Aviators
R

RUCELS, JANIS

Rucels
  • January 21, 1901 - Born, in Riga.
  • Attended the Aleksander high school and, after being evacuated from Riga during the first world war, completed his high school education in Dubultu High School in Terbata.
  • 1919, June - Volunteered for the Latvian military and, while still a cadet in Military College, fought in the battles vs Bermont-Avalov.
  • May 20, 1920 - member of the first graduating class from Military College. Rank: Lieutenant
  • Served as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Ventspils Infantry as an instructor.
  • Completed advanced officer training courses. Promoted to rank of 1st Lt.
  • June, 1924 - Transferred to the Aviation Division
  • July 25, 1925 - completes his first solo flight
  • 1926 - graduates from flight school (pilot)
  • 1926 - serves in the 1st division's reconnaissance squadron, eventually as a flight commander.
  • Technical lecturer at the Aviation School
  • 1928, June - October - was seconded to the 35th Escadrille of the French Air Force in Lyons, where he logged 68 hours and 40 minutes of flight time.
  • 1928 - upon returning to Latvia, assigned as commander of the Reserve Squadron.
  • 1929 - logged a total of 71.20 hours of flight time, one of the highest totals in the military.
  • 1930 - promoted to the rank of Captain.
  • July 19, 1930 - crashes Martinsyde ADC #60.
  • 1931 - flew the new Fiat CR.1, one of which he flipped while landing.
  • July 19, 1931 - suffers a heavy crash while flying an ADC.1 at Daugavpils.
  • 1932 - assigned as commander of the 2nd Fighter Squadron.
  • June 5, 1932 - Participates in the Aviation Festival at Riga/Spilve.
  • September 8, 1935 - Participates in the Aviation Festival at Riga/Spilve.
  • September 27, 1936 - Participates in the Aviation Festival at Liezere.
  • 1938 - promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel.
  • 1938 - posted to London, Englad to serve as Latvia's representative on the "International Board for Non-Intervention in Spain."
  • 1939 - Commander of Supply and Support, Aviation Division
  • June 7, 1939 - As part of the Aviation Regiment's 20th anniversary, he is awarded the Viestura Ordenis IV. class (with swords).
  • 1940-41 - (Soviet Occupation) - relieved of his duties in the Latvian military.
  • 1941 - (German Occupation) - forms a Latvian battalion in Liepaja
  • March 18, 1942 - Commands the 18E "Erglu" volunteer batallion in the Ukraine. This unit is renamed the 268th batallion on May 18 and is dissolved on July 4th, 1942.
  • May 1943 - Recalled to Riga to serve as German-Latvian liason on aviation matters
  • July 25, 1944 - Rucels is informed that the Germans plan to form Latvian anti aircraft units. He is assigned the task of finding suitable Latvians to be assigned to these new units.
  • August 17, 1944 - named Commander of the Luftwaffe Legion Lettland
  • January 23, 1945 - He and his flying officers (20 in total) are ordered from Koenigsburg to Stettin. They board the German ship Der Deutsche but are removed from the ship before it departs because nobody is permitted to leave Koenigsburg without the local commander's permission, regardless of any other orders they may have received.
  • Rucels and his officers were sent to the East Prussian aviation commander for reassignment, and he in turn sent them to Danzig where they would be reunited with the Latvian Legion. They finally caught up with the Legion in February, in New Brandenburg.
  • As the front was rapidly approaching New Brandenburg, these aviators without aircraft (by now about 100 strong, including ground crews) were despatched to Denmark, where they eventually surrendered to the British.
  • 1945 - detained in British-operated POW camp in Denmark, then transferred to the Cedelheim camp in Belgium.
  • March, 1946 - released from POW camp (Cedelgeim), moves to West Germany.
  • 1947 - Emigrates to England.
  • 1951 - emigrates to Toronto, Canada
  • July 9, 2000 - dies, at age 99, in Canada.
    Janis Rucels



    Sources
    - Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture Edvins Bruvelis
    - Daugavas Vanagu Menesraksts 1981 No.2
    - Kadets No.15 (1987)
    - Latviesu Legions Arturs Silgailis
    - Latviesu Karavirs Zem Kaskrusta Karoga Igors Varpa
    - Additional information graciously provided by the Rucels family in Canada.

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