Recollections of Czech pilots of WW2





Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd | 3 Comments

Oldrich Kestler – remembered Stenovice 9. 4. 2016.








Posted in Anniversary, Battle of Britain, Ceremony, Events, Forthcoming Events, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Chocenice remembers Václav Vaněček



V sobotu 12. března ve 14 hodin zahájil starosta obce Chocenice Bohuslav Heřman pietní akt přivítáním hostů z řad armády, Leteckého historického klubu Plzeň, Letců Plzeň z. s. a Československé obce legionářské, kteří přišli vzpomenout 100. výročí od narození navigátora 311. čs. perutě britského Královského letectva RAF Václava Vaněčka, rodáka z této obce.

At 14:00, 12 March 2016, began the ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vaclav Vaněček, a native of Chocenice, who served as a navigator with the RAF during WW2. Bohuslav Heřman, Mayor of Chocenice, opened the ceremony and welcomed guests from the Army, local dignitaries, the Plzeň Air Historic Club, Letců Plzeň primary school, representatives of Československé obce legionářské and well wishers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zároveň na budově obecního úřadu byla odhalena deska tomuto statečnému muži. Po úvodním slovu představitele obce vystoupil se svým proslovem Daniel Švec, který seznámil všechny přítomné se životem Václava Vaněčka. Poté zazněly státní hymny České republiky a Velké Británie.

Following opening speeches by local dignitaries, Daniel Švec gave a biographical speech about Vaclav Vaněček. The national anthems of the Czech Republic and Great Britain were then played.

Následně došlo k odhalení pamětní desky, které požehnal biskup František Radkovský. Vzpomínka byla zakončena položením květin.

The memorial plaque, mounted on the Municipal building, was unveiled and then unveiled by Bishop František Radkovský. Wreaths and commemorative flowers were then laid.




Posted in Ceremony, Memorial, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

So why are there two?


Vistitors to the Czechoslovak National House – more usually known as the Czech Club – in West Hampstead, London, will see in one of the dining rooms there a memorial plaque with the names of the Czechoslovak airmen killed while in RAF service during WW2. The plaque, in addition to these RAF airmen are also the names of 28 Czechoslovak airmen who died whilst serving with Armée de l’air in France in 1940 and also four of Czechoslovak airmen who died in Poland in September 1939.

Likewise, vistors to the Military Museum, at Žižkov, Prague will see the an identical memorial plaque there.

So why are there two?

Firstly some background information regarding the origins to this plaque.

WW2

During WW2, the Czech Club was very much the spiritual home for Czechoslovaks serving in British military forces and originally at Bedford Place, London which was a short distance from Russell Square where the Czechoslovak Inspectorate where based. For these young men, far from home it was somewhere in London where they could dine on their national foods, drinks and meet other comrades on leave or passing through London between postings.

After the war

In August 1945, the Czechoslovak RAF returned to their ‘liberated’ homeland, – despite the Russians being in occupation – and look forward to carrying on with their peacetime lives, some remaining in the Czechoslovak Air Force, whilst others, once demobbed returned to their civilian lives. Sadly the heroes welcome the received on their return was to be short-lived. In February 1948, following a putsch by the Communists, Czechoslovakia was now under Communist control and its destiny dictated to by Moscow. The Communists sought to ensure that any possible opposition to them was eliminated and those who had fought for the Allies during the war were considered as a danger. In many cases they were dismissed from the Czechoslovak Air Force, many being arrested by the StB, imprisoned or further persecution. However there were many who did not wait for this fate – they had escaped in 1939 to Poland or later through Slovakia to Romania, Yugoslavia and from there to France – so now they would escape again; some by taking aircraft and flying west either to the American Zone in Germany, or England, or by covertly crossing the border at night in the American Zone of German. Once they had been security vetted they usually made there way to England to start rebuilding their lives in the West. Some re-joined the RAF, others obtaining some civilian employment; often well below their trained skills. This was post war Britain, times were hard for all, food and clothing still rationed, cities and towns still with building destroyed by Luftwaffe wartime bombing and the new Cold War threat just beginning.

Remembrance

It therefore became inevitable that for these exiled Czechoslovak former RAF airmen that there former wartime spiritual home -which in 1946 moved to its current location at West Hampstead – would resume its former role for them. Aware that back in Czechoslovakia, the Communists were actively trying to expunge the wartime Czechoslovak RAF airmen from their history books, these exiled airmen sought to ensure that there fallen would not be forgotten. This resulted in a brass memorial plaque being made listing, in alphabetical, rank-descending order, those fallen airmen and the most appropriate location was the Czech Club. Over subsequent years, by some of the names had hand etched ranks added adjacent to them. The plaque was to be for many years the only memorial in the world to the fallen Czechoslovak RAF airmen of WW2. At the time of its origins, it was very much in agreement between the exiled airmen that the rightful home of the plaque should be Czechoslovakia if and when the right circumstances arose.

It was to be some 50 years before that became possible; in November 1989 the Velvet Revolution took place in Czechoslovakia, the Communist regime collapsed and a new democratic regime, with Václav Havel as its President was now in power. Finally the right circumstances had now arisen, but for the exiled airmen, now elderly and many of them having passed away, it was now a period of heart-searching as what should be done. There were very mixed feeling amongst them; some believed that they should respect and honour the original agreed intention; while others, did not want to see it go.

What to do now?

A suggestion was made by Ben Chamberlain, a British schoolteacher. Whilst not related to a Czechoslovak airmen he had a very personal connection to them, in particular 310 Sqn; his uncle was John Boulton, a pre-War RAF flying instructor, who was initially seconded to 310 Sqn at Duxford when the Czechoslovak pilots began arriving on 12 July 1940. His role was to rapidly retrain Czechoslovak fighter pilots who had recently escaped from France to England, after the French capitulation, and these pilots were urgently needed as the Battle of Britain was just starting. Despite only a few of the Czechoslovaks speaking a few words of English and John (initially) not knowing any Czech the retraining was achieved and 310 Sqn declared operational on 17 August 1940. During this time John developed an admiration and affinity to these Czechoslovak airmen and requested to remain with them operationally. The RAF agreed to this request but sadly John was to be killed in a mid-air collision on 9 September 1940.

However that Czechoslovak affinity was taken up post WW2 by his nephew Ben who became a well known and respected figure in the exile Czechoslovak RAF community. Ben’s suggestion to the plaque dilema was – ‘why not make a casting to keep in the club; the original can go back to Czechoslovakia, thus honouring the original understanding. This suggestion was met with approval by Marcel Ludikar, John Sigmund, Mirek Mirtl and Oldrich ‘Sula’ Soukup who had been delegated the role regarding the future of the plaque.

Ben now continues with the story: ‘ The suggestion was agreed and I started looking for someone to do it. It very quickly became apparent that having a brass cast made would have been prohibitively expensive. I started asking about a resin casting and found a young man called Steve Cole who had a small one-man company called Articole in Hitchin. He agreed to do what was wanted and at a affordable price.

Greatly daring I arrived at the Czech Club when it was shut, armed with screwdrivers and spanners. The plaque was in three vertical sections, bolted to a complicated strap iron framework which was, in turn, bolted to the wall. Thank god nothing was rusty and all the screws and nuts undid quite easily. I left the frame on the wall for the time being and drove the three brass plates up to Hitchin.

A few weeks later Steve Cole rang to say all was ready. I collected the brass plates and the copies. I ought to say that the castings were made of a brass coloured resin – which had a rather greenish tinge.

I took the original plates and also the iron framework to the Czechoslovak Embassy, LOndon, and brought the copies back to the Club. There were minor problems to do with slight distortions in the castings, so there was a certain amount of ‘fettling’ to do to get them to fit together.

Now how to put them onto the wall? I deceided the best way to do it was to mount the three sections onto a sheet of ¾” plywood [it may have been ½”] which could then be fitted to the wall with many rawlplugs as it was quite heavy and I couldn’t risk it falling off onto someone eating.

So, plywood obtained and cut to the right size and shape. The three sections were then offered up and the seven holes drilled in the plate and also the plywood.
I then went to the Club on a Sunday afternoon [I think], fixed the plywood sheet to the wall securely and then screwed the panels onto the plywood. And there they have been since then.

The only things left off from the original plates, as being too difficult to do and also not really being necessary, were two small model aeroplanes which stuck out on a stand from the top of the memorial.

The only ‘adventure’ that the plaque had after I put it up was that Miro Mirtl took exception to the greenish tinge of the brass version and attacked it with a pot of gold paint – which spoilt it!’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

_______________________________________________________________

At the time the plaque was originally produced, resources available to research and identify the fallen Czechoslovak RAF airmen was limited when compared to resources available today, and so it was inevitable that some errors would occur. Some of these were due to naming errors held on the files at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission archive others are due to incomplete records being available at that time and simple human errors.

A listing of these errors and omissions:

Corrections :
On plaque: Correct Details:
RAF :
BEROUNSKÝ, J. A/Cmd BEROUNSKÝ, J. G/Cpt
BLATNÝ, B. F/O BLATNÝ, B. F/Lt
BÖNISCH, F. W/O BÖNISCH, F. Sgt
BROCHARD, B. BROCHARD, D
BODLÁK, O. BODLÁK, M.
BABAČEK, Z. BABÍČEK, Z.
BITTNER, J. BITNER, J.
ČÍŽEK, E. A/Cmd ČÍŽEK, E G/Cpt
CÍEGLER, M. CÍGLER, M.
DIETRICH, F, DITTRICH, F.
EICHLER, B. EICHLER, P.
ELBOGEN, A. Sgt ELBOGEN, A. F/Sgt
FUCHS, F. FUCHS, P.
FUCHS, A. FUKSA, A.
FAJTL, L. FAJT, L.
GLOUDER, F. GLAUDER, F.
GÜSSÜBE,L B. GISSÜBEL, B.
HÁJEK, F. HÁJEK, K.
HÁJEK, F. HÁJEK, B.
HECHT, V. HECHT, W.
JIRSIK, O. JIRSÁK, O.
JINORA, M. JINDRA, M.
KOSÁK, T. KOZÁK, T.
KOTERA, Z. KOTHERA, Z.
KRÁL, S. KRÁL, C.
LIŠKA, J. F/Lt unknown
LANC, K. LANG, K.
LENZ, J. LENC, J.
LANČ, R. LANŽ, R.
LYSICKÝ, V. LISICKY, V.
MEYER, A. MEIER, A.
MAREK, M. MAREK, F,
MATINOVIČ, L. MARTINOVIČ, L.
MELEN, J. MELENA, J.
NÝVLT, T. NÝVLT, J.
NASVETER, A. NASSWETER, A.
POSLUŠNÝ, O. POSLUŽNÝ, O.
POLITZER, E. POLITZE, F.
PETER, M. PETR, M.
PALMA, Z. PALME, Z.
PLZÁK, S. Sgt PLZÁK, S. P/O
PERNÍČEK, J. PEPRNÍČEK, J.
POLITZER, A. POLITZER, M.
ROHÁČEK, K. ROHÁČEK, R.
ROLENZ, Z. ROLENC, Z.
SMIK, O. F/Lt SMIK, O. S/Ldr
STEFAN, B. F/O STEFAN, B. F/Lt
ŠTEPEK, J. ŠTEFEK, J.
ŠKACH, A. W/O ŠKACH, A. P/O
ŠPINKA, P. ŠPINKA, D.
SVOBODA, P. not killed
STANĚK, J. STANĚK, A.
ŠIMEK, O. ŠIMEK, A.
STYS, J. STIESS, J.
SVARZ, T. SCHWARZ, T.
TESÁREK, R. F/Sgt TESÁREK, R. Sgt
UVÍZL, A. P/O UVÍZL, A. F/Lt
VESELÝ, J. F/Lt VESELÝ, J. S/Ldr
VALENTA, A. Sgt VALENTA, A. F/Lt
VELA, J. VELLA, J.
VAITL, F. VEITL, F.
VOKURKA, J. VOKURKA, R.
VALEŠ, J. VALEŠ, V.
ZAORAL, F. ZAORAL, V.
ZEINERT, V. ZEINERT, S.
ŽEROVNICKÝ, J. F/O ŽEROVNICKÝ, J. P/O
FRANCE :
DECASTELO, J. DEKASTELLO, J.
ŽEROVNICKÝ, J. ŽEROVNICKÝ, J.[killed in RAF]
DÝMA, E. DÝMA, F.
BENDA, J. BEND,L J.
VYŠEK, V. VAŠEK, V.
Missing Names on Plaque :
BABER, J. D., F/Lt 12/03/42
BLÁHA, O., F/O 02/01/44
BONK, F., W/O 27/07/45
BOROVEC, R., F/Lt 09/11/44
BROŽ, A., W/O 05/10/45
BUREŠ, P., Sgt 02/12/42
FRIEDL, K., LAC 25/06/42
HAYEK, A., F/Sgt 10/04/45
HORKÝ, F., P/O 03/11/42
HRDINA, J., F/Sgt 11/04/42
HUDEC, J. F/O 15/01/41
JELÍNEK, S., Sgt 29/08/43
KOJECKÝ, M., 21/02/43
KORMANOVIČ, I., Sgt, 03/03/42
KOSARZ, W., Sgt, 08/11/40
KOZÁK, P., F/O 28/04/45
KRÁL, Č., Sgt, 21/01/42
KUBÍN, V., Sgt, 17/03/45
KUDLÁČEK, J., P/O 05/10/45
LAŠKA, J., F/Lt 26/04/44
LAUNER, Z., F/Sgt 01/01/45
MAŇÁSEK, M., Sgt 13/07/44
MAREŠ, J., Sgt 17/07/41
MAŠEK, J., Sgt 19/07/45
MAŠEK, S., 22/07/45
MOTYČKA, T., F/O 15/10/44
MRÁZ, B., F/Sgt 07/10/44
NOVÁK, B., (with FAFL) 13/10/43
NOVÁK, M., F/O 07/10/44
PAVLÍK, K., Sgt 05/05/42
PODIVÍNSKÝ, A., Sgt 03/03/42
POLÁK, H., Sgt 29/08/43
RYBNÍČEK, K., F/Sgt 05/10/45

SEDLÁK, Z., F/Sgt 05/10/45

SEDLÁKOVÁ, E., LACW 05/10/45

ŠIMEK, A., Sgt 30/08/43
ŠTULÍŘ, S., Sgt 08/11/41
VACULÍK, F., F/Sgt 20/09/44
VALENTA, J., Sgt 11/01/42
VAVERKA, B., F/O 05/10/45

What is very noticeable on the plaque is that one name has been removed – that of Sgt Augustin Přečil who was thought to have been killed when his Hurricane Mk 1 W9147 PA-A did not return from a training flight on 18 September 1941 when with 55 OTU; it was believed that his Hurricane had crashed into the North Sea. Unbeknown at that time was that he was a Gestapo informer, who instead of flying the intended training flight from Usworth to Bastogne, flew to Belgium, landed at Ortho and subsequently worked for the Gestapo in Prague, providing them with information on Czechoslovaks serving in the RAF and often helping to interrogate captured Czechoslovak RAF airmen. His treason was exposed at the war ended and was captured and executed in Prague 1947.

_______________________________________________________________

Article last updated 6 July 2016.




Posted in Information, Memorial, Not Forgotton | 3 Comments

Jindrich Breitcetl



W/Cdr Jindřich Breitcetl, DFC, velitel
311. čs. bombardovací perutě

W/Cdr Jindřich Breitcetl, DFC, Commanding Officer,
311 Czechoslovak Sqn.

Jindřich se narodil 15. července 1913 Janovi a Karle Breitcetlovým jako v pořadí třetí dítě. Měl dvě starší sestry, Karolínu a Růženu. Rodina žila v domku v Podhorní ulici čp. 12 v Brně-Líšni. Po pěti třídách obecné školy pokračoval Jindřich ve studiu na II. českém státním reálném gymnáziu v Brně, kde úspěšně složil 10. června 1931 maturitní zkoušku.

