Who's Who - Victor Fedorov
Victor Fedorov (1885-1922) achieved five victories as a Russian air ace during the First World War.
Born on 11 November 1885 in Verny Fedorov studied at Kharkov University, developing as a youth Social Democratic views and a marked dislike of the Tsar. Such were his views that he was obliged to seek exile in France in 1906 when aged just 20.
In France when war broke out in August 1914 he enlisted with the Russian Battalion, suffering a severe wound in February the following year. While recuperating in hospital Fedorov applied for and received a transfer to the French Air Service, starting his initial training at Dijon in May 1915.
In December that year Fedorov was assigned to Spa3 where he was given a Caudron GIV aircraft. While there he struck up a friendship with Pierre Lanero, his combined observer/mechanic: they were to serve alongside each other for the remainder of the war.
Fedorov opened his tally of air victories in the skies above Verdun, bringing down a German aircraft on 14 March 1916. This was followed a week later with another victory west of Douaumont; a third success was scored on 30 March at Moranville. All three victories were achieved while flying the Caudron. During this period he earned himself the nickname "the Cossack of Verdun".
Awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire (the latter awarded by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre) Fedorov was wounded on 2 April 1916; following a period of recuperation he was despatched to Romania and then to Russia as an instructor to the Russian air service - by now rehabilitated in his homeland and consequently a most welcome visitor.
1917 was thus spent in his homeland occupied with instruction duties. In April 1918 he returned to France and the Western Front with Spa89 in time for the great German spring push. His fourth and fifth aerial kills were achieved on 18 September and 9 October 1918, in Belrupt and the Argonne, both while in command of SPAD aircraft.
A wound suffered on 16 October effectively ended Fedorov's war; the armistice on the Western Front followed 26 days later. He died accidentally on 4 March 1922 in Paris aged just 36.
"Boche" was a disparaging term used to describe anything German.
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