http://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/15518 ... te]Newtown
man can finally bury remains of war pilot uncle
Published date: 24 November 2015 | Published by: Staff reporter
A CHURCH organist will bury the remains of his uncle after the Soviet Second World War fighter pilot’s body was finally discovered. Newtown man Andrey Chulovskiy, a Russian-born organist at St Mary’s Church in Welshpool, had always known that his Uncle Eustace Chulovskiy was lost when his plane was shot down over Poland towards the end of the Second World War. But after decades of not knowing where his family member lay, Mr Chulovskiy is looking forward to attending a special funeral service where it is hoped his uncle will be buried with full military honours.
The aircraft he was flying crashed into a river and lay hidden for 70 years. But after river levels in Poland fell to record lows in a prolonged drought, the Soviet fighter plane with the remains of its three crew was found in the riverbank, allowing the bodies of its crew to be identified.
“My Uncle Eustace was just 22 when his fighter plane, which was on a reconnaissance flight, went missing,” said 62-year-old Mr Chulovskiy, who lives in Newtown. “His parents and my mother, his sister, went to their graves not knowing the whereabouts of his body.”
In August, explorers found the remains of the Soviet fighter plane, thought to be a Ilyushin Il-2, in the Bzura river, a Vistula tributary, near the village of Kamion in central Poland. Remains of the three men on board have been removed and other pieces of the plane taken to a museum in nearby Wyszogrod.
“Now at last, some 70 years since his disappearance, we can lay his remains to rest and I am looking forward to being able to travel to Poland for a funeral service, which it is hoped will receive full military honours,” Mr Chulovskiy said. “It was a tremendous shock when the email arrived asking if I was a relative of Eustace Chulovskiy and after I confirmed I was, another message came confirming that he had at last been found. “It is a huge relief to know that we can have closure and I hope to join my cousins for the burial which will probably take place at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw. “My uncle’s sister, Lydia, is alive but not well enough to make the journey from Russia but she is very relieved that at last her brother has been found.”
The head of the Wyszogrod museum, Zdzislaw Leszczynski, said parts of Soviet uniforms, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar, parts of boots, a pilot’s TT pistol and radio equipment and a lot of heavy ammunition were also found. Mr Leszczynski said witnesses saw the plane being hit while flying low in January 1945. It crashed through the thick ice into the river. At the time, the German army was retreating toward Berlin before the Red Army’s advance. “Until now, the water level did not allow for the search and there was no-one willing to enter this swamp,” he said. The Vistula, which flows 651 miles from the Beskidy Mountains to the Baltic Sea, was at its lowest level since measurements started in the late 18th century.
A Russian embassy spokeswoman, Valeria Perzhinskaya, said the discovery was important and said the crew could be identified by the numbers on the wreckage and could be properly buried.
Mr Chulovskiy, a renowned pianist, has been in the UK since 2006 when he arrived as part of the Immigration Programme for Writers, Composers and Artists. He has been the organist at St Mary’s Church since 2009.[/quote]