Jindřich was born on 15 July 1913 into the family of Jan and Karla Breitcetl, their third child. He had two older sisters: Karolína and Růžena. The family lived in a small house at Podhorní 12, Brno-Líšeň. After five years at primary school, Jindřich attended the State Grammar school in Brno, for his secondary education; successfully passing his graduation exam on 10 June 1931.

1931-1932.

V září 1931 se dostavil k odvodnímu řízení a rozhodl se pro kariéru vojáka z povolání. Nastoupil do školy pro důstojníky pěchoty v záloze u 7. divize v Olomouci a v Uherském Hradišti. V letech 1932-1934 pokračoval ve studiu na Vojenské akademii v Hranicích na Moravě. K 1. červenci 1934 byl vyřazen v hodnosti poručíka pěchoty a jmenován velitelem čety u 2. roty Hraničářského praporu 7 ve Frývaldově (od roku 1947 Jeseníku).

In September 1931, he was called-up to do his National Service and decided to become a professional soldier. He started at the School for Reserve Infantry Officers at the 7th Division at Olomouc and Uherské Hradiště. He continued his studies at the Military Academy in Hranice na Moravě in 1932-1934. On 1 July 1934, he was promoted from the rank of a infantry Lieutenant and was appointed Platoon Commander of the 2nd Company of the 7th Frontier Battalion stationed at Frývaldov (renamed Jeseník since 1947).

Asi po třech měsících služby požádal o přeložení do Prostějova, kde absolvoval aplikační letecký kurz, a získal jako poručík pěchoty i kvalifikaci leteckého pozorovatele. V červenci 1935 se stal důstojníkem letectva z povolání.

About three months later, he requested to be transferred to Prostějov where he took a aviators course, adding an aerial observer qualification to his infantry lieutenant skills. In July 1935, he became a professional Air Force officer.

Piešťany 1935.

K výkonu služby nastoupil na Slovensku u Leteckého pluku č. 3 „Generála-letce M. R. Štefánika“. Létal jako pozorovatel na dvoumístných dvouplošnících Letov Š-328 u 10. pozorovací letky v Nitře. Absolvoval kurz létání v noci pro pozorovatele, mechanický kurz a tříměsíční pilotní výcvik u cvičné letky v Piešťanech. V dubnu 1938 byl povýšen na nadporučíka letectva, ustanoven pobočníkem velitele 4. peruti Leteckého pluku č. 3 a jmenován pilotem letcem. V době zářijové mobilizace v roce 1938 působil npor. let. Jindřich Breitcetl u 64. zvědné letky ve funkci nižšího důstojníka. Letka byla tehdy dislokována na letišti Tri Duby u Zvolena a svoji činnost prováděla na letounech Aero A-100.

His duty began in Slovakia where he was posted to No. 3 Air Regiment of “General-Aviator M. R. Štefánik”. Initially Jindřich served with No. 10 Observer Squadron at Nitra, as an observer on two-seat Letov Š-328 biplanes. He undertook a night-flying course for observers, a course for mechanics and a three-month training for pilots with the training squadron in Piešťany. In April 1938, Jindřich was promoted to the rank of Air Force First Lieutenant, and appointed Adjutant Commander of No. 4 Squadron of the 3rd Air Regiment. He also completed a pilot training course. During the mobilisation in September 1938, he was with No. 64 Search Squadron as a junior officer. At that time, the squadron was based at Tri Duby airfield near Zvolen, and equipped with Aero A-100 aircraft.

1938.

Z Protektorátu Čechy a Morava Jindřich odešel 4. července 1939. U Velké nad Veličkou přešel se skupinou kamarádů hranice na Slovensko. V oblasti Vysokých Tater v sedle Mengusovských štítů společně překročili slovensko-polské hranice.

Jindřich left the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on 4 July 1939. With a group of friends, he crossed the Slovakian border near Velká nad Veličkou. Later they crossed the border to Poland through a mountain pass near Mengusovsky stit in the High Tatras.

V Polsku se Jindřich přihlásil na Československém konzulátu v Krakově, kde se soustřeďovali dobrovolníci pro rodící se čs. zahraniční odboj. Po několikatýdenním pobytu v táboře v Malých Bronovicích byl zařazen do transportu, který se měl přeplavit do Francie. Skupina čechoslováků se přesunula do Gdyně, podrobila se nezbytné zdravotní prohlídce a nalodila na loď Chrobry. Mezikontinentální plavidlo odrazilo od břehů Polska 29. července a 1. srpna 1939 přistálo v Boulogne sur Mer ve Francii.

Jindřich went to the Czechoslovak Consulate in Krakow where volunteers of the future Czechoslovak foreign resistance were gathering in those days. He was billetted at the Male Bronowice camp for several weeks, before heading for France: a group of Czechoslovaks went to Gdynia, and after necessary medical check-up’s embarked aboard the Chrobry. This ship sailed from Poland on 29 July 1939, arriving at Boulogne sur Mer, France on 1 August.

Po příjezdu do Francie, Jindřich a jeho druhové-uprchlíci, byli ubytováni v kasárnách v Nanterre, nacházejících se nedaleko Paříže, kde měli být přijati do francouzské cizinecké legie. Francouzský právní systém v té době neumožňoval v době míru vytváření zahraničních vojenských jednotek na půdě Francie a z toho důvodu vojenští uprchlíci z Československa měli povinnost zapsat se na dobu pěti let do francouzské cizinecké legie. V udělených jim dokladech bylo však uvedeno, že v případě války budou z cizinecké legie propuštěni a převedeni do francouzských vojenských jednotek. Při vypuknutí války 3. září 1939 se ještě Jindřich a jeho kolegové nacházeli v Nanterre, kde se podrobovali lékařské prohlídce a byli přijati do francouzské cizinecké legie a čekali na vyřízení všech potřebných dokladů.. Dne 2. října 1939 byl Jindřich propuštěn z francouzské cizinecké legie a převeden do l’Arme d’Air – francouzského letectva.

After arriving in France, Jindřich and his fellow escapers were billeted at Nanterre military barracks, near Paris for acceptance into the French Foreign Legion. French law did not permit foreign military units to be formed on its soil in peacetime and so the escaped Czechoslovak military were required to enlist in the French Foreign Legion for five years. The concession granted to them by the French authorities was that in the event of war being declared, they would be released from their French Foreign Legion service and transferred into French military units. By 3 September 1939, when war was declared, Jindřich and his colleagues were still at Nanterre, having passed their medical checks and been accepted into the French Foreign Legion, and were now waiting for all the required documentation to be completed. On 2 October 1939, Jindřich was released from his French Foreign Legion comitment and transferred to l’Arme d’Air – the French Air Force.

Chateauroux, 1940.

Po vypuknutí války ve Francii prošel několikerým školením na různých základnách. Přitom si průběžně osvojoval znalosti francouzštiny. Na podzim roku 1939 se zúčastnil výcviku na základně v Tours, kde probíhal výcvik pilotů, pozorovatelů a palubních střelců, především pro bombardovací letectvo. V prosinci na základně v Cazaux jižně od Bordeaux absolvoval střelecký výcvik. V lednu 1940 se ve výcvikovém středisku v Chartres přeškoloval na stíhače. Následně, v dubnu 1940, byl přeložen do Châteauroux k výcviku na pilota bitevních letounů. Bojového nasazení se nedočkal, neboť Francie kapitulovala.

When war was declared, Jindřich commenced training at a number of airbases, and studied French. In the autumn of 1939, he was at Tours airbase where trainings for pilots, observers and air-gunners (particularly for bomber airplanes) was being provided. In December, he completed a air-gunners course at Cazaux airbase (south of Bordeaux). In January 1940, he was re-trained to become a fighter pilot at the Chartres training center. Then he was relocated to Châteauroux in April 1940 to take part in further fighter pilot training, but he was not deployed because by then France had capitulated.

Jindřich odjel v červnu 1940 do Bordeaux, kde se soustředili i další čs. vojáci, a na nákladní lodi Ary Scheffer se přeplavil z Bordeaux do města Falmouth ve Velké Británii. Loď v anglickém přístavu zakotvila 23. června 1940. Skupina čs. letců se přesunula do shromažďovacího tábora, nejprve ve Warringtonu, a po několika dnech se přemístila do Innsworth Lane.

Jindřich left for Bordeaux in June 1940 where other Czechoslovak soldiers had gathered, and he aboard the ‘Ary Scheffer’, a cargo ship, from Bordeaux to Falmouth, UK. The ship anchored in the English harbour on 23 June 1940. The group of Czechoslovak airmen initially were at a camp in Warrington, and several days later transferred to RAF Innsworth Lane.

Jindřich zprvu pobýval v Československém Depotu v Cosfordu a 29. července se spolu s dalšími letci přesunul na leteckou základnu v Honingtonu. Byl přijat do RAF VR a získal britskou důstojnickou hodnost Pilot Officer. Dne 2. srpna 1940 se stal příslušníkem právě založené 311. československé bombardovací perutě a nastoupil k dalšímu intenzivnímu výcviku. V té době ovládal slovem i písmem anglický, německý a francouzský jazyk.

Jindřich initially at the Czechoslovak Depot at Cosford, moving to Honington airbase along with other pilots on 29 July. He was joined the RAF VR and with the rank of Pilot Officer. On 2 August 1940, he was posted to the newly formed 311 Squadron (Czechoslovak) and was sent for further training. By this time he was already fluent in English, German and French.

V průběhu srpna a září 1940 prodělala výcvik osádka, jejímž velením byl pověřen P/O Breitcetl. Dalšími členy byli druhý pilot Sgt František Zapletal, navigátor P/O Alois Kirchstein, radiotelegrafista P/O Jan Kostohryz a palubní střelci P/O Josef Horák a Sgt Ludvík Košek. Ke dni 26. září 1940 se osádka přesunula k operační části perutě na základnu v East Wretham.

During August and September 1940, a group led by P/O Breitcetl undertook further training. The group consisted of Sgt František Zapletal, navigator P/O Alois Kirchstein, radio officer P/O Jan Kostohryz and gunners P/O Josef Horák and Sgt Ludvík Košek. The whole crew joined the operational part of the squadron at East Wretham airfield on 26 September 1940.

Wellington Mk Ic bomber, 311 Sqn.

V noci z 8. na 9. října 1940 Jindřich vzlétl ke svému prvnímu náletu nad Evropu, bombardovat továrnu Focke-Wulf a loděnice Deschimag v Brémách.

Jindřich undertook his first air-raid mission on occupied Europe in the night of 8/9 October 1940. His targets were the Focke-Wulf factory and the Deschimag shipyard in Bremen.

Čtyřiadvacátý operační let Jindřicha Breitcetla, se uskutečnil v noci z 15. na 16. května 1941 a doprovázely ho nepříjemné komplikace. Breitcetl, již v hodnosti F/Lt (Flight Lieutenant), tehdy pilotoval Wellington při náletu na Hannover. Už cestou k cíli měl vážné technické problémy s pravým motorem, ale přesto pokračoval v nařízené akci. Nad Hannoverem odhodil bomby a v podstatě pouze na jeden motor se dokázal s celou osádkou v pořádku vrátit na základnu. Tento statečný výkon byl později zmíněn v citaci k udělení vyznamenání DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross – Záslužný letecký kříž).

Breitcetl´s 24th operational flight was on the night of 15/16 May 1941 and was not without unpleasant complications. Breitcetl, who had already been promoted to F/Lt (Flight Lieutenant), piloted a Wellington participated in a raid on Hannover. Serious technical problems with the right engine developed en-route to the target, yet he continued his mission, dropped his bombs on the target and returned to base with all his crew safe and sound, despite the fact that only one of his engines was now running. His bravery and excellent piloting skills that he proved on this mission were included in the citation for his awarded of the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross).

Od 3. července do 20. srpna 1941 vykonával Breitcetl v hodnosti S/Ldr (Squadron Leader – major letectva) funkci velitele letky B 311. perutě.

From 3 July to 20 August 1941, Breitcetl served as the Flight Commander of ‘B’ Flight of 311 Squadron.

V noci 1. září 1941 po provedeném náletu na Kolín nad Rýnem Jindřich Breitcetl úspěšně dovršil předepsaného limitu 200 operačních hodin. V průběhu operačního turnusu u Velitelství bombardovacího letectva vykonal celkem 44 bojových letů, z toho 41 jako velitel letadla. K nejčastějším cílům jeho nočního bombardování patřily Brémy, Kolín nad Rýnem, Hannover, Boulogne a také Brest.

On the night of 1 September 1941, after bombing Cologne, Jindřich Breitcetl successfully reached the required 200 operational flying hours. During this operational tour with the Bomber Command he had flown 44 missions (being the aircraft Captain of 41 of them). The most regular targets of these night missions were Bremen, Cologne, Hannover, Boulogne and Brest.

Po povinném krátkém a zaslouženém odpočinku nastoupil Jindřich, vzhledem ke svým zkušenostem a bojové praxi, jako instruktor u Československé operační výcvikové letky No. 1429 COTF (Czech Operational Training Flight). Další více nežli rok strávil při organizování výcviku nových osádek pro 311. bombardovací peruť. Nejdříve vykonával od 16. prosince 1941 funkci velitele letky základního výcviku ITF (Initial Training Flight) v rámci No. 1429 COTF. Později velel celé Československé výcvikové operační jednotce, a to v období od 24. dubna 1942 do 1. února 1943, kdy byl jmenován velitelem celé 311. čs. bombardovací perutě.

After a short but well-earned rest period that he was required to take, Jindřich, who had already had a lot of flying and fighting experience, was appointed an instructor at 1429 COTF (Czech Operational Training Flight), and spent more than a year training new crews for 311 Sqn. From 16 December 1941, he was the Commander of the ITF (Initial Training Flight) at 1429 COTF. From 24 April 1942, he was appointed Commanded Officer of 1429 COTF later, on 1 February 1943, he was to be appointed Commanding Officer of 311 Squadron.

Dne 24. září 1942 bylo S/Ldr Jindřichu Breitcetlovi uděleno vysoké britské vyznamenání DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross – Záslužný letecký kříž, viz níže – britská vyznamenání).

On 24 September 1942, S/Ldr Jindřich Breitcetl was awarded the prestigious British medal – DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross, see below – British awards).

Na konci roku 1942 se Čs. operační výcviková jednotka pod vedením S/Ldr Breitcela přesunula na základnu Thornaby on Tees v hrabství North Yorkshire. Stěhování proběhlo v souvislosti s rozhodnutím velitelství v tom smyslu, že výcviková jednotka již nebude podřízena Velitelství bombardovacího letectva, ale Velitelství pobřežního letectva.

At the end of 1942, the Czech Operational Training Flight, commanded by S/Ldr Breitcetl, moved to Thornaby on Tees airfield, North Yorkshire because the RAF had decided that 1429 COTF would no longer be part of Bomber Command and instead would become a part of Coastal Command.

Thornaby on Tees, November 1942.

V době působení „třistajedenáctky“ u Coastal Command byl S/Ldr Breitcetl 1. února 1943 jmenován v hodnosti W/Cdr (Wing Commander-podplukovník letectva) velitelem 311. bombardovací perutě. Tato volba nebyla v žádném případě náhodná. Jindřich Breitcetl splňoval kritéria pro funkci velitele perutě nejen na základě absolvovaného vzdělání, ale především proto, že měl vynikající výsledky jak v bojové činnosti, tak i při práci instruktora. Kromě toho prokázal nadprůměrné velitelské schopnosti. W/Cdr Jindřich Breitcetl, DFC byl důstojníkem výjimečných kvalit a „třistajedenáctka“ pod jeho velením patřila k nejlepším perutím Coastal Command.

When No. 311 Sqn was transferred to Coastal Command, S/Ldr Breitcetl was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander – on 1 February 1943. This was definitely no coincidence, as Breitcetl had all the qualities needed for the squadron commander: sufficient education and training, and – more importantly – a lot of experience as a fighter and instructor. In addition to that, he had demonstrated his outstanding skills as a leader and commander. The personal qualities of W/Cdr Jindřich Breitcetl, DFC, were extraordinary and 311 Sqn. under his command was regarded as one of the best squadrons in Coastal Command.

