Pavel Dreveny





Pavel Dřevěný


* 08.02.1916.

† 13.07.1944




Pavel Dřevěný was born on 8 February 1916 in the village of Dolní Bojanovice, about 8 miles West of Hodonín in Moravia. At the time of his birth this was part of the Austro Hungarian Empire, but after the end of World War 1 it was now in the newly formed country of Czechoslovakia.

Pavel Dřevěný se narodil 8. února 1916 ve vesnici Dolní Bojanovice, asi 12 km západně od Hodonína na Moravě. V době jeho narození to byla součást Rakouska-Uherska, ale po skončení první světové války už v nově ustaveném Československu.

By the time he was 11, the worldwide depression of 1926 was having a serious economical effect on his village. His family, along with other families from the village decided that they would emigrate to Canada.

V době, kdy mu bylo 11 let, došlo k celosvětové ekonomické recesi, která měla tíživý dopad i na venkovské hospodaření. Jeho rodina spolu s dalšími z vesnice se tak v roce 1926 rozhodli emigrovat do Kanady.

The Dřevěný family travelled to Margo, a small settlement in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan where there was an existing Czech community. The family wanted to farm there but conditions there were very difficult and much hard work was required to cut down and clear trees before they could build a dwelling and farm the land. The weather was harsh and the long winters meant it was only possible to sow corn in mid-May which had to be harvested before the snow came during September. The harsh conditions initially took their toll on the new Czech farmers but those who managed to hold out were able to improve their farms and gradually prosper. These conditions formulated Pavel to become an industrious and hard-working young man.

Rodina Dřevěných se usadila v osadě Margo, v kanadské provincii Saskatchewan, kde už působila česká komunita. Rodina se rozhodla začít tam farmařit, ale podmínky zde byly velmi tvrdé a bylo zapotřebí nejdříve hodně namáhavé práce při kácení stromů, aby si mohli postavit svá obydlí a začít obdělávat půdu. Počasí bylo drsné a dlouhé zimy znamenaly, že bylo možné zasít kukuřici až v polovině května a sklidit se musela nejpozději v září, než začalo zase sněžit. Nehostinné podmínky si zpočátku vybraly na nových českých farmářích svou daň, ale ti, kterým se tu podařilo vydržet, dokázali své farmy dobudovat a dočkat se postupně prosperity. Byly to právě tyto těžké začátky, které Pavla formovaly a udělaly z něj pracovitého mladého muže.

After leaving school he went to work as a mechanic at ‘Pacific Ocean’, a nearby wood working factory. Shortly after WW2 broke out, Pavel went to work at an armament factory in Toronto.

Po ukončení školy odešel pracovat jako mechanik ke společnosti “Pacific Ocean”, nedaleké továrny na zpracování dřeva. Krátce po vypuknutí 2. světové války odešel Pavel pracovat do zbrojní továrny v Torontu.

Although many of the Czechoslovaks in Canada were now Canadian citizens they still had strong ties with their homeland now under Nazi occupation. Some of the Czech émigrés started fundraising to help raise finance to support the Czechoslovak military who were fighting in England and Russia. On 26 June 1942 the Czechoslovak émigré community in Margo had a meeting which was attended by Čeněk Hutník, the Commander of the Czechoslovak Military Mission in Montreal. where he gave a presentation about the lack of men in the Czechoslovak military forces in England. Pavel Dřevěný and his friend Josef Kubát were the first to volunteer.

Ačkoli mnozí z Čechoslováků v Kanadě měli už kanadské občanství, stále cítili silné vazby na svoji domovinu v době nacistické okupace. Někteří z českých emigrantů organizovali finanční sbírky, aby pomohli získat prostředky na podporu československých armádních složek, které se formovaly a bojovaly v Anglii a Rusku. 26. června 1942 se uskutečnilo jednání československé komunity emigrantů v Margo, které se zúčastnil velitel československé vojenské mise v Montrealu, Čeněk Hutník. Zmínil zde nedostatek mužů v řadách československých vojenských sil v Anglii. Jako první se dobrovolně přihlásili právě Pavel Dřevěný a jeho přítel Josef Kubát.

Czechoslovak recruits from the emigre community in Canada.
Českoslovenští rekruti z komunity emigrantů v Kanadě.

