Anna Yegorova

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Anna Yegorova
Native name Анна Александровна Тимофеева-Егорова
Born (1916-09-23)23 September 1916
Died 29 October 2009(2009-10-29) (aged 93)
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Flag of the Soviet Air Force.svg Soviet Air Force
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank Senior Lieutenant
Unit 130th Air Liaison Squadron (1941-1942)
805th Attack Aviation Regiment (1943-1944)
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
and other

Sr.Lt. Anna Alexandrovna Timofeyeva-Yegorova (Russian: Анна Александровна Тимофеева-Егорова; 23 September 1916 – 29 October 2009) was a pilot in the Red Army Air Force (VVS) during the Second World War. She flew in total 277 liaison, reconnaissance and ground-attack missions. Awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

Early years[edit]

Anna Yegorova was born in the peasant family in village Volodovo (now in Tver Oblast). She had 16 siblings 8 of whom died in infancy. Her father Alexander Yegorov fought in the First World War and then in the Russian civil war (on the Bolshevist side). Combat stress and other hardships deteriorated his health and in the year 1925 he died 49 years old. After 7 years of learning in school Yegorova joined Mosmetrostroy where she worked as a steelman and then as a tiler on the construction of Krasnye Vorota station. Work for Mosmetrostroy allowed her to fly in the Mosmetrostroy aero club. In the year 1938 she was recommended to Ulyanovsk flying school and entered it but soon was expelled because her elder brother was arrested as an "enemy of the people". Then she worked as an bookkeeper's assistant at a weaving factory in Smolensk while tutoring members of the factory's aero club. Then she was recommended to the Kherson flying school and was successfully graduated hence in 1939 (following the advice of the chairman of Smolensk Oblast Communist Party committee, she was silent about her connection to an "enemy of the people"). Then she became a flight instructor in the Kalinin (now Tver) municipal aero club.

Military career[edit]

After the German invasion Anna Yegorova volunteered for the frontline service. In 1941–42, she flew 236 reconnaissance and delivery missions[1] for the 130th Air Liaison Squadron in a wooden biplane, the Polikarpov Po-2 and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for distinguished service. After an aircrash which she reported to her commanding officer to be her fault, she was transferred to a training air regiment. In 1943 she was recruited to the 805th Attack Aviation Regiment and flew 41 missions in the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, including battles above the Taman Peninsula, Crimea and Poland. During these campaigns she flew in formations of four to six aircraft.

During an August 1944 mission when she was in formation of 15 aircraft to attack German forces at the Magnuszew bridgehead near Warsaw, Yegorova's plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Her gunner was killed, and the plane was heavily damaged. Rolling inverted, Yegorova was burned as she left the plane at a low altitude; her parachute only partially opened and she suffered broken bones and other internal injuries on hitting the ground. She was given first aid by her German captors, then taken to a prisoner of war camp where her wounds were tended by Dr. Georgy Sinyakov. Back at her air base, Yegorova was presumed dead and 'posthumously' recommended for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union but this resulted in awarding Order of the Patriotic War 1st class.

On 31 January 1945, Soviet forces overran the Küstrin prisoner camp where she was being held. Yegorova was interrogated as a potential traitor continuously for eleven days at an NKVD filtration camp for returning Soviet prisoners. After others vouched for her injuries and her conduct, she was released but invalided out of the Soviet Air Forces for medical reasons in 1945.

After the War[edit]

After her retirement Anna Yegorova married Vyacheslav Timofeev, the commander of her last air division, and became a housewife. Against the advice of physicians she bore two sons: Pyotr and Igor. Because of her former POW status[2] her membership in the Communist Party was terminated. (Technically she was not expelled but her membership card was forfeited "for the failure to pay the membership due during five months.") She struggled to be reinstated and succeeded only after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Anna Yegorova was the subject of a feature article in the Literaturnaya Gazeta in 1961, and in 1965, she was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Honours and awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Medal for Bravery Citation, 1943
  2. ^ Former Soviet prisoners of war and Soviet citizens who lived during the WWII on territory occupied by German forces were considered in the Stalinist USSR (and sometimes in the post-Stalin USSR, though to a much lesser extent) to be persons of questionable political loyalty.[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cottam, Kazimiera. Women in War and Resistance: Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers. Nepean, Canada: New Military Publishing, 1998.
  • Noggle, Anne. A Dance With Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1994.
  • Timofeyeva-Yegorova, Anna. trans. Margarita Ponomaryova, Kim Green. ed. Kim Green. Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 2009.