Order of the Red Star
- Two Orders of the Patriotic War
- Order of the Badge of Honour
- Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin"
- Medal "For the Defence of the Caucasus"
- Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Medal "Veteran of Labour"
- Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
- Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Cottam, Kazimiera Janina. Women in War and Resistance – Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers. Newburyport MA, Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Co. 1998. ISBN 1-58510-160-5.
- Milanetti, Gian Piero (2011). Le Streghe della Notte: La storia non detta delle eroiche ragazze-pilota dell'Unione Sovietica nella Grande Guerra Patriottica (in Italian). Istituto Bibliografico Napoleone, Roma, Italia. ISBN 88-7565-100-0.
- Milanetti, Gian Piero (2013). Soviet Airwomen of the Great Patriotic War - A pictorial history. Istituto Bibliografico Napoleone, Rome, Italy. ISBN 9788875651466.