Memorial plaque unveiling for Tomáš Motyčka at Diviaky.
A memorial plaque to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of P/O Tomáš Motyčka was held on 25 October 2014 at Diviaky railway station, Slovakia, near to the location where he was killed on 15 October 1944.
Attending the ceremony was Dr Eva Hufková, Member of the Slovak Parliament, officials representing the City of Turčianske Teplice, a delegation from the martin branch of the Union of Antifascist Combatants, representatives of the Paras Club, members of the Slovak National Aeroclub, representatives from the „ALBATROS“ Plastic Modellers Club and other guests.
The memorial project was idea of various members of the „ALBATROS“ Plastic Modellers Club, from Martin, who managed all aspects of the event.
Tomáš Motyčka was born 8 July 1915 at Nedakonice, near Uherské Hradiště, Czechoslovakia. On completion of his schooling he trained as a locksmith prior to serving his military service with the 2nd Air Regiment of the Czechoslovak Air Force at Olomouc, where he trained as a fighter pilot.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 he escaped that summer to Poland where he became one of the 93 Czechoslovak airmen who were accepted in the Polish Air Force. When Germany invaded Poland he flew with distinction against the German invaders but the overwhelming superiority of the German forces caused Motyčka’s unit to be forced further east to Ukraine where they were captured by the advancing Russians who invaded Poland form the East. After nearly a year of Russian internment, with other Czechoslovak airmen he was released and they were transported to Bombay where they boarded the SS Narkunda on 17 September 1940 which took them on the long sea-route to Liverpool, arriving on 27 October 1940.
On arrival to England, he joined the RAF VR and was posted to 312 Czechoslovak fighter squadron whose role was convoy patrols and operational sorties over occupied northern France. He was noted for being skilled pilot, of friendly disposition but that his internment by the Russians had influenced his political views.
In the spring of 1944 he was one of 21 Czechoslovak RAF pilots who, under the command of S/Ldr František Fajtl, who volunteered to go to Russia to fight on the Eastern Front. On 21 February 1944 they sailed from Glasgow to Gibraltar and Egypt, then by train to Lebanon, Baghdad and Tehran. From here they flew to Baku, Russia and then to Moscow, arriving on 2 April, where they re-trained on Russian Lavochkin La-5FN aircraft, one of the Soviet Air Force’s most capable fighter aircraft.
The Czechoslovak pilots served with the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Fighter Aviation Regiment and were equipped with Lavochkin La-5FN fighter aircraft. During the ill-fated Slovak uprising, in August 1940, they were deployed at Zolná airfield, Slovakia and provided air-cover and ground-suppport to Slovak troops fighting the Germans at Duklas Pass. At this time Motyčka was deputy Commander of the Regiments 2nd Squadron.
On 15 October 1944 Tomáš Motyčka, flying Lavochkin La-5FN No 20, was shot down and killed whilst making a low attack against German vehicles at Diviaky. He was buried by his crashed aircraft by the Germans who had mistaken him as a Russian pilot. Shortly after the inhabitants of the nearby village of Diviaky re-interned him in the village cemetery with a dignified funeral befitting of unknown here. After the war ended the fate of Tomáš Motyčka was uncovered by checking the route of his last flight and the date and time of the crashed La-5FN. He was then re-interred in the family grave at Nedakonice, in the Moravian region of Czechoslovakia.
After the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 1989 he was promoted in memoriam to the rank of plukovník [Colonel] in the Czechoslovak Air Force.
He had been awarded the following medals for his bravery in combat:
Krzyż Walecznych [Cross of Valour]
Válečný kříž 1939 [War Cross 1939]
2 x Za statečnost [War Medal for Bravery]
Řád slovenského národního povstání [The Order of the Slovak National Uprising]
The assistance of Milan Herčut and Michal Hlaváč of the project team is much appreciated.