I když práce velitele perutě znamenala spoustu administrativního vyřizování, účastnil se Breitcetl dál i bojových akcí. K poslednímu operačnímu letu na palubě Wellingtonu nastoupil 6. května 1943, patrola proběhla bez zvláštních příhod.

Although the job of the squadron commander included a lot of administrative work, Breitcetl did not cease to be operational. His last operational flight in a Wellington was on 6 May 1943; the patrol was uneventful.

Velitelství Coastal Command v dubnu 1943 rozhodlo o vyzbrojení osádek 311. perutě bombardéry Consolidated B 24 Liberator. Termín přeškolení a přezbrojení stanovilo na červen a červenec 1943. Po tuto dobu byla jednotka vyjmuta z operační činnosti.

In April 1943, Coastal Command decided to re-equip 311 Sqn with Consolidated B 24 Liberator aircraft. The replacement and training was scheduled for June and July 1943. During this re-training period, the squadron was not involved in its usually operational activities.

V blahopřejném telegramu z 21. května 1943, adresovanému Jindřichu Breitcetlovi od velitele Coastal Command A/M Sira Johna C. Slessora, KCB, DSO, MC, se mimo jiné uvádí: „…v přehledném hlášení tohoto měsíce vidím, že 311. peruť byla klasifikována velmi dobře jak v denních letech, tak i v noci. Je to jediná peruť, která v rámci tohoto velitelství dosáhla takového výsledku. Je to vskutku skvělý výkon a musím blahopřát Vám i Vašim osádkám. Těší mě to zvlášť teď, kdy se budete přecvičovat na Liberatory. Skvělá práce! …“

Air Marshall Sir John C. Slessor, KCB, DSO, MC, the Commanding Officer of Coastal Command, sent a congratulatory telegram on 21 May 1943 to Jindřich Breitcetl. Among many things, it said: “…the report for this month tells me that 311 Sqn. has received very good marks for both its day and night flights. It is the only squadron in our command to have achieved such excellent results. My sincere congratulations to you and your crews on this outstanding achievement. I am really pleased, particularly now that you are going to train on Liberators. Great job!…”

Na konci května 1943 se celá „třistajedenáctka“ přemístila na základnu v Beaulieu v hrabství Hampshire. Podmínky na základně v Talbenny se vzhledem k technickým parametrům mohutných Liberatorů ukázaly jako nedostačující. V Beaulieu byly především delší startovací a přistávací dráhy, které velkým bombardérům vyhovovaly lépe.

At the end of May 1943, the whole of 311 Sqn redeployed to Beaulieu airfield in Hampshire, as the facilities at Talbenny airfield were too small to accommodate the larger Liberators, which had different technical requirements. The airstrips at Beaulieu were longer, and therefore better suited for these larger aircraft.

Po několika měsících výcviku na nových letounech se jednotka opět vrátila k operační činnosti. Podle rozkazu z velitelství byly na sobotu 21. srpna 1943 nařízeny první dva protiponorkové hlídkové lety na čtyřmotorových moderních bombardérech Liberator B-24.

After a several-month training on their new aircraft, the squadron unit resumed their operational activities. Coastal Command scheduled the first two anti-submarine patrols in their modern, four-engine Liberator B-24 bombers for Saturday 21 August 1943.

Nejdříve odstartoval z letiště v 09.47 hodin Liberator GR.Mk.V BZ780 “O“ (jako Orange) pilotovaný velitelem perutě W/Cdr Jindřichem Breitcetlem, DFC. Zbývající místa na palubě zaujali druhý pilot F/Lt František Fencl, navigátor F/O Eduard Pavelka, radiotelegrafisté/střelci P/O Emilián Mrázek, F/Sgt Michal Pizúr, Sgt Josef Felkl a dva palubní střelci F/Sgt Jozef Halada a W/O Vilém Jakš.

Liberator GR.Mk.V BZ780 “O” (for Orange) was the first one to take-off at 09:47, piloted by W/Cdr Jindřich Breitcetl, DFC. The crew onboard were: second pilot F/Lt František Fencl, navigator F/O Eduard Pavelka, radio officers/gunners P/O Emilián Mrázek, F/Sgt Michal Pizúr, Sgt Josef Felkl and two air-gunners F/Sgt Jozef Halada and W/O Vilém Jakš.

V pořadí druhý v 10.15 hodin vzlétl k protiponorkovému průzkumu vymezeného území Biskajského zálivu Liberator BZ775 “G“, jemuž velel S/Ldr Václav Korda, DFC. 
Obě osádky se po provedených hlídkách vracely ve večerních hodinách na základnu, když se jim dostalo varování rádiem, že v blízkém prostoru operují nepřátelská letadla. Breitcetlův Liberator však na tuto zprávu neodpověděl. Naposledy byl ve spojení s leteckou kontrolou 19. skupiny Coastal Command při zaměřování polohy letounu při návratu z patroly v 18.19 hodin v pozici přibližně 220 km západoseverozápadně od Brestu, tj. asi 110 km jihozápadně od ostrovů Scilly (49°00′ s.š., 07°15′ z.d.). V podstatě vzápětí v čase 18.20 hodin (na základě pozdějšího prostudování německých záznamů o čase a zeměpisné poloze) došlo ke střetu čechoslováků s nepřítelem a odehrál se nerovný souboj velkého a neobratného bombardéru s přesilou hbitých německých stíhaček.

The second aircraft – Liberator BZ775 “G” – started its anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay at 10:15, piloted by S/Ldr Václav Korda, DFC. Both crews had finished their patrol and were returning to base when they received a radio message that enemy´s aircraft were operating nearby. Breitcetl´s Liberator, however, did not respond to this message. The last contact from his returning aircraft, was with Air Traffic Control of 19 Group, Coastal Command, was at 18:19, approximately 220 km north-west of Brest, i.e. about 110 km south-west of Scilly Isles (49°00′ N, 07°15′ W). Right after that – at 18:20 (the estimate is based on the German records of the time and location that were studied later) – the Czechoslovaks lost their uneven fight with the enemy. The large and heavy bomber had no chance against light and quick German fighters.

Na domovské letiště v Beaulieu se v 19.15 hodin vrátil pouze stroj S/Ldr Kordy, DFC. Tento zkušený pilot druhý den ráno vzlétl se svými muži opět nad moře ve snaze najít buď ztracené letadlo nebo trosečníky v dinghy. Pátrání po letadle, jeho troskách, nebo záchranném člunu s trosečníky nepřineslo žádný výsledek. Všem osmi letcům byl v operačním deníku perutě přidělen termín „missing“ (nezvěstný), což při působení u Velitelství pobřežního letectva v podstatě znamenalo smrt. Zhruba za tři týdny přišlo na základnu oznámení, že z ostrovů na jih od Anglie byl pozorován letoun, jak havaroval do moře. V inkriminovanou dobu se v uvedeném prostoru vyskytoval pouze Breitcetlův stroj. Tragický konec osádky se objasnil až později na základě německých hlášení o úspěšném souboji jejich stíhačů s československým bombardérem.

The home airfield at Beaulieu thus saw only the return of the aircraft of S/Ldr Korda, DFC, which landed at 19:15. Korda was an experienced pilot and next morning he took-off again, hoping to find the lost aircraft or at least some men in a dinghy. However, his search for the aircraft, parts of it, or a dinghy with survivors was in vain. All eight aviators were therefore marked in the squadrons operational diary as “missing”, which for airmen serving at Coastal Command was basically the same as “dead”. About three weeks later, Beaulieu airfield received information that an aircraft had been seen from the Scilly Isles, off the southern tip of England, to have crashed into the sea. Only Breitcetl´s aircraft was operating in the area at that time. More details about the tragic end of the Liberator crew were found later in German documents in which the successful fight with the Czechoslovak aircraft was documented.

Me 110 G-2

V německých záznamech se uvádí, že Liberator byl napaden a sestřelen nad Biskajským zálivem v oblasti 49°00′ s.š., 07°15′ z.d. skupinou dálkových  stíhačů Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-2 od II./ZG 1 (II.Gruppe/Zerstörergeschwader 1– denní těžká stíhací skupina). Podle německého hlášení byl sestřelen v 19.20 německého času (18.20 britského) v kvadrátu 9968/14 West, což zhruba odpovídá poslední zaměřené pozici bombardéru. Německými záznamy je úspěch uváděn jako Gruppenabschuss (případ, kdy se útočící piloti nemohou shodnout na tom, kdo letadlo skutečně sestřelil). Z toho vyplývá, že čs. letoun musel odrážet útok početní přesily Messerschmittů. Pilotem, který Liberator zřejmě sestřelil, byl Obfw Lothar Uhlig.

According to the German records, the Liberator was attacked and shot down over the Bay of Biscay 49°00′ N, 07°15′ W by a group of Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-2 fighter-bombers from ZG /II (II. Gruppe/Zerstörergeschwader 1). The report says that the aircraft was shot down at 19:20 German time (18:20 GMT) in the 9968/14 West quadrant, which is more or less the last known location of the bomber. The German records mention “Gruppenabschuss” ( a situation in which the pilots cannot agree on who actually shot the plane down). This implies that the Czechoslovak aircraft was facing a numerically superior attack of Messerschmitts. It is subsequently assumed that it was shot down by Obfw Lothar Uhlig.

Na domovskou základnu v Brestu se z téhož souboje nevrátil Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-2 (W.Nr. 6406, S9+GN) s osádkou ve složení Uffz George Planer a Uffz Horst Hofmann. Je tedy nanejvýš pravděpodobné, že tento německý letoun při vzájemném střetu zneškodnili střelci Liberatoru.

One of the German airplanes – Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-2 (W.Nr. 6406, S9+GN) with a two-men crew (Uffz George Planer and Uffz Horst Hofmann) – failed to return to their home base in Brest. It is therefore very likely that this German airplane was destroyed by the Liberator gunners.

311. peruť po přeškolování na nová letadla a návratu k operační činnosti ztratila kompletní osádku hned při první bojové akci.

311 Squadron thus had lost a complete crew flying on its first patrol after re-training on new aircraft and returning to operation activities.

Na místech pilotů došlo den před akcí dodatečně ke změně. Jindřich Breitcetl, přestože nebyl k tomuto operačnímu letu určen, rozhodl se jít příkladem a sám nařídil, že nový Liberator při první protiponorkové patrole bude pilotovat on sám. Považoval za povinnost velitele jednotky zahájit bojovou činnost. Vzhledem k tragickému konci protiponorkové hlídky se stal jediným ze všech osmi čs. velitelů 311. bombardovací perutě, který padl při operačním letu v leteckém souboji s nepřítelem.

The day before the patrol, some changes in the crew were made. Jindřich Breitcetl, although originally not assigned to this operation patrol, decided to set an example for others and piloted the new Liberator himself on its first anti-submarine patrol. He believed that it must be the Commander Officer himself who should resume the fighting activities of the squadron. Unfortunately, the mission had a tragic ending. Out of eight Commanding Officers of 311 Squadron, Breitcetl was the only one who fell during an operation flight when attacked by the enemy.

Breitcetl absolvoval u 311. perutě při působení u Bomber Command celkem 46 operačních letů v délce 208 hodin (44 v rámci operačního turnusu, 2 během působení u výcvikové jednotky). Jedná se o nejvyšší počet uskutečněných operačních letů ze všech letců „třistajedenáctky“, kteří se objevili na pozici velitele letadla při činnosti u Velitelství bombardovacího letectva. V rámci zařazení u Coastal Command vykonal dalších 8 operačních letů (z toho pět jako velitel letadla) v celkové délce 61 hodin 38 minut. Kromě funkce velitele perutě zastával W/Cdr Breitcetl v době od 11. srpna 1943 do 17. srpna 1943 i pozici velitele celé základny v Beaulieu.

In total, during the time when 311 Sqn was part of Bomber Command, Breitcetl flew 46 operation missions, i.e. 208 flying hours (44 flights within his operational tour of duty, two during his stay with the training unit). No other pilot of 311 Sqn who Captained an aircraft during the squadrons activities in Bomber Command had achieved more flying hours than him. He went on a further eight operation patrols with Coastal Command (being the aircraft Captain for five of them) – 61 hours and 38 minutes in total. In addition to his role of the squadron commander, W/Cdr Breitcetl was also Commanding Officer of the whole of Beaulieu airfields from 11 to 17 August 1943).

V dopise adresovaném exilovému ministrovi  zahraničí Janu Masarykovi velitel Coastal Command A/M Sir  John C. Slessor, KCB, DSO, MC, popsal Breitcetlovu ztrátu za „…krutou ránu pro 311. peruť…“ a „…těžkou ztrátu pro  RAF…“, a nezvěstného důstojníka označil za „…jednoho  z nejlepších velitelů u Coastal Command…“.

In the letter addressed to Jan Masaryk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in exile, the Commanding Officer of Coastal Command Air Marshall Sir John C. Slessor, KCB, DSO, MC, described the loss of Breitcetl as “…a cruel blow for 311 Squadron…” and “…a painful loss for RAF…”, saying that the missing officer was “…one of the best commanders in Coastal Command…”.

V kondolenci inspektorovi čs. letectva, A/V/M Karlu Janouškovi, KCB, označil Ředitel pro součinnost spojeneckého letectva (DAFL) na Air Ministry, A/Com Frank Beaumont Jindřicha Breitcetla za „nepochybně jednoho z nejlepších pilotů“.

In a letter of condolence addressed to the inspector of the Czechoslovak Air Force Air Vice Marshall Karel Janoušek, KCB, Air Commodore Frank Beaumont, the Commanding Officer for the Cooperation of Allied Air Force (DAFL) at the RAF Air Ministry, described Jindřich Breitcetl as “definitely one of the best pilots”.

Z dopisu příslušníka „třistajedenáctky“, Karla Janšty, otci J. Breitcetla, z června 1945: „…Jindra byl velmi dobrý voják a bojoval, jak se na řádného Čechoslováka sluší. Byl výborným pilotem, dobrým učitelem a byl velmi oblíben u svých představených i podřízených…Mezi Angličany měl mnoho přátel a velmi dobře anglicky mluvil…Velmi často na Vás a svoji maminku vzpomínal a měl starosti o to, jak žijete. Těšil se, že se vrátí k Vám a že Vám vynahradí léta, kdy s Vámi být nemohl…“

The letter from Karel Janšta from 311 Sqn which was addressed to Breitcetl´s father in June 1945 says: “…Jindra was a great soldier – and a truly brave Czechoslovak fighter. He was a good instructor too, and both his seniors and juniors liked him a lot… He had a great number of friends among the English people and also his English was really good… At times he would often talk about you and his mother, and he was worried how you two were doing. He couldn´t wait for the day when he would come back to you and make up for the years when he he had been away…”

Kondolenční dopis otci J. Breitcetla zaslal v říjnu 1945 i vojenský a letecký atašé ve Velké Británii, plk. J. Kalla: „…Znal jsem Vašeho syna, byl všeobecně oblíben i vážen a byl výborným důstojníkem a velitelem. Zanechal po sobě nejlepší vzpomínky u všech, jak nadřízených, tak u podřízených…“

Another letter of condolence was sent to Breitcetl´s father in October 1945 by Col. J. Kalla, the Military and Air Attaché in Great Britain: “…I knew your son – he was loved and respected by many, and he was an excellent officer and commander. Both his seniors and juniors have the best memories of him…”

Jindřich Breitcetl byl nositelem mnoha československých a britských vyznamenání. Zemřel jako velitel perutě v hodnosti Wing Commander. V Československu byl dne 7. 3.1992 povýšen in memoriam do hodnosti generálmajora.

Jindřich Breitcetl had a number of Czechoslovak and British awards. He died at the rank of a Wing Commander but, 7 March 1992, he was promoted in memoriam to the rank of Major General in the Czechoslovak Air Force.

