Aviators
S

SKRASTINS, VOLDEMARS

Voldemars Skrastins
  • Learned to fly while serving with the Czarist Russian military, continued to fly for the Bolsheviks after the Revolution. On February 8, 1919, with the Reds occupying Riga, he is based with the Soviet 1st Aviation Unit at Spilve. When the Bolsheviks began to withdraw from Latvia, he deserted and hid until the Red forces had left.
  • He became a founding member of the Latvian Air Force (Rank: Lieutenant) which, at the time, consisted of a cadre of experienced pilots without aircraft to fly.
  • June 26-27, 1919 - Skrastins is a member of a group of 30 Latvian nationalists who are marching to reinforce Lt.Kraulis' group in Riga. En route, they are attacked by a group of German soldiers. In the resulting skirmish three Germans are killed and a number are wounded with no Latvian casualties reported.
  • When aircraft become available, Skrastins is placed in command of the 2nd Flight/Unit, with a roster of 5 aviators.
  • 1928 - Commander of the 2nd Squadron.
  • March 5, 1920 - completes a reconnaissance flight of the Daugavgriva region.
  • March 10, 1920 - with observer Rullis he completes a reconnaissance flight of the Tornakalns area, During this flight they prepare maps outlining German positions.
  • April 12, 1920 - while transferring Sopwith Strutter #5254 from Riga/Spilve to Rezekne he crashes, near Koknese.
  • May 2, 1920 - V.Skrastins becomes the first fatality of Latvian military aviation. Flying Sopwith Camel #6 he was taking off from Spilve when his engine failed and he crashed heavily.

    Sources

    Bruvelis, Edvins. Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
    Sparnota Latvija, No.24 (Jun 1936) pg.723
    Sparnota Latvija, No.71/72 (May 1940) pg.166

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