Perhaps the most famous winter volunteer, the world-famous British actor Christopher Lee (1922–2015), who took part in the Winter War, can be found in the Finnish Defense Forces' photo archive.

- Or at least it is very likely, more than 90 percent, says the Hungarian military history enthusiast János Nácsa, who made the discovery.

The upcoming Bond movie star Christopher Lee is most obviously the fourth man from the left. He arrived in Finland at the beginning of March 1940 as a volunteer to join the war against the Soviet Union.

Image: SA image

Nácsa, who moved from Hungary to Jyväskylä, made the discovery seven years ago when he searched the Defense Forces' electronic SA image archive for pictures of Hungarian volunteers. In the search field, he just typed the word “volunteer” in the Finnish language he had learned and history began to unfold.

While browsing the photos, he drew attention to two samples dated early March 1940 that read “English Volunteers in Helsinki”. The tall young man posing in the back row of the pictures on a snowy street in Helsinki seemed familiar or at least worth a closer look.

- I already knew that Christopher Lee had come to Finland as a volunteer at the age of 17 and I had seen his films later. Then it occurred to me that the tall young man in the picture could be Lee.

The Soviet invasion in November 1939 raised a wave of international sympathy for Finland. Recruitment agencies were set up around the world, including in the UK. Among the volunteers recruited from there, 13 Britons arrived in Finland, among them the young adventurer Christopher Lee.

There are a dozen men in the picture, so one of them could very well be Lee, Nácsa concluded. While there are no names of the men in the picture, not even the photographer, the resemblance between the young man in the back row and the pictures taken of Lee later is striking.

Christopher Lee in Finland 1940.

Image: SA image

Christopher Lee soon after the wars, in 1949, when he had already resigned from the British Army after a short military career.

Photo: Everett / MVPhotos

Nácsa published his findings on the Hungarian page of war history enthusiasts, because he did not yet speak Finnish. The topic did not attract attention on the Hungarian website, although about three and a half hundred volunteers came to Finland from Hungary.

- No one was interested in the picture, Nácsa laughs.

When Nácsa posted a picture on a Finnish website for war history enthusiasts in the spring, the issue began to attract attention. Many saw the similarity as significant and so did Nácsa himself.

- The man in the picture is similar in appearance, the same eyes, nose, height and age could match.

The British did not receive a Finnish military uniform, but Nácsa thinks they could have borrowed a uniform for the shooting situation. The image of British volunteers could have not only a commemorative value, but also some sort of propaganda value in the direction of the Soviet Union, which was particularly afraid of France and Britain joining the war.

János Nácsa, a military history enthusiast who moved from Hungary to Finland, noticed a similarity between the young SA and the British actor.

Photo: János Nácsan's home album

The arrival in Finland of a more official Franco-British aid expedition, which was being prepared in the spring and winter of 1940, was a dream come true, and so did Christopher Lee's daring hopes for war. No other British was allowed to be allowed on the front. However, they received snow suits and a short, about a week-long patrol in the back or on the home front.

Later, Lee thanked the Finns for not being allowed on the front. “It saved my life,” he said. British recruitment did not begin until early March, when the end of the war was already looming.

In any case, the Finns had a very realistic idea of ​​the possible combat value of foreign volunteers with little or no military or combat experience in war situations. Only the regiment formed by Swedish volunteers had some significance when it took front responsibility in Salla and thus freed Finnish troops for critical directions at the end of the war.

Department Sisu, formed of foreigners, practiced war skills and, among other things, skiing as far as possible from the front in Southern Ostrobothnia in Lapua in a politically stable environment.

The upcoming Bond movie star Christopher Lee is most obviously the fourth man from the left. He arrived in Finland at the beginning of March 1940 as a volunteer to join the war against the Soviet Union.

Image: SA image

After the expedition to Finland, Lee was drafted into the British Air Force, but due to poor eyesight, he did not become a pilot. However, he entered intelligence missions and reportedly also served in them during the war in Italy.

After the war, he turned to acting as an actor. By the end of the 1950s, he had already appeared in dozens of films and made his breakthrough by portraying Count Dracula in horror films. Lee, who usually played villains or monsters, rose to prominence and in 2009 he was knighted.

One of Christopher Lee’s best-known roles was the performance of the villain Scaramanga in the James Bond film Man and the Golden Gun from 1974. Behind him is Roger Moore.

Photo: ZUMA

Christopher Lee often played the roles of the wicked in films such as the vague Count Dracula and the Frankestain monster.

Photo: SNAP / Zuma

Christopher Lee, who starred in more than 250 films, was knighted in 2009 at Buckinham Palace.

Photo: Anthony Devlin / PA Images / MVP

The last known roles of Chistopher Lee were the evil Saruman Taru in the Lord of the Rings saga

Photo: Globe Photos / Zuma

A short “war trip” to Finland as a young man made him a lifelong friend of Finland. He did not hesitate to express his sympathies for Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat was the first to write about the subject.