On získal tieto medaily:

He was awarded the following medals:

Československé / Czechoslovak :

Československý válečný kříž 1939 – Czechoslovak War Cross 1939 -[16/04/41]
Československý válečný kříž 1939  [21/06/41]
Československý válečný kříž 1939  [25/07/41]
Československý válečný kříž 1939  [07/10/41]
Za chrabrost před nepřítelem – Czechoslovak Medal for bravery [06/03/41]
Za zásluhy I. stupně – Merits medal I grade
Pamětní medaile československé armády v zahraničí F – VB  – Commemorative Medal of the Czechoslovak Army Abroad with France and Great Britain bars

Po válce / After WW2

Za svobodu – I. stupeň Zlatá hvězda – For Freedom – Grade I, Gold Star [11/11/49]

Britské / British :

Distinguished Flying Cross [24/09/42]
War medal

Vzpomenut :
He is Remembered :

Jindřicha Braitcetla spolu s třemi československými letci a 26 dalšími žáky, kteří zemřeli ve druhé světové válce si připomínají na základní škole v Brně-Líšni.

At the primary school at Brno-Líšeň, Jindřich Breitcetl, three other Czechoslovak RAF airmen and 26 other former pupils of the school who died in WW2 are commemorated.

© Radek Makovský




Posted in 311 Sqd, Biography, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Not Forgotten – Southern England





Map key: Cemetery: Town:
1 Chichester Cemetery Chichester
2 Ringwood Town Cemetery Ringwood
3 Salisbury (Devizes Road) Cemetery Salisbury
4 Chippenham (London Road) Cemetery Chippenham
5 Yatesbury (All Saints Churchyard) Yatesbury
6 Cirencester Cemetery Cirencester
7 Watchfield Military Cemetery Watchfield
8 St Mary the Virgin Church, Black Bourton Black Bourton
9 Botley Cemetery Botley
10 Benson (St Helen) Churchyard Extension Benson
11 Stoke Row (St. John) Churchyard Extension Stoke Row
12 The Maidenhead Register Maidenhead
13 Runnymede Air Forces Memorial Runnymede
14 Brookwood Military Cemetery Brookwood
15 Redstone Cemetery Redhill
16 Whyteleafe (St. Luke Churchyard) Whyteleafe
17 Northwood Cemetery Northwood
18 Harrow (Pinner) New Cemetery Harrow
19 Eastbrookend (Dagenham) Cemetery Dagenham
20 Sittingbourne Cemetery Sittingbourne
21 Westwell Burial Ground Westwell

Sussex

1. Chichester Cemetery, Chichester.

Historical Information :

Of the 89 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war, the majority are in a War Graves Plot in Squares 121 and 126 bordering a path on the far right hand side of the cemetery. This was constructed by the City Corporation, who also erected the War Cross at the eastern end of the enclosed plot especially designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and closely resembling the Commission’s own Cross of Sacrifice. The names of the 1914-1918 war dead in the cemetery are engraved on the base of the Cross.

There are also 75 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war here, mainly in two adjoining Church of England dedicated Squares, Nos. 115 and 159, in the south-western portion of the cemetery enclosed by a hedgerow on three sides, on the fourth side a wall bearing the inscription 1939-1945 THE MEN AND WOMEN BURIED IN THIS PLOT DIED IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE. In the northern section a further Square, No. 42, is dedicated to Roman Catholic burials, there is a metal plaque bearing a similar inscription.

There are also 7 non-Commonwealth war burials and 4 non World War burials in the care of C.W.G.C. within the cemetery.

_______________________________________________________________

FANTA František, 24, F/Sgt, 310 Sqn, Pilot.


* 11/12/19, Kamení, Liberec.

† 26/04/44, Chichester, Hampshire.

Mid air collission during formation on training for bombing flight

Grave ref: Square 159. C. of E. Plot. Grave 4.

A symbolic urn was returned to Hradec Králové, 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

LAŠKA Jan, 29, F/Lt, 313 Sqn, Pilot.


* 22/11/14, Německý Brod.

† 26/04/44, Chichester, Hampshire.

Mid air collission during formation on training for bombing flight

Grave ref: Square 159. C. of E. Plot. Grave 30.

A symbolic urn no 157, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

LYSICKÝ Vojtěch, 28, P/O, 310 Sqn, Pilot.


* 08/09/15, Olomouc.

† 26/04/44, Chichester, Hampshire.

Crashed on returning from bombing training. It is believed that his plane was probably damaged by its own bomb exploding or by mistaken AA fire from friendly ships.

Grave ref: Square 159. C. of E. Plot. Grave 3.

A symbolic urn no 220, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

MORAVEC Miroslav, 25, F/Sgt, 313 Sqn, Pilot.


* 03/09/18, Prague.

† 07/06/44, Chichester, Hampshire.

Crash at start of operational flight.

Grave ref: Square 159. C. of E. Plot. Grave 5.

A symbolic urn was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

NOSEK Vilém, 28, F/Sgt, 312 Sqn, Pilot.


* 30/01/16, Líně, Plzeň.

† 11/06/44, Chichester, Hampshire.

Accident on a operational flight.

Grave ref: Square 159. C. of E. Plot. Grave 29.

A symbolic urn no 222, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

VELEBNOVSKÝ Antonín, 26, F/Lt, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 15/04/15, Jablunkov, Frýdek-Místek.

† 16/07/41, Tangmere, Hampshire.

Killed in Hurricane Mk IIc Z3902, crashed near Tangmere,
when returning following a night training flight.

Grave ref: Square 42. R.C. Plot. Grave 50.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

VLK Jan, 29, F/Sgt, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 14/02/13, Lhota u Semily.

† 10/04/42, Tangmere.

Killed in aircrash when making a emergency landing
whilst training in Hurricane Z3970.

Grave ref: Square 42. R.C. Plot. Grave 37.

A symbolic urn no 221, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

The cemetery is managed by Chichester District Council and is located on Church Road which runs between the A285 Westhampnett Road and the A27.

Address: Chichester Cemetery, Church Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 7HN.
GPS Location: 50°50’27” N 0°45’29” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Hampshire

2. Ringwood Town Cemetery.

Historical Information :

Ringwood Cemetery is a seven acres site with mature trees, shrubs and hedges. The first interment was in 1864 and now contains some 6,000 graves. The Commonweath War Graves Commission Section holds 30 graves.

_______________________________________________________________

KYSELO Vladimír, 26, Sgt, 32 Sqn, Pilot.


* 23/09/14, Podhorní Újezd, Jičín.

† 09/03/41, Ringwood, Hants.

His Hurricane Mk. I V7057, crashed during a training flight
near Ibsley airfield.

Grave ref: Plot Z. Grave 277.

A symbolic urn was returned to Hradec Králové 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

SKŘIVÁNEK Václav, 22, Sgt, 32 Sqn, Pilot.


* 14/02/19, Prague.

† 21/02/41, Boscombe, Hants.

His Hurricane Mk I V6988, crashed during a
low level training flight.

Grave ref: Plot Z. Grave 276.

A symbolic urn was returned to Prague Olšany 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

The cemetery is South-East of Ringwood, and is controlled by the Parish Council. It was opened in 1864.

Address: Ringwood Cemetery, Hightown Road, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 1NH.
GPS Location: 50°50’42” N 1°46’57” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Wiltshire

3. Salisbury (Devizes Road).

Historical Information :

Devizes Road Cemetery was opened in 1856 and now holds approximately 14,000 interments. In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Section there are 49 casualties from the First and Second World Wars. The “Memorial Stone”, situated inside the main entrance to the Cemetery, opposite the Cemetery Chapel.

_______________________________________________________________

DOLEJŠ Adolf, 26, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.


* 17/06/15, Prague.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidently shot down by RAF night fighter when returning
from a bombing raid on Cherbourg.

Grave ref: Sec. 6. Coll. grave 121.

A symbolic urn was returned to Prague Olšany 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

HAPALA Richard, 22, P/O, 311 Sqn, Navigator.


* 13/11/18, Staříč, Frýdek-Místek.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidently shot down by RAF night fighter when returning
from a bombing raid on Cherbourg.

Grave ref: Sec. 6. Grave 123.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava Hrabyně 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

HELMA Oldřich, 25, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Pilot.


* 11/01/16, Příbor, Nový Jičín.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidently shot down by RAF night fighter when returning
from a bombing raid on Cherbourg.

Grave ref: Sec. 6. Coll. grave 121.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava Hrabyně 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

PETRUCHA Jaroslav, 20, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.


* 08/10/20, Veselí na Moravou, Hodonín.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidently shot down by RAF night fighter when returning
from a bombing raid on Cherbourg.

Grave ref: Sec. 6. Coll. grave 121.

A symbolic urn no 176, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

PLOCEK Antonín, 20, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Pilot.


* 11/04/12, Česká Třebová.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidently shot down by RAF night fighter when returning
from a bombing raid on Cherbourg.

Grave ref: Sec. 6. Grave 122.

A symbolic urn no 153, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Salisbury (Devizes Road) Cemetery, Devizes Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 7ND.
GPS Location: 51°4’40” N 1°49’6″ W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

4. Chippenham (London Road)

Historical Information :

The cemetery opened in 1855 and covers 13 acres of land in London Road. the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Section has 44 interments and a ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ Memorial.

_______________________________________________________________

KLOS Jan, 22, Sgt, 9 SFTS, Pilot trainee.


* 19/10/18, Kopřivnice, Nový Jičín.

† 29/08/41, Hullavington.

During a training flight from Hullavington, his Mies Magister lost speed and dived into the ground and exploded, killing the pilot.

Grave ref: Sec. 1. Row H. Grave 9.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

MIKOLÁŠ Antonín, 22, LAC, 9 SFTS, Pilot.


* 19/04/19, Nošovice, Frýdek-Místek.

† 12/08/41, Hullavington.

Was a trainee pilot, with Sgt Frantisek Seda as instructor, on a training flight from Hullavington in Miles Magister T8378. In low cloud collided with with a another training aircraft over Hullavington. Both aircraft crashed on the airfield
killing instructor and pilot trainee in the aircrafts.

Grave ref: Sec. 1. Row H. Grave 7.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava Hrabyně 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

SEĎA František, 26, Sgt, 9 SFTS, Pilot.


* 10/09/14, Hýsly, Hodonín.

† 12/08/41, Hullavington.

Was a instructor in Miles Magister T8378 with trainee pilot LAC Antonín Mikoláš, on a training flight from Hullavington in Miles Magister T8378. In low cloud collided with with a another training aircraft over Hullavington. Both aircraft crashed on the airfield killing instructor and pilot trainee in the aircrafts.

Grave ref: Sec. 1. Row H. Grave 8.

A symbolic urn was returned to Hodonín 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

SEDLÁČEK Josef, 27, Sgt, 9 SFTS, Pilot trainee.


* 22/02/15, Mannheim, Germany.

† 16/04/42, Babdown, Wiltshire.

Crashed on training flight.

Grave ref: Sec. 1. Row H. Grave 19..

A symbolic urn was returned to Prague Olšany 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Chippenham (London Road) Cemetery, London Road, Chippenham Wiltshire SN15 3RD.
GPS Location: 51°27’3″ N 2°5’50” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

5. Yatesbury (All Saints Churchyard).

Historical Information :

There are 17 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and 19 of the 1939-1945 war here. In addition there are the graves of 3 Polish airmen from the 1939-1945 war and 4 later non world war burials.

_______________________________________________________________

MICHÁLEK Vilém, 26, Sgt, Bristol FSI, Pilot.


* 01/08/15, Bystřice pod Hostýnem, Kroměříž.

† 24/04/42, Calne, Wilts.

Killed in training flight accident.

Grave ref: North West of church.

A symbolic urn no 62, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

There was a flying school at Yatesbury, all the burials in this churchyard being airmen.

Address: Yatesbury (All Saints Churchyard), Yatesbury, Wiltshire, SN11 8YE.
GPS Location: 51°26’33” N 1°54’38” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Gloucestershire

6. Cirencester Cemetery

Historical Information :

There are 25 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-18 war and 55 of the 1939-45 war here. There are also 6 Polish airmen buried here, 1 being unidentified.

_______________________________________________________________

DOLEŽAL František, 21, Sgt, HQ Kemble, Pilot.


* 08/05/19, Doudleby nad Orlicí, Rychnov nad Kňežnou.

† 07/02/41, Kemble.

Killed in a training accident.

Grave ref: Plot 5. R.C. Row AAA. Grave 16.

A symbolic urn no 64, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

FIALA Oldřich, 21, Sgt, HQ Kemble, Pilot.


* 24/06/19, Olomouc.

† 07/02/41, Kemble.

Killed in a training accident.

Grave ref: Plot 5. R.C. Row AAA. Grave 15.

A symbolic urn no 18, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Cirencester Cemetery, Chesterton Lane, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1XE.
GPS Location: 51°42’34” N 1°58’55” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Oxfordshire

7. Watchfield Military Cemetery.

Historical Information :

This cemetery contains the graves of 19 servicemen who died during the 1939- 1945 war, and this total is made up by 10 soldiers and 3 airmen belonging to the forces of the United Kingdom; 1 airman of the Royal Canadian Air Force; 1 airman of the Royal Australian Air Force; 1 soldier of the South African forces and 3 Polish airmen. Originally there were also a Belgian soldier and two Italian soldiers buried here, but after the war their remains were exhumed, the Belgian for repatriation and the Italians for re- burial in the Italian section of Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.

_______________________________________________________________

TESÁREK Rudolf, 32, Sgt, 3 EFTS, Pilot.


* 17/10/09, Kročehlavy, Kladno.

† 26/03/41, Lechdale.

Killed in training flight incident.

Grave ref: 7

A symbolic urn no 7, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Watchfield is a hamlet lying 3 kilometres from Shrivenham, the nearest railway station, and about 13 kilometres from Swindon (Wilts). Practically the whole of the hamlet and a considerable part of Shrivenham is War Office property and there is a permanent garrison at Watchfield. During the war it was the Headquarters of a large O.C.T.U. for the R.A. Searchlight and A.A. Battery, and in addition there was a Royal Air Force station there. The military cemetery, which lies east of the Chapelyard of St. Thomas, was opened towards the end of 1939. It is entered through the Chapelyard, from which it is separated by a dividing wall.

Address: Watchfield Military Cemetery, High Street, Watchfield, Oxfordshire, SN6 8SW.
GPS Location: 51°36’40” N 1°38’47” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

8. St Mary the Virgin Church, Black Bourton.

Historical Information :

During the 1939-1945 War, the churchyard was used by the R.A.F. Station at Brize Norton, approximately 5 miles away, and most of the 31 war graves are those of airmen. They are together in a group immediately to the left of the entrance. The other graves are elsewhere in the churchyard.

_______________________________________________________________

KŘÍŽ Václav, 23, Sgt, 2 SFTS, Pilot trainee.


* 09/12/10, Osviečine, Poland.

† 21/05/41, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

Killed in a training flight collission over Brize Norton.

Grave ref: Row D. Grave 1.

A symbolic urn was returned to Prague Olšany, 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: .
GPS Location: 51°44’9″ N 1°35’9″ W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Oxfordshire

9. Oxford (Botley).

Historical Information :

During the two world wars, the United Kingdom became an island fortress used for training troops and launching land, sea and air operations around the globe. There are more than 170,000 Commonwealth war graves in the United Kingdom, many being those of servicemen and women killed on active service, or who later succumbed to wounds. Others died in training accidents, or because of sickness or disease. The graves, many of them privately owned and marked by private memorials, will be found in more than 12,000 cemeteries and churchyards.

During the First World War, the 3rd Southern General Hospital (an Oxfordshire Territorial Unit) was housed in the Examination Schools and a number of other buildings in Oxford. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery contains 156 burials from the First World War, all in the war graves plot in section I/1.

The cemetery was designated a Royal Air Force regional cemetery during the Second World War and was used by RAF stations in Berkshire and neighbouring counties. Practically all of the 516 Second World War burials (one of them unidentified) are in the war graves plot, which was extended from the section used during the First World War. The architectural features of the plot were designed by Edward Maufe, ARA.

In addition to the Commonwealth war graves, Oxford (Botley) Cemetery contains almost 70 war graves of other nationalities.

_______________________________________________________________

ŠOFRANKO Július, 33, Sgt, 5 (P) AFU, Pilot trainee.


* 12/08/11, Štiavnik, Žilina.

† 30/11/44, Buxton, Derby.

