Rus­sian Sol­diers at Rest in Wiltshire

This England - - News - STEVE KEMP

In July 1940, the Ger­mans took com­plete con­trol of the Chan­nel Is­land of Alder­ney. By May 1942, hav­ing built four camps on the is­land, the Schutzstaffel SS Baubri­gade be­gan to ship in 6,000 POWS, mostly East Euro­peans, to build military for­ti­fi­ca­tions, as forced labour.

About 1,600 of the POWS were Soviet sol­diers, cap­tured dur­ing the later part of 1941. Dur­ing their time on Alder­ney they were bru­tally treated, starved and forced to work long hours in all con­di­tions. Many were ex­e­cuted be­cause they were too ill to work. Ap­prox­i­mately 700 died on the is­land. Just be­fore the end of 1944, the Ger­mans, to try and avoid war crimes tri­als, shipped the re­main­ing pris­on­ers back to France.

When the Bri­tish lib­er­ated Alder­ney on 16th May 1945, they found three Rus­sian POWS hid­ing in a derelict cot­tage. They were starv­ing and all had wounds from their treat­ment by the SS. The three were taken by the Red Cross ship Vega to Wey­mouth. From there they were moved to the Tid­worth Military Hos­pi­tal in Wiltshire, but sadly they could not be saved.

All three: Niko­lay Ho­ri­a­cyk, Alexei Noy­akres and Stanislav Suleimanow were buried, side by side, in the Military Ceme­tery at Tid­worth Gar­ri­son. On or about Mother­land Day, 23rd February, each year two of­fi­cials from the Rus­sian Em­bassy in Lon­don visit the graves to lay wreaths in re­mem­brance. The three graves con­tinue to be metic­u­lously cared for by the MOD gar­den­ing staff.

Rus­sian sol­diers’ graves at the Military Ceme­tery, Tid­worth Gar­ri­son, Wiltshire.

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