Not Forgotten – Bahamas


Nassau War Cemetery, Nassau, Bahamas.

Commonwealth War dead, of the First and Second World Wars, are commemorated in the Nassau War Cemetery, previously known as the Royal Air Force Cemetery. The cemetery also contains two non-World War graves, those of Hilary St George Saunders CBE MC, the official RAF Historian and Group Captain L W Brabizon Rees, VC, OBE, MC, AFC, both of whom died after the end of the Second World War.

During the Second World War, Oakes Field was used by the Royal Air Force, as a training airbase. All of the casualties commemorated in the Cemetery were airmen, including six Czechoslovaks, who were serving in the RAF, who died either ferrying aircraft, or whilst on training duty. The other casualties include two from the Canadian Army, a South African and five contingents of the local Bahamian forces, two of the latter being from the First World War.

The task of providing a final resting place for airmen killed, whilst on active duty in The Bahamas, was shared by their colleagues and by many generous Bahamians who, together with the United States Post Engineers, constructed the Cemetery in the early 1940s, when the graves were, initially, marked by crosses. In the late 1950s, the crosses were replaced by headstones, provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

At 15:00 7 August 1943 a B25 Mitchell aircraft, FY953, of 111 OTU, took-off on a training flight from Oakes Fields airbase. At 15:02 it had achieved a altitude of 250/350m when the nose rose very sharply, then the aircraft then dived into the ground and burst into flames. On board were the crew of six Czechoslovak airmen. There were no survivors from the crash.

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BŘÍZA Vítězslav, 23, Sgt, 111 OTU, Pilot


* 21/03/20, Brno

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn, No 3, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

Grave ref: West. A. 3.

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HADRÁVEK Jan, 25, P/O, 111 OTU, Pilot


* 11/02/18, Horní Bukovsko, České Budějovice.

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn, No 4, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

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MAREŠ Jaroslav, 39, F/Lt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator


* 14/04/04, Batelov, Jihlava.

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn, No 6, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

Grave ref: East. A. 3.

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SALZ Karel, 31, Sgt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner


* 17/09/11, Stod, Plzeň.

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn, No 2, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

Grave ref: East. B. 1.

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ŠOTOLA Josef, 23, F/Sgt, 111 OTU, Pilot


* 11/02/20, Lipiny, Rychnov nad Kněžnou.

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn, No 5, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

Grave ref: West. A. 4.

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TURNA Jozef, 26, Sgt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator


* 02/01/17, Čierny Balog, Banská Bystrica.

† 07/08/43, Nassau, Bahamas

A symbolic urn is also interred in Airman’s Memorial, Slovakia.

Grave ref: West. A. 5.

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In the Lych gate entrance to the Cemetery, are four bronze panels which bear the names of airmen with no known grave, who were killed while based in The Bahamas. Six Czechoslovaks, from 111 OTU, the crew of a B25 Mitchell bomber, FV952, that failed to return from a night navigational flight over the Caribbean Sea, are commemorated on these panels and are also commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial, Canada.

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FUCHS Pavel, 27, Sgt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner


* 29/05/16, Rakovník

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 2.

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KRUPICA Rupert, 26, Sgt, 111 OTU, Pilot


* 23/01/17, Chvalčov, Kroměříž

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 2.

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OPLATKA [Brdský] Adolf [Petr], 22, Sgt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator


* 28/05/21, Prague

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 1.

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ŠIMANDL Josef, 29, F/O, 111 OTU, Navigator trainee


* 08/10/14, České Budějovice

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 4.

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STYBLÍK Miroslav, 29, W/O, 111 OTU, Pilot


* 10/06/14, Rožďalovice, Nymburk

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 4.

_______________________________________________________________

TOMEK [Treulich] Hanuš, 24, Sgt, 111 OTU, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner


* 21/07/19, Pardubice

† 23/11/43, NW New Providence, Bahamas

Grave ref: panel 4.

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Just inside the Lych Gate is the Nassau Memorial. This Memorial was erected by public subscription, and lists additional military personnel whom have no known grave.

The Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of The Bahamas, The Right Reverend Spence Burton, in February 1944, and the corner stone at the entrance was laid by His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor, in May of that year.

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Location Information:

The Nassau War Cemetery is located in Maxwell Lane, off Farrington Road in the Oakesfield district of Nassau.

Address: Nassau War Cemetery, Maxwell Lane, Nassau.
GPS Location: 25°03’46.18″N 77°21’57.61″W
Map Location: View

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The assistance of Paul C Aranha, Jane Lloyd and the Bahamas Historical Society with this article, is very much appreciated.




This entry was posted in 311 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton. Bookmark the permalink.

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