After the main ceremony held earlier at RAF Honnington, and the nearby Honington cemetery, the final location for the days events was to St Ethelbert’s Church at East Wretham, where the graves of twelve airmen from 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn are located.
With an Honour Guard and Standard from 22nd Helicopter Base Náměšť nad Oslavou, Col (GS) Rudolf Straka and his 15 man delegation, His Excellency Alois Opatrný, Deputy Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Col Jiří Niedoba and CWO Tomáš Kašpar from the Defence Office, Czech Embassy and Col Jan Goceliak – Slovak Defence Attaché, laid roses, Royal British Legion Crosses, FCAFA bouquets and wreaths in remembrance of those twelve airmen.
Mr Opatrný summed up the sentiment of the occasion by adding: “During the summer months of 1940, a total of 932 members of the Czechoslovak Air Force arrived in Great Britain from France and gradually 4 Czechoslovak Squadrons were formed. No. 311 Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron was established on 29 July 1940 at RAF Honington, and began its operational activities within Bomber Command on 10 September 1940. Today we commemorate 80 years since these events and more than ever we are aware of the close relations between our nations: British, Czech, and Slovak. The idea to organise today´s commemorative event originated at the 22nd Air Helicopter Base of the Czech Air Force in Náměšť nad Oslavou, and immediately received huge support from the Royal Air Force and especially from the RAF Honington. We are very thankful because without their help it would not be able to carry out this event. We want these deep historical relationships to remain strong basis for further close cooperation.”
And a final word from Tom Lom, one of only three surviving members of 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn, about the 80th anniversary commemoration of his former squadron in the UK: