Red Sky at Night
The Story of Josef Čapka
as told to Kendall McDonald
with a foreword by Sir Archibald McIndoe
Jo Capka D.F.M ..
A Captain in the Czechoslovak Air Force, Jo Capka escaped to Poland following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia on 15th March 1939. Determined to continue the fight, he joined the French Foreign Legion where he experienced the cruel discipline of a Legionnaires life under the blazing heat of the desert. Relief came with the declaration of war and secondment to the French Air Force, but when France was over-run Jo fled to the South of France where at Bordeaux he joined a group of Polish Airman on a ship bound for England.
Jo now joined the RAF and was posted to the newly formed 311 (Czech) Bomber Squadron. He flew 56 bombing missions in Wellingtons and was awarded the DFM. Jo later switched to fighters, but returning from a patrol over Normandy in June 1944 his Mosquito was machine-gunned by a ‘pirate’ Liberator. Blinded and severely injured in the face, Jo held one eye open with his fingers to see enough to crash-land in an English wood. He was treated by the pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe, becoming a member of his ‘guinea pig club’.
After the war Jo returned to Czechoslovakia with his wife, a former WAAF, to run a flying school. Following the communist coup in 1948, he was arrested as a British spy and charged with High Treason. Jo spent 7.5 years in prison, 14 months in solitary confinement, and was only released after the death of Stalin. The story concludes when Jo is finally permitted to return to England, and rejoins his wife on 30 May 1957.
|Publisher:||Anthony Bond Ltd|
** This book is now out-of-print. For the website visitor interested in learning more about the Czechoslovak Airmen in Great Britain during World War II, second-hand copies should be available through specialised book shops, book fairs, or on-line sources such as abebooks or amazon