On a navigational training flight from Ternhill, his Harvard aircraft encountered fog and rain over Cheshire and in the poor visibility crashed into high ground at Buxton, Derbyshire. He was killed on impact.

Grave ref: Plot H/1. Grave 247.

A symbolic urn was returned to Slovakia 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

A Visitor Information Panel was recently installed at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery to provide information about the war casualties buried here. This is the first of many panels to be erected to help raise awareness of First and Second World War graves in the UK (Oct 2012).

Location Information:

Leave the Oxford Western bypass (A34) at the Botley Interchange (A34-A420 junction). From the raised roundabout take the exit signposted Oxford A420. At the traffic lights at the bottom of the slipway, bear left then immediately right into North Hinksey Lane. After about 100 metres the lane bends sharp left. The entrance to the Cemetery is about 50 metres beyond the sharp bend on the right hand side. Vehicle access is permitted into the Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Plot is at the end of the driveway behind the Chapel.

Address: Botley Cemetery, North Hinksey Lane, Botley, Oxford, OX2 0LX.
GPS Location: 51°45’1″ N 1°17’37” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

10. Benson (St Helen) Churchyard Extension.

Historical Information :

St. Helen’s churchyard extension contains 27 Commonwealth War Graves from the Second World War, one of which is from a Czechoslovak airman. Many of those buried there served at RAF Benson with 12 OTU (Operational Training Unit). Alongside the Commonwealth War Graves are other RAF burials.

_______________________________________________________________

ODSTRČÍLEK Otakar, 29, Sgt, 12 OTU, Pilot.


* 09/12/10, Osviečine, Poland.

† 30/09/40, Streatley, Berkshire.

Killed on a training flight flying Battle L5074 aircraft.

Grave ref: Row D. Grave 8.

A symbolic urn was returned to Brno, 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

Location Information:

Benson, or Bensington, is a parish and village in the south-east of Oxfordshire with a lock on the river Thames. It is a mile and three quarters north-east of Wallingford (Berks.) During the 1939-1945 War the Royal Air Force Station at Benson used this burial ground, which is 3 miles by road from Wallingford railway station, on the opposite side of the road to the church and old churchyard.

Address: St. Helen, Churchyard Extension, Church Lane, Benson, Oxon. OX10 6SF.
GPS Location: 51°37’12.5″N 1°06’46.7″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

11. Stoke Row (St. John) Churchyard Extension.

Historical Information :

Interred at St John Churchyard are 2 Commonwealth war graves from World War I and 2 from World War II.

_______________________________________________________________

SCHOLZ Rudolf, 21, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Flight Engineer.


* 10/02/24, Horní Litvínov, Most.

† 10/04/45, Tain, Scotland.

Accident at start of combat patrol in Liberator EV995, crashed on Tain beach.

Grave ref:

A symbolic urn was returned to Ústí nad Labem 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

Location Information:

Benson, or Bensington, is a parish and village in the south-east of Oxfordshire with a lock on the river Thames. It is a mile and three quarters north-east of Wallingford (Berks.) During the 1939-1945 War the Royal Air Force Station at Benson used this burial ground, which is 3 miles by road from Wallingford railway station, on the opposite side of the road to the church and old churchyard.

Address: Stoke Row (St. John the Evangalist) Churchyard Extension, School Lane, Stoke Row, Oxfordshire.
GPS Location: 51°33’2.79″N 01°01’23.14″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Berkshire

12. Maidenhead Register.

Historical Information :

Those named within the Maidenhead Register were all non-Commonwealth foreign nationals who died serving as members of Commonwealth Forces. Their remains were removed to their home countries and are presently commemorated solely by their database record and register entry.

The register is maintained at C.W.G.C. Head Office, Maidenhead. (Viewing by appointment only).

_______________________________________________________________

HECHT Walter, 27, LAC, 311 Sqn, Instrument Mechanic.


* 27/04/16, Třinec, Frýdek-Místek.

† 01/11/43, Melksham, Wilts.

Suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a bus 01/11/43 near Market Square, Melksham.

_______________________________________________________________

KENNEDY Otta Karel, 25, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Air Gunner.


* 02/09/19, Prague.

† 10/04/45, Tain.

Accident at start of combat patrol in Liberator EV995, crashed on Tain beach.

_______________________________________________________________

LANČÍK [Lanczik] Jaroslav, 20, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.


* 12/05/21, Přerov.

† 02/07/41, Mere, Wilts.

Accidentally shot down by RAF night fighter on returning from bombing raid on Cherbourg, France.

_______________________________________________________________

LAUNER Zdeněk, 20, F/Sgt, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator.


* 09/04/24, Prague.

† 01/01/45, Hoy, Orkney Isles.

Accident at start of combat patrol in Liberator FL949, crashed at Hoy, Orkney Isles.

_______________________________________________________________

MANDLER Otto, 22, F/Sgt, 311 Sqn, Navigator.


* 08/01/22, Strážnice, Hodonín.

† 01/01/45, Hoy, Orkney Isles.

Accident at start of combat patrol in Liberator FL949, crashed at Hoy, Orkney Isles.

_______________________________________________________________

MAŠEK Jaroslav, 33, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Air Gunner.


* 06/08/11, Orlová, Karviná.

† 19/07/45, Cheltenham, UK.

Former 311 Sqn pilot, who was released from RAF service on medical grounds in March 1943 due to a disease contracted when serving in the French Foreign Legion in 1939. After his release he was confined to hospital where he subsequently died.

_______________________________________________________________

POLITZER František, 32, F/O, 311 Sqn, Navigator.


* 22/02/12, Halenkov, Vsetín.

† 29/10/44, Helmsdale, Scotland.

Accident during the start of combat patrol in Liberator BZ720, crashed at Helmsdale, north of Wick.

_______________________________________________________________

POLITZER Maxmilián, 22, Sgt, 138 Sqn, Pilot.


* 22/08/19, Koryčany, Kroměříž.

† 10/03/42, Stradishall.

Was co-pilot of Whitley Mk V Z9125 NF-A which crashed shortly after takeoff from Stradishall airfield for a mission over occupied France.

_______________________________________________________________

ŘEZÁČ Zdeněk, 21, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.


* 21/06/22, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

† 30/08/43, Beaulieu, Hants.

Accident at start of training flight.

A symbolic urn no 241, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

ZBROJ Eduard, 32, F/O, 311 Sqn, Navigator.


* 15/03/12, Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Trutnov.

† 04/12/44, Tain.

Accident at start of training flight in Liberator FL981, crashed near Tain railway bridge.

_______________________________________________________________

ŽDÍMAL Václav, 29, F/O, 311 Sqn, Navigator.


* 24/10/14, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

† 29/06/44, Wed Keverne, Cornwall.

Crashed after take-off from Predannack.

_______________________________________________________________

DITTRICH František K, 24, P/O, 311 Sqn, Pilot.


* 23/11/16, Hradec Králové.

† 23/10/41, off Cardigan, Irish Sea.

Training flight crash into Irish Sea, off Cardigan.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

The register is maintained at C.W.G.C. Head Office, Maidenhead. (Viewing by appointment only).

Location Information:

Address: 2 Marlow Rd, Maidenhead, Windsor and Maidenhead SL6 7DX.
GPS Location: 51°31’25.7″N 0°43’30.6″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Surrey

13. Runnymede.

Historical Information :

The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun but whose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force.

The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Maufe with sculpture by Vernon Hill. The engraved glass and painted ceilings were designed by John Hutton and the poem engraved on the gallery window was written by Paul H Scott. The Memorial was unveiled by The Queen on 17 October 1953.

A dedicated article to the Czechoslovak RAF airmen commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial is here.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

Sept 2013 – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is aware of an Eco Camp on a field near to the public toilets at Runnymede Air Forces Memorial. The site is being monitored by Surrey Police and Runnymede Borough Council Community Safety Officers. However, it should be noted that the campers have been using the Coopers Hill toilets, which are owned by Runnymede BC. Some recent vandalism has also been reported. At times the public toilets may be out of service whilst repairs are undertaken. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission apologises for any inconvenience to visitors.

The Memorial is open every day except Christmas Day and New Years Day, as follows:

1 November – 31 March:

Weekdays: 09.00 – 16.00 hours or dusk whichever is sooner
Weekends & Public Holidays: 10.00 – 16.00 hours or dusk whichever is sooner

1 April – 31 October:

Weekdays: 09.00 – 18.00 hours or dusk whichever is sooner
Weekends & Public Holidays: 10.00 – 18.00 hours or dusk whichever is sooner

Disabled badge holders may use the on site parking area in front of the memorial. All other visitors requiring parking are asked to make use of the public car park some 200 yards from the memorial on Coopers Hill Lane.

Location Information:

This Memorial overlooks the River Thames on Cooper’s Hill at Englefield Green between Windsor and Egham on the A308, 4 miles from Windsor.

Address: Cooper’s Hill Ln, Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey TW20 0LB.
GPS Location: 51°26’17.0″N 0°33’53.5″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Surrey

14. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Brookwood.

Historical Information :

BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY is owned by the Commission and is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the United Kingdom, covering approximately 37 acres and contains 5,072 graves from WW1 and WW2.

In 1917, an area of land in Brookwood Cemetery (The London Necropolis) was set aside for the burial of men and women of the forces of the Commonwealth and Americans, who had died, many of battle wounds, in the London district.

This site was further extended to accommodate the Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War. There is a large Royal Air Forces section in the south-east corner of the cemetery (which also contains the graves of Czechoslovakian and American airmen who served with the Royal Air Force) and the Air Forces shelter building nearby houses the register of the names of those buried in the section. A plot in the west corner of the cemetery contains approximately 2,400 Canadian graves of the Second World War including those of 43 men who died of wounds following the Dieppe Raid in August 1942. The Canadian Records building, which was a gift of the Canadian government in 1946, houses a reception room for visitors and other offices.

In addition to the Commonwealth plots, the cemetery also contains French, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Belgian and Italian sections, and a number of war graves of other nationalities all cared for by the Commission. The American Military Cemetery is the responsibility of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Brookwood Military Cemetery now contains 1,601 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 3,476 from the Second World War. Of the Second World War burials 5 are unidentified, 3 being members of the R.A.F. and 2 being members of the R.C.A.F.

The war graves of other nationalities in the Commission’s care number 786 including 28 unidentified French.

As an agency service on behalf of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the Commission also maintains a plot of the graves of Chelsea Pensioners, which is situated adjacent to the Military Cemetery, and a small plot containing the graves of 12 members of the nursing services in the adjoining Brookwood Cemetery is also in the Commission’s care.

The BROOKWOOD 1939-1945 MEMORIAL stands at the southern end of the Canadian section of the cemetery and commemorates 3,500 men and women of the land forces of the Commonwealth who died during the Second World War and have no known grave, the circumstances of their death being such that they could not appropriately be commemorated on any of the campaign memorials in the various theatres of war. They died in the campaign in Norway in 1940, or in the various raids on enemy occupied territory in Europe such as Dieppe and St Nazaire. Others were special agents who died as prisoners or while working with Allied underground movements. Some died at sea, in hospital ships and troop transports, in waters not associated with the major campaigns, and a few were killed in flying accidents or in aerial combat.

The new BROOKWOOD 1914-1918 MEMORIAL was built in 2015. It commemorates casualties who died in the United Kingdom during the First World War but for whom no graves could be found.

A dedicated article to the Czechoslovak RAF airmen interred at Brookwood Military Cemetery is here.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information :

Please note: The Brookwood (Russia) Memorial was built to commemorate Commonwealth war dead of both world wars who died in Russia. As a consequence of improved access to war grave and memorials sites located in Russia and the Baltic states, the memorial will be decommissioned. Work to remove the memorial will commence on Monday 7 September.</p

OPENING TIMES: 8am – Sunset (weekdays) 9am – Sunset (weekends) Brookwood Military Cemetery is CLOSED on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.</p

Please be advised that additional items which have been placed on graves, such as stone vases, have been removed by Commission staff to storage and can be collected by relatives.</p

Enquires at the office or to a member of staff in the grounds (Monday to Fridays) for assistance in collection.</p

It is the Commission policy not to allow additional items, such as vases, to be placed in the headstone borders of Commission plots. There have been lapses in implementing this policy which has seen an increase in the number of additional memorials, being placed. Any items placed in the borders impact on our ability to plant and maintain them to the standard of excellence we seek to achieve. </p

Floral tributes and Remembrance Crosses can be left and will be removed by our staff after a time.</p

Brookwood MC: 01483 474 093 for grave items</p

With effect from 8 October 2011 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is prepared to allow the placing of cut flowers in a vase on new graves within the Military Annex subject to certain provisions.</p

New graves will be considered those in respect of burials that have taken place within the last three years. At the end of this period each case will be reviewed and allowed to continue for further two years if the family is still placing floral tributes on a regular basis. After five years the traditional uniformity of the military cemetery will be restored by the removal of the vase.</p

The request must be made by next of kin and the cut flowers must be placed in a vase provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in order to ensure uniformity and easy replacement should one be broken during maintenance. </p

The vases, which are free of charge, are available from the staff on site and will be placed by them on behalf of the next of kin. </p

Should you have any questions regarding this matter please contact Enquiries on 01628 634221 or via our email enquiries@cwgc.org.

Location Information:

Brookwood is 30 miles from London (M3 to Bagshot and then A322). The main entrance to Brookwood Military Cemetery is on the A324 from the village of Pirbright. There is a direct train service from Waterloo to Brookwood Station from which there is an entrance to the cemetery.

Address: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Long Avenue, Brookwood, Surrey, GU24.
GPS Location: 51°18’02.6″N 0°38’16.6″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

15. Reigate (Redstone Cemetery).

Historical Information :

Redstone Cemetery at Reigate has 44 Commonwealth war graves from the Second and one from the First World War.

_______________________________________________________________

HORÁK Bohumil, 32, F/Lt, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 19/01/09, Komárno, Kromříž.

† 29/06/41, Horley, Surrey.

Accident in Hurricane Mk2b JX-? flying between Redhill and Gatwick.

Grave ref: 52.

A symbolic urn no 52, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Redstone Cemetery, Philanthropic Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 4DG.
GPS Location: 51°13’51” N 0°9’31” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

16. Whyteleafe (St. Luke Churchyard).

Historical Information :

At the beginning of the Second World War, a special plot (the ‘Airman’s Corner’) was set aside in the churchyard for the burial of airmen from Kenley Whyteleafe RAF Station at Croydon who were killed in air battles, or who died on other operational duties. The churchyard contains 38 Second World War burials, most of them in the plot, but there are a few privately owned war graves elsewhere in the churchyard, together with five war burials from the First World War. The war graves plot also contains six post-war service burials.

_______________________________________________________________

BĚHAL František, 29, P/O, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 18/03/12, Želátovice, Přerov.

† 11/05/41, Croydon, Surrey.

Killed in a night operation in Hurricane Z2921.

Grave ref: Row H. Grave 29.

A symbolic urn no 39, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

NASSWETER Albín, 22, P/O, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 21/01/19, Prague.

† 17/06/41, Dover, Kent.

He died in Dover Hospital after injuries sustained in a dogfight in Hurricane Z3460.

Grave ref: Row H. Grave 31.

A symbolic urn was returned to České Budějovice, 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Whyteleafe (St. Luke Churchyard), Whyteleafe Hill, Whyteleafe, Surrey, CR3 0AA.
GPS Location: 51°18’27” N 0°4’58” W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Middlesex

17. Northwood.

Historical Information :

Many of the 63 Second World War Commonwealth burials at Northwood Cemetery were from the Royal Air Force station at Northolt, the premier fighter station for the defence of London and a famous Battle of Britain station. A wing of the Polish Air Force operated from Northolt at this time and 54 Polish airmen are also buried in the cemetery. Many of the Second World War graves will be found in the war graves plot in section H, the rest are scattered throughout the cemetery. Northwood Cemetery also contains five graves from the First World War.

Included amongst these Polish airmen are 2 Czechoslovak pilots – Josef František and Vilém Košař – who flew with 303 Sqn and 302 Sqn respectively of the Polish Air Force.

