Remembered in the Bahamas – 2017


The six Czechoslovak RAF airmen who are buried at CWGC Nassau are remembered.

The first Czech crew to complete their training at 111 OTU (Operational Training Unit) didn’t unfortunately come through unscathed. They commenced their training (as part of Course No. 7) on the 21st of June 1943 and the nominated crew consisted of Flt/Lt Jan HRNČÍŘ, Sgt Vítězslav BŘÍZA, F/O Jaroslavl MOTL, Sgt Jan BUCHTA, Sgt Karel SALZ and Sgt Jozef TURNA.

Towards the end of the first part of their training, on the morning of the 7 August 1943, the crew carried out a training sortie in B25 Mitchell twin-engined bomber, FR352 (DF) returning shortly before lunch to Oakes Fields airbase. It was thought that the wireless operators (Sgt SALZ and Sgt TURNA) required additional assessment and after lunch they went aloft again in B25 Mitchell FV953 (FA), which on this occasion was piloted by Flying Instructor P/O Jan HADRÁVEK, they were also accompanied by the Radio Instructor Flt/Lt Jaroslav MAREŠ. The aircraft got airborne at 1500 hours, but according to an eye-witness, at 15:02 it appeared to lose power at a height of 250 to 300 feet and spiralled into the ground to the east of Nassau and burst into flames, killing all onboard.

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Those that perished were P/O Jan HADRÁVEK (Flying Instructor), F/Sgt Josef ŠOTOLA, Sgt Vitezslav BŘÍZA, Flt/Lt Jaroslav MAREŠ (Radio Instructor), Sgt Karel SALZ and Sgt Jozef TURNA. The following day they were buried in Nassau War Cemetery.

Many thanks to Paul Aranha and Robert Reiss for their assitance to achieve the rememberabce of these six.

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

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