Czechoslovak recruits from the emigre community in Canada.
Českoslovenští rekruti z komunity emigrantů v Kanadě.

In December 1942 Pavel left home to join the military. He took his front door key with him as a ‘good luck’ token. On 1 January 1943 Pavel was in Montreal and with his friend Josef Kubát, they enlisted into the Air Force. They were first sent to England for basic training. On completion of this, they were then sent to 111 OTU, based in the Bahamas for air-crew training. They were based at ‘Windsor Field’ airfield where they commenced training as air gunners on four-engined Liberator aircraft. During the training period, 111 OTU was on parade and inspected by the Duke of Windsor who was the Governor of the Bahamas.

V prosinci 1942 se Pavel rozloučil s domovem, aby se stal příslušníkem armádních sil. Jako talisman pro štěstí si s sebou vzal klíč od dveří jejich domu. 1. ledna 1943 se Pavel se svým přítelem Josefem Kubátem ocitli v Montrealu, aby se zde hlásili ke vstupu do armády. Nejdříve byli vysláni na základní výcvik do Anglie. Po jeho dokončení byli odveleni ke 111. OTU se sídlem na Bahamách, aby zde absolvovali výcvik leteckých posádek. Jejich základnou bylo letiště „Windsor Field“, kde podstoupili výcvik jako palubní střelci na čtyřmotorových letounech Liberator. Během období výcviku se 111. OTU účastnila vojenské přehlídky za přítomnosti vévody z Windsoru, který byl na Bahamách guvernérem.

111 OTU being inspected by the Duke of Windsor, 24/02/44.
111. OTU při inspekci vévody z Windsoru, 24.02.44.

Pavel completed his training, and with the rank of Sergeant, returned to England and was posted to 311 Sqn., based at Predannack. The role of 311 Sqn was to protect the Western end of the English Channel from enemy shipping and also anti-submarine patrols in the Bay of Biscay.

Po ukončení výcviku se Pavel v hodnosti četaře vrátil do Anglie a byl odvelen ke 311. peruti se sídlem v Predannack. Úkolem 311. perutě byla ochrana západní oblasti Lamanšského průlivu před nepřátelskými plavidly a také protiponorkové hlídky v Biskajském zálivu.

On 13 July 1944, shortly after Pavel arrived at Predannack, 3 Liberators, BZ717, BZ732 and FL966 took-off for a anti submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Liberator, BZ717 ‘L’, was crewed by W/O Ludvík Košek, pilot, F/O Karel Novotný, co-pilot, Sgt. Jan Hornung, navigator, W/O Václav Tarantík, WO/AG, F/Sgt Rudolf Němeček, WO/AG, Sgt Václav Čapek, WO/AG, Sgt Ján Filip, WO/AG, Sgt Pavel Dřevěný, AG, Sgt Miloslav Maňašek, Flt/Eng.

Dne 13. července 1944, krátce poté, co Pavel dorazil do Predannacku, vzlétly 3 letouny Liberátor, BZ717, BZ732 a FL966 na protiponorkovou hlídku v Biskajském zálivu. Posádku jednoho u nich – BZ717 “L”‘, tvořili praporčík Ludvík Košek, pilot, nadporučík Karel Novotný, druhý pilot, četař Jan Hornung, navigátor, praporčík Václav Tarantík, radiotelegrafista – střelec, rotný Rudolf Němeček, radiotelegrafista – střelec, četař Václav Čapek, radiotelegrafista – střelec, četař Ján Filip, telegrafista – střelec, četař Pavel Dřevěný, střelec, četař Miloslav Maňašek, mechanik.

Due to bad weather the patrol had to be aborted and the aircraft re-called. As Predannack was fog-bound the aircraft had to be diverted to RAF Exeter. Two of the Liberators, flown by W/O Karel Pospichal and F/O Leo Linhart landed there safely. However, Liberator BZ717 was not so fortunate. For some reason W/O Ludvík Košek decided to instead of flying to Exeter at a safe height through the clouds with the assistance of radar and navigational aides, he tried to descend below the clouds to identify his position where he encountered fog. He was flying at a height of approximately 80 metres in a hilly area. At 13:15 the aircraft hit a hill, near the village of Marlborough, crashed and caught fire. There were no survivors from the crash.

