If my father-in-law Karel Kuttelwascher (whom I never met) had not died in 1959 but was still alive, he would have been 95 today. This morning, in the village where he was born – Svaty Kriz, near Havlickuv Brod, in what is now the Czech Republic – a memorial stone was unveiled in the presence of his twin daughter, Vee (my wife) and Mari.
According to a phone call from Vee, there was a substantial attendance with both radio and television plus a band. There was even a flypast from two Gripen jets. Vee made a short speech – in Czech.
The reason for his memory still being so potent in his native country is that Karel Kuttelwascher – known simply as Kut to his wartime comrades in the Royal Air Force – was the top-scoring Czech fighter pilot of World War II with 18 confirmed kills. You can read a summary of his exploits here.
Of course, he was not alone. Some 2,000 Czechs and Slovaks served with the RAF in the course of the war. You can check out an article on their brave record of service here.
Footnote (25/9/11): A report and a set of photographs on this Czech web site.
© 2011 Roger Darlington
A biography of Karel Kuttelwascher is here
Slideshow photo’s by kind courtesy of Czech Spitfire Club
Czech TV coverage of the event here