The biography of Flight Lieutenant Karel Kuttelwascher DFC and Bar, the RAF’s greatest night intruder ace
Roger Darlington .,
Written by the son-in-law he never knew this is the story of Karel Kuttelwascher, a pilot in the Czechoslovak Air Force, who fled to Poland following the invasion of his homeland, and served in the French Foreign Legion before flying in the ferocious but short-lived Battle of France. When the armistice came, Karel escaped to England via Algeria, Morocco and Gibraltar and joined the RAF.
Karel was assigned to the legendary No 1 Squadron in time to participate in the final weeks of the decisive Battle of Britain. Later he flew with the Squadron in a long-range Hurricane aptly named the ‘Night Reaper’ in the lauded but lonely night intruder role, in which on one memorable occasion he knocked out 3 Heinkel bombers in just 4 minutes. Karel became the most successful Czech fighter pilot with 18 victories to his credit.
In 1943 Karel was assigned a special mission to recruit fellow countrymen in the U.S.A. and Canada to the RAF’s Czechoslovak Squadrons, and on his return became a member of a Test Flight responsible for testing bomber and fighter aircraft prior to allocation to RAF stations around the country.
Karel returned home on 18 August 1945 where he was assigned to the Air Force Military Academy, but he was deeply unhappy about the situation in Czechoslovakia. Less than a year later he resigned from the Czechoslovak Air Force and returned to England where he joined British European Airways, initially as a First Officer and later as Captain. Karel died tragically through illness at the young age of 42.
|Publisher:||William Kimber and Co Ltd|
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