RAF Rehabilitation Ceremony – Prague 13 September 1991


After 41 years of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, following the ‘Velvet Revolution’ there between 17 November to 29 December 1989, the country began to evolve as a democratic State. The countries new President was former playwright Václav Havel, whose one of his early initiatives was to try and right the wrongs that the former Czechoslovak RAF airmen and women had suffered under the Communist regime. Many had been persecuted, imprisoned or suffered deprivation under that regime, many managed to escape to the West and go into exile, having to rebuild their lives afresh in countries mainly in Britain, Canada, USA, Australia as well as other countries around the world.

Po 41 letech komunistického režimu v Československu, po “sametové revoluci” na sklonku roku 1989, nastoupila země cestu demokratického státu. Novým prezidentem se stal někdejší dramatik Václav Havel, jehož jednou z prvních iniciativ bylo pokusit se napravit příkoří a bezpráví, kterým byli českoslovenští letci v RAF, muži i ženy, vystaveni během komunistického režimu. Mnoho z nich bylo za jejich vlády pronásledováno, uvězněno nebo strádalo, některým se podařilo uniknout do exilu na Západ, kde museli znovu začít svůj život v cizích zemích, zejména v Británii, Kanadě, USA, Austrálii a dalších zemích po celém světě.

Václav Havel’s initiative for the ‘Moral and Political Rehabilitation’ of these airmen and WAAF’s resulted in RAF Rehabilitation Ceremony which was held in Prague on 13 September 1991 – a gesture by the new Czechoslovak State to try and correct the injustices caused by the former regime.

Iniciativa Václava Havla, směřující k “morální a politické rehabilitaci” těchto letců RAF, můžů a žen, vyústila nakonec ve slavnostní “Shromáždění příslušníků RAF”, které se konalo v Praze 13. září 1991 jako gesto nového československého státu ve snaze napravit nespravedlnosti a křivdy minulého režimu.

Some 1200 former RAF airmen and women, attended this ceremony, many from around the world, in some cases age, infirmary or death precluded their attendance and so relatives attended on their behalf.

Tohoto slavnostního shromáždění se zúčastnilo téměř 1200 bývalých letců RAF, mužů i žen, řada z nich z různých koutů světa a Ty, kteří se nemohli zúčastnit pro svůj věk, nemoc nebo již zemřeli, zastupovali jejich příbuzní.

This Czech language documentary is an account of that historic occasion.

Následující video v českém jazyce dokumentuje tuto historické událost.




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Brno RAF Exhibition 12 – 26. 10. 2017.





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Jindrichuv Hradec – 26 August 2017


V sobotu 26. srpna proběhlo již 24. Setkání válečních a poválečních letců v Jindřichově Hradci, na kterém nechyběli veteráni z druhé světové války Pavel Vranský a Jiří Kafka či vdovy po pilotech.

On Saturday, August 26th, the 24th Meeting of War and Air Force airmen took place at Jindřichův Hradec, included amongst the guests were WW2 veterans Pavel Vranský, Jiří Kafka and airmen’s widows.

Nejprve všechny přítomné pozdravil v kapli sv. Máří Magdaleny starosta Jindřichova Hradce Stanislav Mrvka. Poté pokračoval program prohlídkou Domu gobelínů.

The event commenced in the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, where Stanislav Mrvka, Mayor of Jindřichův Hradec, welcomed all attendees after which there was a tour of the Tapestry House.

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Následně došlo k položení květin a věnců u Památníku letců, v rámci kterého proběhla nad hlavami přítomných ukázka akrobacie kluzáku a rovněž přelet letadla z místního aeroklubu.

The event continued with Wreaths and flower bouquets being laid at the Airmen’s Memorial, while a glider acrobatics demonstration, which included aircraft from the local aero club, was performed overhead.

© Jaroslav Kreisinger




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Brookwood – 29 October 2017


At 2pm on Sunday 29 October,

the annual ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of

the founding of

the State Czechoslovakia on 28 October 1918

will be held at the

Czechoslovak Memorial in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.

All are welcome

_______________________________________________________________

V neděli, 29. října, ve 14 hod.

se koná

slavnostní shromáždění u příležitosti

vyhlášení samostatné Československé republiky dne 28. října 1918,

které se uskuteční při

Československém památníku na vojenském hřbitově v Brookwood, Surrey.

Všichni jsou srdečně zváni.