_______________________________________________________________

FRANTIŠEK Josef, 27, Sgt, 303 Sqn., Pilot


* 07/10/13, Otaslavice, Prostějov

† 08/10/40, Ewell, Surrey

Killed in crash when returning from combat patrol.

Grave ref: section H, grave no. 246

A symbolic urn, No 63, is also interred at the Airman’s Memorial, Prostějov, Czech Republic

_______________________________________________________________

KOSARZ [Košař] Vilém, 32, Sgt, 302 Sqn., Pilot


* 20/06/08, Karviná

† 08/11/40, Mayfield

Shot down in aerial combat

Grave ref: section H, grave no. 274

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Northwood Cemetery, is located in Chestnut Avenue, Ruislip, Middlesex, which is off the A404 Pinner to Rickmansworth road.

Address: Northwood Cemetery, Chestnut Avenue, Ruislip, Middlesex.
GPS Location: N 51 36 04, W 00 25 01
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

18. Harrow (Pinner) New Cemetery.

Historical Information :

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of the cemetery contains 63 war graves.

_______________________________________________________________

ALBRECHT Josef, 25, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Air Gunner.


* 06/10/15, Horka nad Moravou, Olomouc.

† 16/10/40, Bentley Priory, Middlesex.

Killed in bombing raid to Bremen, Germany, aircraft iced up while outbound.Crashed 21:45 16/10/40, near Bentley Priory, Middx.

Grave ref: Sec. G.4. Coll. grave 17.

A symbolic urn no 5, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

MATOUŠEK Jaroslav, 25, P/O, 311 Sqn, Wireless Operator.


* 14/02/15, Choceň, Ústí nad Orlicí.

† 16/10/40, Bentley Priory, Middlesex.

Killed in bombing raid to Bremen, Germany, aircraft iced up while outbound. Crashed 21:45 16/10/40, near Bentley Priory, Middx.

Grave ref: Sec. G.4. Coll. grave 17.

A symbolic urn no 41, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

SLABÝ Jaroslav, 25, P/O, 311 Sqn, Navigator.

* 11/04/15, Chrudim.

† 16/10/40, Bentley Priory, Middlesex.

Killed in bombing raid to Bremen, Germany, aircraft iced up while outbound. Crashed 21:45 16/10/40, near Bentley Priory, Middx.

Grave ref: Sec. G.4. Coll. grave 17.

A symbolic urn was returned to Ostrava 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

VESELÝ Jan, 34, S/Ldr, 311 Sqn, Pilot.


* 17/05/06, Přehořov u Soběslavi, Tábor.

† 16/10/40, Bentley Priory, Middlesex.

Killed in bombing raid to Bremen, Germany, aircraft iced up while outbound. Crashed 21:45 16/10/40, near Bentley Priory, Middx.

Grave ref: Sec. G.4. Coll. grave 17.

A symbolic urn no 117, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

ZAPLETAL František, 30, Sgt, 311 Sqn, Pilot.


* 28/03/10, Jezernice, Přerov.

† 16/10/40, Bentley Priory, Middlesex.

Killed in bombing raid to Bremen, Germany, aircraft iced up while outbound. Crashed 21:45 16/10/40, near Bentley Priory, Middx.

Grave ref: Sec. G.4. Coll. grave 17.

A symbolic urn no 59, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Harrow (Pinner) New Cemetery, Pinner Road, Pinner, Middlesex, HA5 5RH.
GPS Location: 51°35’32.0″N 0°22’04.0″W
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Essex

19. Eastbrookend (Dagenham) Cemetery.

Historical Information :

Also known as: Becontree Cemetery, Eastbrookend Cemetery, Dagenham, Eastbrookend (Dagenham) Cemetery. Opened in 1914 this 11-acre cemetery was private until 1958 when it was known as Becontree Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of the cemetery contains 24 war graves. Many German aircrew from WWII were originally buried here.

_______________________________________________________________

MAREK František, 27, Sgt, 310 Sqn, Pilot.


* 30/01/13, České Budějovice.

† 14/09/40, Horndon of the Hill, Stanford le Hope.

Killed during combat patrol flying Hurricane R6625 during the Battle of Britain.

Grave ref: Square C.2. Grave 691.

A symbolic urn no 58, was returned to Prostějov 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Eastbrookend (Dagenham) Cemetery, The Chase, Dagenham Rd, Romford, Dagenham, Essex RM10 7DR.
GPS Location: 51°33’16” N 0°10’54” E
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

Kent

20. Sittingbourne Cemetery.

Historical Information :

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of the cemetery contains 67 war graves, 31 are from WW 1 some of whom had died in local hospitals set up during the War or were stationed in the district. There are 36 Allied war graves from WW 2.

_______________________________________________________________

GÖTH Vilém, 25, P/O, 501 Sqn, Pilot.


* 22/04/15, Brno.

† 25/10/40, Staplehurst, Kent.

His Hurricane Mk I P3903 ND-?)collided with Hurricane Mk I V6806 (flown by P/O KW McKenzie who managed to bail-out) and crashed at Staplehurst, Kent.

Grave ref: Old ground. Sec. W. Grave 141.

A symbolic urn was returned to Brno 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Sittingbourne Cemetery, Bell Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4EB.
GPS Location: 51°20’3″ N 0°43’58” E
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

21. Westwell Burial Ground, Westwell Kent.

Historical Information :

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of the cemetery is located in Westwell Burial Ground Extension and 2 war graves.

_______________________________________________________________

DYGRÝN [Ligotický] Josef, 24, W/O, 1 Sqn, Pilot.


* 06/03/18, Prague.

† 04/06/42, English Channel, near Brest.

His Furricane was shot down while returning from a operational night patrol near Brest, France.

Grave ref: Grave 243.

A symbolic urn was returned to Grave 243, 1945.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

Address: Westwell Burial Ground, Westwell Lane, Westwell, Ashford, Kent.
GPS Location: 51°11’22.82″N 00°50’34.74″E
Map Location: View

_______________________________________________________________

The assistance of Ministerstvo obrany České republiky [Ministry of Defence, Czech Republic] and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with this article, is very much appreciated.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

John Rennison – 311 Sqn Lecture



A lecture by

John Rennison

on

311 Sqn 1940 to 1942

will be held at

7 pm 24 February 2016

at

Conference Centre
Riseholme Campus
University of Lincoln
Lincoln.





Posted in 311 Sqd, Events, Information | Leave a comment

Remembering their 100th – 2016


Czechoslovak RAF pilots who would celebrate their 100th birthday in 2016

Českoslovenští piloti RAF, kteří by se slaví 100. narozeniny v roce 2016.

January / leden

12th MRTVÝ Arnošt W/O 313 Sqn pilot




* 12/01/16, Hrdibořice, Prostějov.

† 19/04/44, Herentals, Belgium.



26th KUDLÁČ Pavel F/O 311 Sqn pilot




* 26/01/16, Olešná, Čadca.

† 05/10/67, Welwyn Garden City, UK.



28th TĚŠÍNSKÝ Josef F/O 312 Sqn pilot




* 28/01/16, Raškovice, Frýdek-Místek.

† 07/04/75, České Budějovice.



30th NOSEK Vilém F/Sgt 312 Sqn pilot




* 30/01/16, Líně, Plzeň.

† 11/06/44, Chichester, Hants, UK.



March / března

1st CHOCHOLÍN Vladislav F/Lt 310 Sqn pilot




* 01/03/16, Prague.

† 24/09/43, Brest, France.



3rd ZIMPRICH Stanislav F/Lt 310 Sqn pilot




* 03/03/16, Německý Brod.

† 12/04/42, Perranporth, UK.



6th TOCAUER Stanislav F/Sgt 312 Sqn pilot




* 06/03/16, Praskolesy, Hořovice.

† 30/01/69, Prague.



18th BRYKS Josef F/Lt 242 Sqn pilot




* 18/03/16, Laštany, Olomouc.

† 12/08/57, Jáchymov.



April / duben

20th KAMÍNEK Antonín W/O 310 Sqn pilot




* 20/04/16, Olomouc.

† 10/11/46, Bolivia.



29th NETOPIL Bohumil W/O 19 Sqn pilot




* 29/04/16, Lobodice, Přerov.

† 06/03/89, Olomouc-Holice.



May / květen

23rd DVOŘÁK Alois Sgt 310 Sqn pilot




* 23/05/16, Plumlov, Prostějov.

† 24/09/41, Stonehaven, UK.



June / červen

4th POKORNÝ František Sgt 313 Sqn pilot




* 04/06/16, Pavlovsko, Rokycany.

† 10/04/42, English Channel.



13th BORKOVEC Miroslav Sgt 313 Sqn pilot




* 13/06/16, Brno.

† 17/05/42, English Channel off Bologne.



14th ZADROBÍLEK Ladislav F/Lt 310 Sqn pilot




* 14/06/16, Hrochův Týnec, Chrudim.

† 19/04/02, Brno.



July / červenec

21st ŠAMBERGER Ondřej F/Sgt 312 Sqn pilot




* 21/07/16, Blovice, Plzeň.

† 09/02/45, Bradwell Bay, Essex.



29th OSSENDORF (OSENSKÝ) Robert P/O 312 Sqn pilot




* 29/07/16, Všeruby, Plzeň.

† 01/02/55, RAF Sylt.



August / srpen

27th KRUŤA František P/O 312 Sqn pilot




* 27/08/16, Kyjov, Hodonín.

† 04/10/91, Geralston, Australia.



September / září

13th BRÁZDA Bohuslav F/Sgt 310 Sqn pilot




* 13/09/16, Rome, Italy.

† 1991, Argentinia.



14th KOPECKÝ Václav S/Ldr 312 Sqn pilot




* 14/09/16, Klatovy.

† 25/06/78, Prague.



23rd KUTTELWASCHER Karel F/Lt 1 Sqn pilot




* 23/09/16, Svatý Kříž, Havlíčkův Brod.

† 17/08/59, St Austell, Cornwall, UK.



27th FOGLAR Václav F/Lt 313 Sqn pilot




* 27/09/16, Machov, Náchod.

† 21/12/48, Athens, Greece.



30th DVOŘÁK Antonín F/Lt 312 Sqn pilot




* 30/09/16, Nýřany, Plzeň.

† 18/05/03, Montreal, Canada.



October / říjen

16th FECHTNER Emil P/O 310 Sqn pilot




* 16/10/16, Prague.

† 29/10/40, Whittlesford, Cambs., UK.



20th PEROUTKA Stanislav P/O 310 Sqn pilot




* 20/10/16, Plzeň.

† 17/04/00, Kilmarnock, Scotland.



November / listopad

18th KOZÁK Tomáš F/O 242 Sqn pilot




* 18/11/16, Klatovy.

† 14/06/41, Duxford, UK.



25th DUBEC Bohumil W/O 313 Sqn pilot




* 25/11/16, Svítkov, Pardubice.

† 08/10/03, Pardubice.



December / prosinec

1st ŠKACH Antonín P/O 310 Sqn pilot




* 01/12/16, Kročehlavy, Kladno.

† 03/09/44, St Michael, Cornwall.



16th MAŇÁK Jiří S/Ldr 312 Sqn pilot




* 16/12/16, České Budějovice.

† 29/12/92, Prague.



20th VYKOUKAL Karel F/Lt 41 Sqn pilot




* 20/12/16, Chotěboř, Havlíčkův Brod.

† 21/05/42, English Channel off Le-Havre, France.



30th MORCH Josef F/Sgt 310 Sqn pilot




* 30/12/16, Červená Třemešná, Jičín.

† 05/06/90, Cheshire, UK.




Article courtesy of Joe Vochyán, Czech Spitfire Club
www.czechspitfireclub.cz




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Not Forgotton | 3 Comments

Cathays to Prostějov – Jaroslav Kulhavy


An extract from the ‘Newsletter for the Friends of Cathays Cemetery’

Výpis z ‘Newsletter pro přátele hřbitova Cathays’.

In the north-east corner of Section E-K, you will find the grave of Jaroslav Kulhavý. Although provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it has a style reserved for Czechoslovak servicemen Jaroslav was born on 17th August 1919 in Mladá Boleslav, a city in central Bohemia.

V severovýchodním rohu sekce E-K se nachází hrob Jatoslav Kulhavý. Ačkoliv hřbitovní komise pověřená péčí o válečné hroby má pro československé vojáky vyhraženou jiné místo. Jaroslav se narodil 17. srpna 1919 v městě Mladá Boleslav, nacházející se ve středních Čechách.

At the beginning of the 2nd World War, he fled to Poland, where he was admitted to the Czech Legion. After moving on to France, he took part in the fighting during the retreat, until he was evacuated to England. In December 1940, he joined 311 Squadron, which was manned by Czech personnel, as a technician. He died on 4th December 1944, as a flight engineer on a Liberator that crashed shortly after take-off on a training flight from RAF Tain, in the north of Scotland. 311 Squadron was largely engaged in anti-submarine action.

Na začátku druhé světové války, odešel do Polska, kde byl přijat do české legie. Po příchodu do Francie, se účastnil ústupových bojů až po evakuaci do Anglie. V prosinci 1940, byl jako technik zařazen do 311. Sqn., československé perutě v RAF. Zemřel 4. prosince 1944 při cvičném letu po vzletu z letiště RAF, Tain na severu Skotska. 311. Sqn se do značné míry podílela na protiponorkových akcích.

Kulhavý was posthumously promoted to Colonel in the Czech Air Force. He was buried in Cathays Cemetery in accordance with his English wife’s wishes. At the end of the war, many relatives of the 510 Czech men who died while serving in the RAF, wanted the bodies of their loved ones returned to their home country. However, the cost of exhumation (today’s equivalent would be more than £25,000 per body) was considered unaffordable, so symbolic exhumation was adopted instead. A sample of soil from each of the airmen’s graves was placed in a temporary wooden urn and taken to Czechoslovakia towards the end of 1945, where the plan was to place them into permanent urns for formal interment at a national memorial site. The temporary urns were stored in boxes whilst planning for an appropriate memorial took place.

Jaroslav Kulhavý byl popsmrtně povýšen na plukovníka československého letectva. Na přání manželky byl pohřben na hřbitově v Cathays. Na konci války mnozí příbuzní 510 československých letců, kteří zemřeli při výkonu služby v RAF, chtěli ostatky svých blízkých vrátit do své rodné země. Náklady na exhumaci jednoho těla převyšovaly 25 000 liber a v té době se jevily jako nedoastupné a proto byla provedena symbolická exhumace. Z každého hrobu byla odebrána prsť, vložena do dřevěné urny a na konci roku 1945 převezena do Československa, kde měly být tyto urny pietně uloženy do národního památníku. V době plánování vhodného památníku byly dočasné uloženy do krabic.

In February 1948, the Communists took control of Czechoslovakia and, under this new regime, the urns were forgotten … and it remained like this for the next 40 years. On 15 January 1990, during the reconstruction of the National Monument in Prague, the boxes were re-discovered. Unfortunately, due to poor storage conditions, 63 of the wooden urns had rotted and their contents had mixed together. These were placed into one communal urn. The contents of the remaining 239 urns were placed in new urns. A few of these urns were returned to those families that could be traced and had requested the remains.

V únoru 1948 v Československu převzali veškerou moc komunisté a na urny se po celou dobu jejich čytřicetileté vlády zapomenulo. Dne 15. ledna 1990 při rekonstrukci Národního památníku v Praze na Žižkově, byly krabice s dřevěnými urnami z prstí hrobů padlých československých letců objeny. Jejich uložením v nevhodných podmínkách došlo ke zničení 63 uren a obsah uren se smíchal dohromady. Prsť z hrobů 239 uren byla vložena do nových uren. Některé z těchto uren byly na jejich žádost, předány pozůstalým a příbuzným letců.

A special memorial, with a crypt to house the urns, was finally built in the Prostějov Municipal Cemetery and unveiled at a ceremony on 22nd June 1998. Prostějov, in Moravia, was the home of the Military Aviation College where many of the Czech aircrew had trained. By this time, Czechoslovakia had split in two and some of the individual urns were passed to Slovakia. Other urns were interred at two other memorials in the Czech Republic, leaving the urns of 97 Czechoslovak RAF airmen, and the communal urn for 63 airmen to be placed at the Prostějov Memorial. Of these, symbolic urn No 242 contains the soil taken Jaroslav’s grave in Cathays Cemetery.

