On February 21, 1943, two P-40 fighters and five Hurricanes (British single-seater fighter aircraft) took off from the Soviet Military air base in Chupa on a World War II mission to halt an attack by the German Luftwaffe.
One of the Hurricanes was piloted by 22-year-old Boris Alexandrovich Lazarev from the 760th IPA. During the mission, he encountered German pilot Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Muller of 6 Jagdgeschwader, 5the fighter squadron Luftwaffe (German Air Force) “Expertenstaffel” and his squad of four Bf 109G fighters. Lazarev was shot down by Muller near a railway station in Polyarnyi-Krug.
His remains were not discovered until 1998 after Jury Rybin, a military history, discovered details of the dogfight while searching through archives. A swamp nearby where Lazarev’s Hurricane was shot down was searched and the plane wreckage was discovered with the 66-year-old mummified remains of Boris Lazarev still inside. The anaerobic conditions of the swamp, as well as the gasoline and oil present in the area from his crashed craft aided in preserving the body as well as personal belongings of the deceased.
The body was almost entirely intact; His feet were cut off at the ankles, most likely caused by the force of the crash and his face showed signs of blunt force trauma caused the pilot’s head slamming into the instrumental panel on impact.
Inside the cockpit, found alongside Boris’s severed feet, were flying goggles and a handmade knife with the inscription, “Friend Bors in the second year of the war.”
Inside his suit pockets were two letters, Komsomol cards, a book on the ‘Red Army’ and bullets
from a TT pistol which was still in his belt. Also discovered was a knife from a German paratrooper, German coins, Soviet medals and various documents. From his position, with hands at his straps, it is believed Boris was attempting to leave the aircraft by opening the canopy and using his parachute. Most likely after his aircraft was struck, he decended in altitude too quickly for him to manage an escape and died on impact due to a blow to his chest caused by the strong kick of the control panel. Boris Lazarev would be the last pilot Rudolf Muller would shoot down. Ironically, on April 19, 1943 Muller’s own aircraft was shot down and he was sent to a Soviet prison camp. Rudolf Muller was executed on October 21, 1943, exactly eight months after the death of Lazarev, while attempting to escape the facility. Boris Lazarev was buried with military honors in the cemetery in Chupa, Kareloan Republic and the remnants of his crashed aircraft are housed at the Central Milotary History Museum at Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. To this date, no living relatives of Boris Lazarvez have been found.
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