MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
The story, which has not yet been finished, began in October 2020. It was at this time that the members of the Natangiya Yunarmey search group from the city of Bagrationovsk near Tsinten (nowadays it is the village of Kornevo of the Bagrationovsk urban district) discovered the remains of a soldier. The soldier had two awards on his chest – the Medal “For the Defense of Stalingrad” and the “Order of Glory” III degree.
“It was strange to find a burial in these places, knowing that dozens of search engines had gone before us … The soldier was lying under a small layer of soil, that is, he died in battle and, perhaps, his comrades managed to cover him with earth. At that moment everything seemed obvious! We have a fighter with a numbered award, we only had to find out his personality, and then – to find his relatives. But everything turned out to be much more complicated, ”said Vitaly Stepanov, head of the Natangia youth search group.
Through the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense, it was found out that the “Order of Glory” belongs to a Soviet officer, pilot Vladimir Labokho, a native of the Byelorussian SSR. The guys found that Vladimir Andreevich went through the whole war and survived. A participant in the East Prussian operation during a combat mission was shot down by German anti-aircraft artillery. He was able to eject, but was captured by the Nazis. Released in the summer of 1945.
“There were even more questions. – explained Pavel Kolmogorov from the youth army. – It was decided to return to the place of the search. We expanded the square, went a little deeper and found a silver spoon of the Lithuanian company M. Lipman with the scribbled initials “Priyma Ivan Konstantinovich. Lithuania.” Then it was suggested that the remains of the found soldier belonged to Ivan Priyma, and most likely he found the pilot Laboho’s award ”.
To confirm the guesses, the Natangia youth army recruited a team of archivists, search engines and journalists, including those from Belarus, to search for the relatives of Ivan Priyma and Vladimir Labokho. It was possible to find out that the pilot’s grandson, Igor Valerievich, lives in Vilnius, and the daughter of Vladimir Labokho Svetlana Markicheva and granddaughter Alena Kochemazova in Svetlogorsk, Gomel region. They said that after the war, Vladimir Andreevich returned to his village, saw the ruins and moved to Vilnius with his future wife. In the summer of 2021, the pilot’s family was handed over the III degree Order of Glory found in the Kaliningrad forest.
“This search expedition gave us more than satisfaction from the artifacts found. We felt how difficult the combat path of the front-line soldiers was and how many families lost contact with each other. Then there were no mobile phones. And it was unrealistic to find relatives who had disappeared during the war. Thanks to the help from our Belarusian colleagues, we found out that Vladimir Labokho had a paternal brother, Christopher, who had been looking for him for a long time and even sent official inquiries to various departments. Now the two families have reunited, “said Ksenia Kvachko, head of the UNARMIA headquarters in the city of Bagrationovsk.
Through the archive, it was possible to find information about the combat path of Ivan Priyma, born in 1900. Ivan Konstantinovich was called up to fight in the Crimean ASSR. He served in the 84th Guards Rifle Regiment of the 33rd Guards Rifle Division of the 1st Baltic Front. Has a medal “For Courage”. Comparing the facts and documents, it became clear to the young search engines that Ivan Konstantinovich’s unit was moving in the direction of East Prussia. But on the way, during the battles in Latvia, Priima was wounded in the thigh by a shell fragment, ended up in a field hospital, where he died on November 29, 1944 from gas sepsis. They buried Ivan Konstantinovich in Latvia.
“Our version fell down again. We didn’t find Ivan! As it turned out, the soldier Priyma did not reach the outskirts of Tsinten (now the village of Kornevo), where his nominal spoon was found, as well as two awards, one of which was “For the Defense of Stalingrad.” Based on the award documents, neither the pilot Laboho, nor the soldier Priyma had such a medal …. Although, they both fought there! “
After talking with Priima’s granddaughter, Tatyana, who now lives in Simferopol, it was decided to return the nominal spoon of soldier Ivan Konstantinovich to his homeland in Crimea, to the Central Museum of Tavrida.
While working with the documents, one of the search engines who came to the aid of the Yunarmeys – Gennady Polubedov from Pyatigorsk, suggested that the found soldier could be the Red Army soldier Ivan Butylkin. A native of Leningrad, Ivan Alekseevich went missing in February 1945 near Konigsberg. He served in the 80th Guards Rifle Regiment of the 32nd Guards Rifle Division of the 11th Guards Rifle Corps of the 2nd Guards Army of the 3rd Belorussian Front as a rifleman. In the period from February 22, 1945, his regiment fought on the territory of the modern Kaliningrad region in the place where the remains of the Red Army soldier were found.
Experts suggested that Priima and Butylkin could undergo treatment in the same medical unit, namely, in the surgical field mobile hospital 3542, where in October-November 1944, soldiers of the 32nd and 33rd Guards Rifle Divisions recovered their health. And there the two Ivans could exchange objects for memory. But archival documents did not confirm this information. But the relatives of Ivan Alekseevich Butylkin – the grandson and great-grandson, whom they managed to get out in the course of the investigation, agreed to conduct a DNA examination. But she also did not reveal the relationship of the found Red Army soldier with the Butylkin offspring.
“Unfortunately, it was not possible to establish who the found soldier was. But the Natangia youth army did a tremendous job. Together with senior comrades, the guys were able to figure out the combat path of three front-line soldiers. From one expedition, a whole investigation came out, lasting six months. The question remains, where did the found soldier get other people’s things from ?! For wartime, this is a normal picture. At the front, the soldiers very often exchanged personal items, but they could find something in order to pass it on to the relatives of the victims, ”explained Aleksey Krasnov, chief of the UNARMIA headquarters in the Kaliningrad region.
This year, at the memorial in the village of Kornevo, Bagrationovsky urban district (formerly Tsinten), the remains of the Red Army soldier will be reburied with honors.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.