Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sepia Saturday 168;

Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin née Kravtsova (Russian, Ukrainian:  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.

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die.
 Jean-Paul Sartre 

Allein! wieder allein!
 Einsam wie immer.
 Vorüber rauscht die Jugendzeit
 In langer, banger Einsamkeit.
 Mein Herz ist schwer und trüb mein Sinn,
 Ich sitz' im gold'nen Käfig drin.
 Es steht ein Soldat am Wolgastrand,
 Hält Wache für sein Vaterland.
 In dunkler Nacht allein und fern,
 Es leuchtet ihm kein Mond, kein Stern.

 Regungslos die Steppe schweigt,
 Eine Träne ihm ins Auge steigt:
 Und er fühlt, wie's im Herzen frißt und nagt,
 Wenn ein Mensch verlassen ist, und er klagt,
 Und er fragt:
 Hast du dort oben vergessen auf mich?
 Es sehnt doch mein Herz auch nach Liebe sich.
 Du hast im Himmel viel Engel bei dir!
 Schick doch einen davon auch zu mir.

Loosely translated

  Alone so alone;
  Lonely as ever.
  Over the sound of the youth
  In a long, anxious solitude.
  My heart is heavy and dulls my senses,
  I sit in a golden cage.
  A soldier stands on the banks of the Volga,
  Keeping watch for his country.
  A dark night alone and far away,
  No moon, no stars,
  Silent, motionless, the steppe sleeps,
  A tear falls from his eyes
  And he feels like his heart is eaten away
  He is so alone;
  And he asks:
  Did you forget me there up in heaven,
   my heart  is  also  full of love.
  Nobody is here for me,
  But you up there
  You have many  angels in heaven with you!
  Please send  one of them to me.

Now it is all history.

please follow this Link to Sepia Saturday 168


  1. What an amazing woman! A great choice.

  2. A particularly moving post, thank you for it. We who tend to look back in fondness must always remember the dark side of the past.

  3. Soft music that masks the harsh reality of war.

  4. It was always the common soldier (serviceman or woman) who suffered. Read W H Auden's 'Roman Wall Blues' or think of the 'cannon fodder' of Napoleonic times, the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry) of two world wars, or any number of times in history and the present day, and in any theatre of war worldwide. The common man or woman service and civilia; not those seated at the round table. Thank goodness heroes and heroines like Natalya also rose up. A thought-provoking post.

  5. A 20-yr old flying bombing missions. A child, really.

  6. Thank you for sharing the story of quite a beautiful and amazing woman! Very interesting post indeed! We are always richer in our learning of history.

  7. Thank you, Liz/ Alan/ Bob/Marilyn/Wendy/Karen S/ for your kind and interesting responses.

  8. Thank you for such an illuminating post and and giving me a new perspective on an aspect of the war.