Josef Frantisek – 100th Anniversary ceremony

On Saturday 4 October a ceremony was held at Otaslavice to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the the birth of its most famous citizen – Josef František who was the most successful Allied pilot in the Battle of Britain before his untimely death in a flying accident on 8 October 1940.

Attending the ceremony was Brigadier General Libor Štefánik, Commanding Officer of the Air Force of the Czech Republic, Mayor of Prostějov, Mayor of Otaslavice, Col PhDr Oldřich Rampula; Chairman of Svaz letců (the Airmans Association of the Czech Republic), RAF veteran Gen. Emil Boček, widow of Josef Balejka, Karel Bryks, nephew of Josef Bryks, Defence Attache of the French Embassy, Prague, Filip Procházka, secretary of Československá obey legionářská, a representative of 601 special unit from Prostějov, a military band and was well attended by a large number of local inhabitants and well wishers.

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The days program commenced with invited guests gathering at the local school where there was a display of model aircraft and material about Josef František which had been produced by children from the village school named in his honour. At 09:00 there was a church service followed by a flypast of light aircraft from the Josef František Flying Club at nearby Prostějov. Two helicopters of the Czech Air Force then made a separate flypast. Vladimír Ambros and Roman Palát then gave a presentation on the life of Josef František. The mornings program concluded with a flypast by Grifin fighter aircraft of the Czech Air Force, unfortunately the low cloud, just 100m mtrs, meant that the flypast could only be heard but not seen.

After a refreshment break for invited guests, the entourage, led by standard bearers and the army band, marched through the village to the Josef František memorial located at his former home for speeches followed by a wreath-laying ceremony.

The Josef František museum at Otaslavice was then visited and the ceremonies program was concluded by 16:00.


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