The 71st anniversary of the end of WW2 was commemorated at Brookwood at 14:00 on 7 May 2016.
The well attended ceremony was honoured with the attendances of His Excellency Libor Sečka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, His Excellency Ĺubomír Rehák, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, Col. Jiri Svatos, Defence Attache of The Czech Embassy, London and Col. Milan Gavlas Defence Attache of the Slovak Embassy, London providing representation for the Czech and Slovak Republics. Also attending were three Czechoslovak WW2 veterans, Hana Ludikar With Carla Nahodil and Dean Esfcourt from Australia and Brookwood regular Vladimir Burian from the Czech Republic gave an ‘international’ representation amongst the numerous relatives of WW2 veterans and well wishers who attended the ceremony.
Following a welcoming introduction, the opening speech was made by HE Ĺubomír Rehák followed by HE Libor Sečka, his maiden attendance at Brookwood following his recent appointment as Ambassador. Both speeches were in English and highlighted the bravery and sacrifices of the Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers who had served in Great Britain during WW2 who had fought for the freedom and democracy of Czechoslovakia. The Czech, Slovak and British National anthems were then played followed by wreaths and floral tributes being laid by attending officials and well wishers.
The ceremony then re-located to the post-WW2 Czechoslovak plot where the internments of the ashes of Eva Tichý and Růžena Bernadová, widows of Jaroslav Tichy and Dr Vilem Bernard veterans previously interned in this plot. Gerry Manolas, on behalf of all whose relatives who are interred in this plot thanked Dan from Brookwood Cemetery for his excellent work in maintaining this plot which had recently included cleaning of all the headstones. Many thanks again to the Czech Embassy who kindly provided Royal British Legion crosses, with Czech flag motif, for attendees to place by headstones of their choice in the post-WW2 plot.
The modest Vladimír Anděl had, as usual, with his young helper had again undertaken their sterling voluntary work of laying red carnations by each headstone in this plot, the victims of the Liberator crash and also by the headstones of W/Cdr Josef Ocelka, S/Ldr Jaroslav Malý and Sgt Anton Vanco which are located in the CWGC graves opposite the RAF building.
Attending the event were the ‘Friends of the Czechoslovakian Memorial Fountain‘ who are fund-raising to enable the fountain at Leamington Spa to be restored.
Ivan Schwarz, last surviving member of the 311 Sqn crew which sunk the ‘Alsterufer‘ proudly displaying the Pavel Rampir drawing of the attack, that he was presented with.
Many thanks for the continued organisation of and support for, this event.