Soviet Union Air Force Volunteer Martyrs' Tomb, Liberation Park, Wuhan, Hubei Province

Following the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, the Soviet Union secretly sent over 2,000 airmen to assist China in the ongoing fight. Lesser known than the American Flying Tigers, the Soviet Air Force took part in a number of major battles against the Japanese, including four above the city of Wuhan – the site of the military command centre after Nanjing was occupied by the Japanese. In 1938 alone, Soviet airmen, along with the Chinese Air Force, destroyed 52 Japanese fighter planes and over 70 boats along the Yangtze River.

It is thought that up to 100 Soviet airmen died in the battles over Wuhan. 15 of those men were buried in the Hankou Wanguo cemetery and later in 1956 moved to Liberation Park where a large tombstone, inscribed with the names of the 15 men, was erected. In 2014, another nine names were added to the tombstone after the Russian Defence Ministry sent through a list of pilots killed in Wuhan during the late 1930s.

Each year large numbers of local Chinese residents pay their respects at the Russian Martyr’s Tomb. In 2015, a commemoration ceremony was held at the park to mark the 70th Anniversary of the victory over the Japanese in the Anti-Japanese War.