Kvůli špatnému počasí však musela být hlídka přerušena a letouny z akce odvolány. Vzhledem k tomu, že nad základnou Predannack ležela mlha, musely být letouny odkloněny na RAF Exeter. Druhé dva Liberátory, které pilotovali praporčík Karel Pospichal a nadporučík Leo Linhart, tam bezpečně přistáli. Liberator BZ717 však takové štěstí neměl. Z nějakého důvodu se praporčík Ludvík Košek rozhodl namísto letu do Exeteru v bezpečné výšce mezi mraky za pomoci radarové a navigační asistence, zkusil sestoupit pod mraky, aby identifikoval svou polohu, kde se však ocitnul v mlze. Letěl ve výšce přibližně 80 metrů v kopcovitém terénu. V 13:15 letadlo narazilo na úbočí kopce poblíž vesnice Marlborough, zřítilo se a začalo hořet. Z havárie nikdo nepřežil.

The crew, with the exception of Sgt Miloslav Maňašek, were buried at Weston Hill cemetery, Plymouth.

Celá posádka, s výjimkou četaře Miloslava Maňašky, byla pohřbena na hřbitově ve Weston Hill v Plymouthu.

Remembered:
Památníky a upomínková místa:

In November 2017, his name, along with the names of some 2500 other Czechoslovak men and women who had served in the RAF during WW2, was unveiled at the Winged Lion Monument at Klárov, Prague.

V listopadu 2017 bylo jeho jméno, spolu se jmény dalších více než 2500 dalších československých mužů a žen, kteří sloužili v RAF během 2. světové války, odhaleno na pomníku Okřídleného lva na pražském Klárově:

Article last updated: 23.02.2021.




This entry was posted in 311 Sqd, Biography. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Pavel Dreveny

  1. Corrinne Murray King says:

    Hi There, I am pretty sure this is my great uncle. My grandfather was Joseph Dreveny and grandmother Francis Zimak. My Mother is Denise Murray (nee Dreveny) born Idenka Eva Dreveny. My Mom and I are going to Prague in a couple of months and I would love to know id there is any extended family I could track down.

  2. Scott Dreveny says:

    This is an excellent article who wrote this

  3. Susan Cornish (nee Dreveny) says:

    Thank you for this. Paul was my father’s brother…..my uncle, whom I never met.

    • scott dreveny says:

      hi susan who was your father paul was my great uncle his brother vladomir was my grandfather we are cousins

      • Susan Cornish (nee Dreveny) says:

        Hello Scott 🙂
        My father was Frank…..(Frantisek). Uncle Ladja (Vladimir) was my Dad’s brother. My mother is Lorna, and my sisters are: Syliva, Joanne and Chris. I am the youngest.
        I met you at Joe Zbitnew’s service a few springs ago here in Kelowna. Josie is my cousin and she and Joe used to visit my parents and us, when we lived in Nanoose on Vancouver Island. This is where my father passed away.
        So, yes, we are cousins!
        Susan Cornish (Dreveny)

    • scott dreveny says:

      Hi susan would you know who has uncle pauls uniform and any military photos of him and or any medals

      • Susan Dreveny says:

        Hi Scott,
        The only photos I know of are the ones that have now been published on this Free Czechoslovak Air Force site. My Dad, who could have been in Paul’s place during the war……they actually tossed a coin to see which of them would go to war, as one of them had to stay on the farm to help. My Dad lost that toss and Uncle Paul went. From what I have heard all my life, Dad carried that with him and it weighed on his heart heavily. As for photos, very few are in Mom’s albums. The uniform….or medals…..likely gone. Grandma Dreveny….Katerina….lived in Niagara with Auntie Beatrice and Uncle Ven Kadlick until her passing. Such stories to share and no way to really attain them. when I found this Air Force site some years ago, I learned more about Uncle Pavel/Paul than ever before. My dad didn’t talk much about the old times. He was a staunch proud Canadian through and through. They had a very hard life emigrating from the Czech Rep.

  4. joe kubat says:

    This was the first time I have seen this site. My Uncle was Pavel’s friend, Josef Kubat. He too was killed while serving with 311 Squadron on 29.6.1944. What brave men these two were. Thank you for not forgetting their sacrifice.

  5. scott dreveny says:

    exelent information paul was my uncle

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