Na městském hřbitově v Prostějově byl postaven a při slavnostním ceremoniálu 22. června 1998, odhalen památník v jehož kryptě je symbolicky uložena prsť z 97 hrobů letců a jedna urna s prstí ze 63 hrobů padlých československých zahraničních letců, z nichž většina se naučila létat v letecké škole v Prostějově. V jedné, z těchto uren, která má č. 242 se nachází prsť z hrobu Jaroslava Kulhavého na hřbitově v Cathays. Po rozdělení Československa na dvě části, bylo několik (16) uren s prstí z hrobů čs. zahraničních letců předáno slovenským úřadům.

© Paul Jones




Posted in 311 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Jaromír Drmelka – 311 Sqn pilot










* 14/03/17, Vyklice, Czechoslovakia.

† 18/08/42, Bay of Biscay.






Chtěli bychom věnovat vzpomínku na našeho letce RAF 311 perutě Jaromíra Drmelku, který je vzpomenut na pomníku padlých u školy v Halenkovicích na Moravě. Po Mnichovské dohodě z roku 1938 kdy Němci zabrali Sudety se Drmelkovi museli nuceně vystěhovat z Vyklic které byly bohužel součástí německých Sudet. Tenhle smutný uděl postihl mnoho dalších českých rodin. V důsledku těchto početných případů nastal chaos a problémy s umístěním vystěhovaleckých rodin, proto vzniklo vládní nařízení, dle kterého se každé vystěhovalecké rodině dostalo domovského práva v obci rodišti hlavy rodiny. A jelikož se Jaromírův otec František Drmelka narodil v Halenkovicích tak právě zde se rodině Drmelkové dostalo domovského práva. Tohle je také důvod, proč po válce v červenci 1945 bylo zasláno oznámení o Jaromírově úmrtí do Halenkovic a taktéž je i jeho jméno uvedeno na zdejším pomníku padlých.

We would like to remember our 311 Squadron RAF airman Jaromír Drmelka, who is remembered on the war memorial near the school at Halenkovice, Moravia. The reason he is remembered is because, along with many other Czech families, the Drmelka family was expelled by the Germans following the 1938 Munich Agreement and forced to move away from Vyklice, which is in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The consequence of forcing these families to relocate resulted in numerous instances of chaos and administrative problems for the authorities. This caused a Government legislation to be passsed whereby every expelled family had to be administered by the Municipal Office at the birthplace of the head of the family. As Jaromír´s father, František Drmelka, was born in Halenkovice, it is why, in July 1945, Halenkovice was sent the notification of Jaromír’s death during WW2 and thus why he was remembered on the Halenkovice memorial.

Jaromírův otec František se narodil v Halenkovicích, ale velmi mladý odchází a je zaměstnán v Mariánských Horách u Moravské Ostravy jako strojník. Posléze se usadil i s rodinou ve Vyklicích a právě tam se mu později narodil syn Jaromír Drmelka.

Jaromír´s father František Drmelka was born in Halenkovice. Later František left Halenkovice and was employed as a machinist in Mariánské Hory near Moravian Ostrava and then settled with his family in Vyklice. It is here that Jaromír was born.

Pohraniční Vyklice /Ústí nad Labem/, kde se Jaromír Drmelka narodil, byly obsazeny Němci. Byly to tak zvané německé Sudety. Z rodinných zdrojů víme, že Němci vzali rodině Drmelkové dům a veškerý majetek a udělali z něj ´´Hitlerheim´´německé mládeže. Celé rodině vzali i nemocenskou a tatínkovi penzi. Maminka byla těžce nemocná a když Jaromír odcházel z domu měl obavy jestli se vůbec s ní někdy znovu setká.

Vyklice, near Ústí nad Labem, was in the border region – the Sudetenland – of Czechoslovakia and was occupied by the Germans following the Munich Agreement of September 1938. From family sources, we know that the Germans confiscated the Drmelka family house and all their property and declared that the house was now a ”Hitlerheim” – a house for German youth. The Germans took all the families sickness insurance and František Drmelka pension money. Jaromír’s mother was seriously ill and when he left home he was worried that he might never see her again.

Neměli peníze na léky a ani na jídlo, po nuceném vystěhování z vlastního domu se rodina Drmelková musela uchýlit na Moravu k příbuzným. Avšak Jaromír a jeho bratr Olda se skrývali nadále ve Vyklicích. Na vlastní kůži poznali teror a řádění henleinovských ordnerů v českém pohraničí a nemohli se s tím smířit. Chtěli bojovat za vlast proti nacistickému Německu a tak čekali na příhodnou chvíli uprchnout za hranice. Jaromír se měl hlásit k 1. srpnu 1939 na Gestapu v Magdeburku, ale v té době byl už v Polsku. Z domova odešel 20. července a měl obavy, aby tatínek kvůli tomu, že utekl z Německa neskončil v koncentračním táboře. Uvědomoval si, že tím uvrhl celou rodinu do velkého nebezpečí, ale jak sám řekl ´´Je to má povinnost a také pro všechny kdo se Čechem cítí a kdo miluje svou vlast´´.

The family had no money for medicines and even for food so after they were forced to leave their own home, the Drmelka family had to rely upon relatives in Moravia for support. However Jaromír and his brother Olda stayed and went into hiding in Vyklice. They knew well about the orders of Konrad Henlein, the leading Sudeten German politician in Czechoslovakia, to spread terror in the Czech border regions and they could not tolerate this. They wanted to fight for the liberation of Czechoslovakia against Nazi Germany so they were waiting for the right moment to escape across the border. On August 1, 1939 Jaromír was required to report to the Gestapo in Magdeburg, but by that time he had already escaped to Poland. He left home on July 20 1939 and was afraid, that because he was escaping from Czechoslovakia, now a Reich Protectorate, that his father could be sent to a concentration camp. He realised that his escaping would put whole family into great danger but as he said “it is my duty and also for all those who feel Czech and who love their country.”

Jaromír Drmelka se narodil 14. 3. 1917 ve Vyklicích /okres Ústí nad Labem/ jako druhý syn Františka a Otilie Drmelkové. Měl ještě dvě sestry Ludmilu a Jiřinu. Ve vyklickém domě který postavil jeho tatínek měli hospodu a masnu kterou provozovala maminka Otilie a tatínek František dělal horníkům mistra v dole u Vyklic. Jako malý chlapec Jaromír vychodil obecnou a měšťanskou školu v Chabařovicích a od deseti let aktivně cvičil v Sokole. Absolvoval 3 roky odborné pokračovací a 2 roky strojní průmyslové školy v Ústí n. Labem. Jeho rysy byly vyvěšeny na chodbách průmyslové školy a v té době měl také několik zlepšovacích návrhů, o kterých se jeho profesoři pochvalně vyjadřovali. Tato škola byla německá a česká průmyslová škola tam byla trpěna pouze v nájmu. Byla to velmi těžká politická situace pro Čechy, kteří žili v severočeském pohraničním území. I když musel předčasně tuto školu opustit kvůli finančním problémům tak jeho úspěchy ještě po letech vzbuzují obdiv. Jeho sestra Ludmila vždy říkala, že Jaromír byl opravdu velmi schopný a talentovaný student a zůstaly jen smutné vzpomínky na zmařený mladý život.

Jaromír Drmelka was born on 14. 3. 1917 in Vyklice, near Ústí nad Labem, in north east Czechoslovakia. He was the second son of Frantisek and Otilie Drmelka. He had also two sisters Ludmila and Jirina. The family home in Vyklice had been built by his father. The village had a public house and a butchers shop which was run by his mother Otilie. His father Frantisek was a Master-miner at the mines at Vyklice. As a little boy Jaromír attended elementary and secondary school in Chabařovice and when he was ten years old he became a member of Sokol, the Czechoslovak youth sport organisation. On completion of his secondary schooling he continued with his education for a further two years at the industrial technical school in Ústí nad Labem, where he studied engineering. The school was in the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia and despite being a German-Czech school managed to remain apolitical in the difficult situation that was now developing in the Sudeten regions. From his sister Ludmila we know that whilst he was at the technical school, he loved designing and his drawing were displayed in the corridors of the school. He was noted for several innovative design suggestions which were received well by his lecturers. Unfortunately, due to the families poor financial situation he was forced to leave. His sister Ludmila always said that he was a promising and really talented student and “remain only sad memories of a young wasted life”.

Dne 27.4.1937 byl přijat do praktického pilotního výcviku v akci letecké branné výchovy. Jaromír byl vysoký a kvůli tomu měl problém s přijetím do leteckého výcviku, ale nakonec se mu to podařilo a jeho sen létat se mu vyplnil. Zkoušku na pilota sportovních a turistických letadel vykonal dne 22. 8. 1937. V říjnu 1937 nastupuje na vojenskou službu a 15. 11. 1937 je zařazen do poddůstojnické školy v Chebu. Do vojenského pilotního výcviku je zařazen dne 26.11.1937. O rok později je povýšen na svobodníka. V ČS Armádě byl 2 roky vojenským pilotem. Po rozpuštění ČS armády byl poslán do Hamburku na práci, odtud po 2 měsících utekl zpět do Protektorátu a potom přes Slovensko do Polska.

On April 27 1937, Jaromír applied for practical pilot training, but because he was quite tall, he had problems to be accepted for flight training, but finally he was accepted and his dream of flying was realised. He qualified as a sports pilot on August 22, 1937. In October 1937 he started his military service and on November 15, 1937 he was assigned to NCO Military School in Cheb. He commenced his military pilot training on November 26, 1937. A year later he was promoted to the rank of svobodník (Private First Class). He served as a pilot in the Czechoslovak Air Force for two years. After the German occupation in March 1939, the Czechoslovak Air Force was disbanded and he was sent to Hamburg to work but after two months he escaped back to the Protectorate, and then escaped to Poland via Slovakia.

V červenci 1939 přechází hranice do Polska, kde byl prezentován u východní skupiny čs. armády v polském Krakově. Posléze přemístěn do tábora v Malých Bronovicích a zařazen do čs. legionu. Potom celá čs. skupina byla odeslána do Leszné na ruské hranice.

His escape to Poland was in July 1939, and after crossing the border, he reported to the Eastern Czechoslovak Army Group in Krakow. Later he was transferred to the Czechoslovak transit camp at Malé Bronovice, near Krakow, here he joined the Czechoslovak Legion. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the entire Czechoslovak group was redeployed to Leszno, near the Russian border.

Při ústupu před postupující německou armádou byli několikrát bombardováni a asi po 3-4 denním cestování na malé zastávce před Lublinem 6. 9. 1939 se J. Drmelka s dalšími několika kamarády odpojili od skupiny, protože ztratili transport a vstoupili do řad polského letectva. Přihlásili se na velitelství v Lublině. Z velitelství je poslali k 6 Pułk Lotniczy. Piloti byli přiděleni k 64 a 65 Eskarda Bombowa. Eskadry byly vyzbrojeny letadly PZL P. 23B Karaś. Němci byli velmi překvapeni, jak statečně polští letci podnikali nálety na postupující kolony Wehrmachtu, bohužel německá přesila byla příliš velká a polská letadla utrpěla devadesátiprocentní ztráty.

During their retreat front of the advancing German army, the group was bombed several times, and after about 3-4 day’s traveling arrived at Lublin. It was here, on September 6, 1939, that Jaromír with a few other friends became separated from the rest of group and they lost their transport. They decided to join the Polish Air Force, whose headquarters were in Lublin, where they enlisted. They were deployed to the 6 Pułk Lotniczy of the Polish Air Force and were assigned to the 64 and 65 Eskarda Bombowa units, who were equipped with PZL P. 23B Karaś aircraft. The advancing Germans were very surprised how the brave Polish airmen made raids on the Wehrmacht army, but German superiority was too much and the Polish Air Force suffered with 90% aircraft losses.

Pobyt u polských jednotek trval pro Jaromíra a jeho kamarády jen pár dní. Po zničení neletuschopných letounů odletěli v noci ze 17. na 18. 9. 1939 na zbylých letadlech spolu se zbylým personálem eskader do Rumunska. Zde je zajat a internován v táboře Babadaj. Posléze utíká z tábora Babadaj přes Bukurešt‘ do rumunského přístavu Constance. Z tama pak dále odplouvá 14. 10. 1939 lodí Besarabia do Bejrútu a pak pokračuje svou cestu na lodi Maréchal Joffre. 13. 11. 1939 připlouvá do Marseille /Francie/ a odtud odjíždí do Agde. Je prezentován u čs. vojska v Agde a zařazen do letecké skupiny a 15. 12. 1939 je povýšen do čs. hodnosti desátníka. Poté, 6. 6. 1940 je přemístěn k doplňovacímu středisku čs. letectva v Bordeaux.

However their stay with the Polish Air Force lasted only a few days. On the night of 17/18 September 1939, after they destroyed their non-flight capable aircraft, the Eskarda flew their remaining aircraft to Romania. Here they were interned and held at the Babadaj internment camp. Jaromír managed to escape from the camp, and travelled via Bucharest to the Romania port of Constanța. From here, on 14 October, he sailed on the ship ‘Bessarabia’ to Beirut and there he boarded the ‘Maréchal Joffre’ and continued his journey to France. He arrived at Marseille on 13 November and was transferred to the Czechoslovak military transit camp at nearby Agde. Here he was assigned to the Air Force group and on 15 December 1939 was promoted to the Czechoslovak rank of desátník (Corporal) and assigned to Armée de l’air, the French Air Force. On 6 June 1940, during the Battle for France, he was redeployed to their airbase at Bordeaux.

Training School. Babbacombe Hotel

Po pádu Francie dne 19. 6. 1940 byl s dalšími československými piloty evakuován na lodi Karanan do Velké Británie. 21. 6. 1940 připlouvá do anglického přístavu Falmouth a odtud odjíždí do campu v Innsworth. Dne 9. 7. 1940 je zařazen do Czechoslovak Depot RAF Cosford a 24. 7. 1940 je přijat jako dobrovolná záloha do RAF /Royal Air Force/. Obdržel kmenové číslo 787359 a je mu přidělena hodnost AC2. Základní pilotní výcvik absolvuje u No. 1 RW /Receiving Wing/ Babbacombe Down /Devon/ a poté je přemístěn do No. 2 SFTS /Service Flying Training School/ Brize Norton k pokračovacímu výcviku. Dne 4. 8.1941 byl povýšen do britské hodnosti sergeant a pak jako pilot 1.1.1942 je přeřazen k 311. čs. bombardovací peruti v East Wretham / Norfolk/.

After the fall of France he was amongst the group of Czechoslovak airmen who were evacuated on the ‘Karanan’. The Dutch motor coaster sailed from France on 19 June and arrived at Falmouth, England on 21 June. Initially the Czechoslovak airmen were taken to RAF Innsworth and, on 9 July, they were transferred to the Czechoslovak Depot at RAF Cosford. Jaromír was accepted into the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 24 July, at the rank of AC2, and the service number of 787359. He was posted to No. 1 RW (Receiving Wing) at Babbacombe Down, Devon to attend his elementary pilot training course. On completion of the course he was then sent for further pilot training to No. 2 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) at Brize Norton. On 4 August 1941 he was promoted to the RAF rank of Sergeant and on 1 January 1942 was transferred to 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Sqn based at East Wretham, Norfolk.

2. SFTS, Brize Norton.

Po 310. stíhací to byla druhá čs. peruť v rámci Britského Královského letectva. Ve svém znaku měla dvojici zkřížených husitských zbraní s citátem „Na množství nehleďte“. Hlavní úkol perutě byl jeden z nejnáročnějších. Jednalo se o noční bombardování nad územím nepřítele, proto i výcvik byl odlišný a mnohem náročnější než u ostatních. Každý musel znát svou odbornost a bezpečně ovládat anglické povely a vojenskou terminologii. Museli si zvyknout na rytmus denních a nočních dálkových letů nad pevninou a nad mořem a na specifické anglické podmínky.

