South West Battle of Britain Memorial


With 2020 being the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a worthy project to remember the 544 fallen Allied airmen of that battle, eight of whom were Czechoslovak.

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More details of this worthy project where you can make your own personal tribute and help create a lasting legacy to their remembrance here

The fallen eight Czechoslovak Battle of Britain pilots:

FECHTNER Emil P/O
DFC
310 Sqn
† 29/10/40

FRANTIŠEK, Josef Sgt
DFM and bar
303 Sqn
† 08/10/40

GÖTH, Vilém, P/O
510, 310 Sqn
† 25/10/40

HANZLÍČEK, Otto Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn
† 10/10/40

HLAVÁČ, Jaroslav Sgt
C de G
310, 56 Sqns
† 10/10/40

HORSKÝ, Vladimír Sgt
310, 238 Sqns
† 26/09/40

MAREK, František Sgt
C de G
310, 19 Sqns
† 14/09/40

ŠTĚRBÁČEK, Jaroslav P/O
310 Sqn
† 31/08/40

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Following the German defeat of France in 1940, Hitler planned to invade Great Britain and the prelude to this invasion – Operation Sealion – was the Battle of Britain. This battle was unique as it was the first time that a battle had been fought – and won – entirely by the use of aircraft. At the start of July 1940, the Royal Air Force had a strength of 640 fighter aircraft whilst the German Luftwaffe had a force of 2600 fighters and bombers.

The battle lasted officially from 10 July until 31 October 1940 and involved 2,938 Allied aircrew – the majority aged between 18 to 22 years old – from the following countries:

Australia 32
Barbados 1
Belgium 28
Canada 112
Czechoslovakia 88
France 13
Great Britain 2342
Ireland 10
Jamaica 1
New Zealand 127
Poland 145
Rhodesia 3
South Africa 25
USA 9

A total of 2938 Allied airmen – pilots, navigators and air-gunners fought in this battle, by 31 October 1940, 544 Allied aircrew had died in combat whilst 422 were wounded. The Luftwaffe had 967 airmen captured and 2698 killed. During the conflict both sides overstated the number of enemy aircraft that they had shot down. Post WW2 examination of military archives show that the Royal Air Force had suffered the loss of 792 of their aircraft whilst the Luftwaffe had lost 1,389 aircraft.

The 88 Czechoslovak pilots who fought in this battle served in 310 and 312 Sqns. both of which were Czechoslovak RAF Squadrons. Others flew in British RAF Squadrons of 1, 17, 19, 43, 46, 56, 85, 111, 238, 245, 253, 501, 601 and 605. Josef František – the most successful Allied pilot in the battle with 17 Luftwaffe planes shot down in a 28 day period – flew with 303 Sqn. which was a Polish Squadron in the RAF. Eight of them were killed during this battle with others being wounded some, like Josef Koukal being badly burned and facially disfigured.

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This entry was posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Memorial, Not Forgotton. Bookmark the permalink.

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