The squadron was, after 310 Czechoslovak fighter, the second Czechoslovak squadron, squadron to be formed within the RAF. Their squadron badge was a pair of crossed Hussite weapons with the motto “Never regard their numbers”. The role of the squadron was one of the most demanding; it was the night bombing of targets in occupied northern Europe. Their training was therefore different and much more difficult than their 310 Sqn counterparts. Everyone had to be an expert in their own aircrew roles and to be fully conversant with English commands and military terminology. They had to get used to the rhythm of day and night flights over land and over the sea and the specific English environment.

Od února do června 1942 je Jaromír u československé operačně-výcvikové letky – No.8 u 1429 COTU /Czechoslovak Operational Training Unit/ v Honingtonu jako druhý pilot dvoumotorového Vickers Wellingtonu zařazen do operačního turnusu. Dvoumotorové bombardovací stroje typu Wellington byly v té době nejmodernější a zároveň nejkomplikovanější bombardovací letouny s nimiž se naši letci do té doby setkali. Osádku šestimístného Wellingtonu tvořili první a druhý pilot, navigátor, radiotelegrafista a přední a zadní střelec.

Initially, from 1 February to 14 June 1942, Jaromír was assigned to No. 8 Course at 1429 COTU (Czechoslovak Operational Training Unit), based at Honnington, for operational training as second-pilot on Vickers Wellington, twin-engined bombers. At that time these was the most advanced and, at the same time, complicated bomber aircraft that Czechoslovak airmen had flown. A Wellington aircraft was manned by a crew of six – a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, wireless operator and two air-gunners.

Ke konci výcviku se šest posádek z tohoto kurzu zúčastnilo druhého tisíci letadlového bombardovacího nočního náletu na Essen. V noci z 1. na 2. června 1942 vzlétl Jaromír s ostatní posádkou na Wellingtonu jako třetí a i přes nízkou oblačnost překrývající jejich cíl nakonec úspěšně splnili misi a shodili bomby na přesně určené místo.

Towards the end of this training period six of the crews from that Course participated in the 2nd 1000 bomber raid. Their target was Essen on the night of 1st/2nd June 1942. Jaromír Wellington was the 3rd to take-off and despite low cloud obscuring their target, they successfully reached their target and dropped their bombs.

Dne 17. června 1942 Jaromír úspěšně dokončil výcvikový kurz a je přemístěn zpět k 311. čs. bombardovací peruti. Bohužel kdokoliv se přihlásil k bombardovacímu letectvu a byl zařazen k operační letce si musel být plně vědom toho, že má před sebou asi tak půl roku života. Nic míň a nic víc, po této době musel být už jen dítkem štěstěny a takových nebylo mnoho.

On 17 June, having successfully completed his course, Jaromír re-joined 311 Sqn. Whoever joined a operational RAF bomber squadron was quite aware that their life-expectancy could possibly be no more than six months. Nothing less and nothing more, those who survived that period must have been a child of fortune and there were not many of those!

Chtěli jen létat a počítali s tím, že mohou padnout. Nebo být zajati, což bylo pro občany okupované vlasti ještě horší, pokud nacisté zjistili jejich totožnost, hleděli na ně jako na uprchlé zrádce. U Bomber Command byla životnost osádky velmi nízká. Velkou hrozbu představovali nepřátelské stíhačky a pro střelce bombardérů to byl velmi těžký úkol zneškodnit je. Většinou neměli téměř žádnou šanci na přežití jakmile byli obklopeni tak obávanými německými stíhačkami Messerschmitt. Zbývá jen dodat, že šance osádky zasaženého letounu dostat se z letadla živí byla zhruba 1:5. Mnohými byly bombardovací nálety označovány za sebevražedné mise. Každý člen posádky bombardovacích letounů měl méně jak padesáti procentní šanci na přežití a během 2. světové války jich bylo zabito celkem 55,573.

They just wanted to fly and accepted the fact that they may fall. Or be captured, which for the citizens of their occupied homeland would be even worse when the Nazis discovered their identity, regarding them as traitors to the Reich. For Bomber Command aircrew, life-expectancy was very low. The big threat was enemy fighters and for the bomber gunners was a very tough job to shoot them down. Usually they had no chance of survival when were surrounded by so fearsome Luftwaffe fighter-aircraft. It remains only to say that the crew chances to get out from a damaged aircraft alive was about 1 in 5. For many, bombing raids were described as a suicide missions. A aircrew member of Bomber Command had a less than 50% chance of survival; a total of 55,573 RAF Bomber Command aircrew were killed during WW2.

Velká Británie byla životně závislá na dodávkách zásob ze Severní Ameriky. Toto zásobování zajišťovaly konvoje nákladních lodí. Konvoje však byly terčem útoků německých ponorek /U-boat/. A jelikož v té době 311. bombardovací peruť měla vysoké ztráty a hrozil jí totalní zánik tak bylo rozhodnuto o jejím přesunu dne 28. dubna 1942 ke službě u pobřežního velitelství k zapojení se do Bitvy o Atlantik.

On 28th of April 1942, because of the German U-boat threat to Britain’s vital supply convoys from the United States combined with the high personnel losses they suffered in Bomber Command, 311 Sqn were transferred to Coastal Command for their role in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Zpočátku 22. června 1942 byla 311. bombardovací peruť přeřazena do RAF Talbenny v Pembrokeshire i s Jaromírem, který byl nyní nasazen jako operační pilot. Žádalo si to neuvěřitelnou odvahu sednout si dovnitř bombardéru ve dne i v noci a absolvovat několika hodinové mise v mrazivém vzduchu. Pokaždé když vzlétli, věděli, že letí na skoro jistou smrt. Většinou 8 až 10 hodinové mise na hraně smrti v úzkém prostoru letadla i v zimě, kde teplota byla pod nulou a v neustálé obavě o život, byly pro mladé muže velký nápor na nervy. Ti kluci tam přišli sami, dobrovolně a bez říkání opustili svoje rodiny v rodné zemi. Byli to naprostí idealisti a vlastenci, ale jak strašnou cenu za to někteří museli zaplatit tím, že jsou tam pohřbeni v Biskajském zálivu nebo v Severním moři. Šestičlenná posádka musela být dokonale sehraná, bojovali a umírali často společně. Bylo to peklo, nic jiného od toho nečekali. A jak Jaromír napsal v jednom svém dopisu ’’ Zůstalo nám hodně a hodně smutných vzpomínek a tvrdých, ten kdo je neprožil těžko by jim uvěřil ’’.

Initially, from 22 June 1942, 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn were deployed to RAF Talbenny, in Pembrokeshire, with Jaromír now an operational pilot. It required incredible courage to be inside their Wellington aircraft day and night and complete long patrols in the frosty air. Every time when they took-off knew, the certainty of their return was unknown. The long patrols, usually between 8 to 10 hours, always had the danger of death in the narrow confines of the aircraft, where the cold temperature was below zero, and the constant fear for theirs lives would put a great strain on the nerves of these young men. These men had escaped voluntarily from their homeland to be there, often leaving their families in their native Czechoslovakia. They were absolute idealists and patriots, but for some they paid the ultimate sacrifice – a watery grave in the Bay of Biscay or the North Sea. The six-member crew had to be perfectly harmonised as often they fought and died together. It was hell, but they fully expected that. In one of Jaromír’s letters he wrote “It remains with us lots and lots of sad and hard memories, which had to be experienced for them to believe.”

V rámci Coastal Command se 311. peruť zapojila do bitvy o Atlantik a začala provádět hlídkové a protiponorkové patroly ze základny Talbenny, které zpočátku směřovaly do prostoru Biskajského zálivu. Pro československé letce nebylo snadné létat mnoho hodin nad mořem, snažit se objevit a případně zničit nepřátelskou ponorku či jiné plavidlo. Všichni moc dobře věděli, že kdo nepřiletěl z moře hned po skončení operace, už se nikdy nevrátil. Ledový Biskaj a Atlantik požadovanou daň většinou nevracely. A pravě Biskaj, ten který byl piloty zatracován a posílán do horoucích pekel se stal Jaromírovi a jeho kamarádům osudným.

Within Coastal Command 311 Sqn participated in the Battle of Atlantic and began to undertake patrols and anti-submarine patrols from their base at Talbenny, which was initially focused on their operation area of the Bay of Biscay. For the Czechoslovak airmen was not easy to fly many hours over the sea, trying to locate and destroy enemy submarines or ships. They all knew very well that those who did not return from their patrol over the icy seas of the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic would never come back. It was the Bay of Biscay that placed its fatal curse on Jaromír and his comrades and sent them all to a watery grave.

Ráno 18.srpna 1942 devět posádek Wellingtonu ze základny Talbenny dostává za úkol provést operační let nad Biskajským zálivem. Pod vedením prvního pilota Sgt Jana Lence vzlétli v 7:27 jako pátí na Wellingtonu KX-B DV665 a Jaromír byl jako druhý pilot. V 09:15 obdržel kapitán Wellingtonu ´´T´´z 311 perutě F / O František Taiber rádiovou zprávu z Jaromírova Wellingtonu, “Jsme napadeni nepřátelskými letouny”. V té době byla pozice napadeného Wellingtonu KX-B DV665 přibližně 300 km západně od francouzkého Brestu kdy byli ještě na cestě tam během operačního letu nad Biskajem.

On the morning of August 18, 1942, nine of 311 Sqn Wellingtons were dispatched from Talbenny for patrol over the Bay of Biscay. Jaromír was co-pilot of Wellington KX-B, DV665, and F/Sgt Jan Lenc, was pilot. Their Wellington took-off at 07:27 and were number five of those nine Wellingtons that took-off. At 09:15, Wellington ‘T’ of 311 Sqn captained by F/O František Taiber, picked-up a radio message from ‘B’ saying “we are being attacked by enemy aircraft”. At that time Wellington DV665’s position was approximately 300 km west of Brest, France and on the outward journey of its Bay of Biscay patrol.

Později ve 12:34 kdy se už vraceli do Anglie, nyní asi 100 km severně od španělského Ribadea byla přijata další radiová zpráva. Tentokrát zprávu obdržel Wellington ´´F´´ taktéž z 311. perutě a kapitánem letounu byl Sgt Jan Irving. Znovu stejná zpráva “Jsme napadeni nepřátelskými letouny” a pak už jen ticho. Musel to být hrozný pocit beznaděje, strachu a zmatku pohlédnout přímo smrti do očí. Věděli, že nemají šanci, ale určitě bojovali do poslední minuty. A tak se toho osudného dne nad Jaromírem zavřela hladina zálivu a nikdo už o něm nikdy více neslyšel. Spolu s ním zahynuli první pilot Sgt Jan Lenc, navigátor Karel Bečvář DFC – navigátorská hvězda 311. perutě, radiotelegrafista Pavel Tofel a dva střelci Vladimír Sobotka a František Šipula.

Later, at 12:34, with DV655 now about 100 km north of Ribadeo on the Spainish coast and now returning back to England, a second radio message was received from them. This time it was Wellington ‘F’ of 311 Sqn, captained by Sgt Jan Irving, that received the message. It again said “we are being attacked by enemy aircraft … “. Then just silence. It must have been a horrible feeling of hopelessness, fear and chaos to look directly into the eyes of death. Although they only had a slim chance, but they certainly fought until the last minute. And so on that fateful day Jaromir disappeared into the Bay of Biscay never to be heard of again. Killed with him was pilot Jan Lenc; navigator Karel Bečvář DFC – the star navigator of 311 Sqn; wireless operator Pavel Toefl and the two air-gunners Vladimir Sobotka and František Šipula.

Položili svoje mladé životy za naše osvobození daleko od domova. Byl to jejich poslední let, ale tentokrát jim ručička kompasu neukázala směr šťastného návratu. Zůstali tam navždy pohřbeni někde v hlubinách Biskaje. Tito stateční vojáci splnili slova vojenské přísahy do posledního písmene a přinesli na oltář své vlasti oběť nejvyšší. Odvaha a hrdinství našich letců byly zaplaceny bolestnými ztrátami a jakákoli slova, kterými se snažíme popsat tuhle smutnou pravdu, jsou nedostačující a slabá. Přesto bychom měli najít alespoň pár slov díků za celou naši vlast, pro kterou padli. Čas utiší bolest a ponechá jen vzpomínky na ty, jež jsme milovali a ztratili.

They gave their young lives, so far away from home, for the liberation of their homeland. It was their last mission, but this time their compass needle did not show in the direction of a happy return. They are there somewhere forever lost in the depths of the Bay of Biscay. These brave airmen fulfilled the words of their military oath to the last letter and for their country they made the highest sacrifice. The courage and heroism of our airmen was paid for with painful losses; words to try to describe this sad truth are insufficient and weak. However, we should find at least a few words of thanks from our entire country, for which they gave their lives. Time eases the pain and leaves only memories of those we loved and lost.

„My mrtví voláme, nezapomeňte!“

“We fallen airmen , we are calling , remember us! “

I po tak dlouhé době má stále cenu si připomínat naše padlé letce. Určitě jste si všimli, že v Evropě se opět válčí a měli bychom si všichni uvědomit, že svoboda a demokracie nejsou z nebe spadlé a jednou pro vždy dané vymoženosti. A tihle naši piloti nehledě na své mládí si to plně uvědomovali a podle toho taky jednali

Even after such a long time we still need to remember our fallen airmen. Surely you noticed that in parts of Europe there is war again and we should all realise that freedom and democracy are not granted from heaven and for our conveniences. And these, our airmen, despite their youth were fully aware of this and acted accordingly too.

„Čest jejich památce“.

“Honour their memory”.

Vzpomenut / He is remembered:

v České republice / In the Czech Republic :

– hřbitov RAF Praha Olšany /
– on the Memorial to the RAF at Prague’s Olšany cemetery.,

– pomník obětí 2. světové války v Halenkovicích. /
– on the Memorial in Halenkovice to the victims of WW2.

– socha okřídlený lev na Klárově připomíná československé piloty v RAF, 2014 /
– on the Winged Lion memorial to the Czechoslovak RAF airmen at Klárov, Prague 1, 2014.

– pomník zahraničního odboje 2. světové války v Podměstí v Žatci, 2012 /
– on the Memorial to WW2 foreign resistance at Plzeňská Žatec, 2012.

– pomník padlým letcům v roce 1939-1945 Praha 6 náměstí Svobody /
– on the Memorial to the fallen airmen of 1939-1945 at Náměstí Svobody, Prague 6.

– též vzpomenut na pomníku v rodných Vyklicích do doby kdy obec byla zlikvidována. Ložiska uhlí pod obcí se jí stala osudná v roce 1982. /
– on a the memorial in his native Vyklice until the village was destroyed following a coal-mine collapse in 1982.

– památník obětem 2. světové války Zlín v parku Komenského /
– on the memorial to the victims of WW2 at Komenský park, Zlín

– je vzpomenut na pomníku rodinného hrobu v Chabarovicích, Ústí nad Labem. /
– on the family grave at Chabarovice , Ústí nad Labem.

– je vzpomenut i s jeho fotografií letce RAF na pomníku rodinného hrobu v Kunovicích u Uherského Hradiště /
– on the family grave, which includes a photo of him in RAF uniform, at Kunovice, Uherské Hradiště.

Výše uvedený přehled památních míst není asi vyčerpávající.

The above summary of Memorial locations is probably not complete.

Vyznamenání / Medals:

Československé / Czechoslovak:

Za zásluhy II [Medal of Merit grade II],
Pamětní medailí [commemorative medal, with France and Great Britain bars] in memoriam

Britské / British:

1939-45 Star in memoriam
Air Crew Europe Star in memoriam
Defence Medal

_______________________________________________________________

1.6.1991 povýšen in memoriam do hodnosti plukovníka letectva.

On 1 June 1991 he was promoted, in memoriam, to the rank of Plukovník (Colonel) in the Czechoslovak Air Force.

_______________________________________________________________

© Dana Nedomová & Marie Gajdosiková

Article last updated : 14 March 2016.




Posted in 311 Sqd, Biography, Not Forgotton | 3 Comments