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Jaroslav Kudlacek – memorial plaque unveiled


On Saturday 19 August 2017, a memorial plaque was unveiled for Jaroslav Kudláček at the school he attended in Chrudim.

He was one of the 23 killed in a tragic aircrash on 5 October 1945 and thus the last Czechoslovak RAF aircraft Captain to be killed while in RAF service.

It was a well attended event which had been organised by the Tmavomodří group in conjuction with Chrudim Municiplaity. Attendees included Mgr. Petr Řezníček, Mayor of Chrudim, representatives of the Tmavomodrý svět group, representing the Kudlacek family was Milan Kudláček, Jaroslav Kudláček’s brother, Eldon Kudláček, youngest son of Jaroslav Kudláček, numerous Kudláček family members, representatives of the 43rd Airborne Battalion and the 21st Air Force Base at Čáslav, RAF re-enactors Viktor Wildner, Lenka Grimová and Petr Radoch, with numerous well wishers. The Guard of Honour was provided by members of the 43rd Airborne Battalion.

The ceremony opening was at 11:00 with Spitfire TE184, flown by Radim Vojta performing a flypast followed by the ‘Last Post’ been played, on conclusion the Spitfire returned for its final flypast.

Master of Ceremony for the event was Markéta Kosová who welcomed all the attendees to the event before introducing MUDr Jiří Wicherek from the Tmavomodří group who gave a short speech about the tragic crash of the Liberator, piloted by Jaroslav Kudláček, at Blackbushe on 5 October 1945.

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Mgr. Petr Řezníček, Mayor of Chrudim then spoke about Jaroslav’s early days when at Chrudim and attending the obecná škola where the memorial plaque was now sited. Concluding the speeches was a short address by Eldon, youngest son of Jaroslav Kudláček, on behalf of his brother Barry who was unable to travel from England to attend the event due to ill health. This address was in English, which Markéta Kosová translated into Czech for the benefit of those attending.

Eldon and Milan Kudláček were then invited by Markéta Kosová to unveil the memorial plaque.

Wreaths and bouquets were then laid by the Tmavomodří group the 43rd Airborne Battalion, Maj Jaroslav Morochovič on behalf of Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates, the 21st Air Force Base, Čáslav and well wishers, and a bow from Mgr. Petr Řezníček.

The Czech National Anthem was then played

Markéta Kosová then thanked the Tmavomodrý svět group, Josef Hrubý the stonemason of the memorial plaque, the Municipality of Chrudim and the school for their endeavors to achieve the memorial plaque project. She concluded by inviting all attendees to visit Chrudim airfield to see the Spitfire where it gave a short flying display on it’s departure.

Video courtesy of David Růžička / Tmavomodří group.

Chrudim Aeroclub and its members had arranged for the Spitfire to visit the airfield and for its refuelling as well as beer refreshments for the visitors. Many thanks to Vladimír Bureš, Leoš Balada, František Mottl and many others for those welcome refreshments!






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Winged Lion 14 August 2017



On 14 August 2017, a ceremony was held at the Winged Lion Monument, at Klárov, Prague, to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the return of the Czechoslovak men and women who had served in the RAF during WW2. The event was, as usual, jointly organised by the Nadační fond – Evropské vzdělávací centrum armádního generála Karla Janouška and the Municipal Council of Prague 1.

The well-attended ceremony included, Deputy Minister of Defense Jakub Landovský, Deputy Chief of General Staff – SOC Director Major-General Jiří Verner, Commander of the Czech Air Force Major-General Jaromír Šebesta, his deputy Brigadier-General Petr Hromek, Mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, Jiří Hynek President of Asociace obranného a bezpečnostního průmyslu ČR, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Air Force General Bohuslav Dvorak, Czechoslovak RAF veterans Major-General Emil Boček and Brigadier-General Pavel Vranský, relatives of Czechoslovak RAF airmen, including Hana Fajtlová, widow of General František Fajtl, Jessica Horváthová, Director of Nadační fond – Evropské vzdělávací centrum armádního generála Karla Janouška, numerous members of the Czech Air Force and Parachute Regiment, representatives of veteran groups, scouts and well wishers including from the British community in Prague and also from the UK. Background music was provided by a kilted Czech bagpipe band.

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Jiří Stanislav of the Nadační fond hosted the event and expressed outrage at the latest proposal from Prague’s City Hall Heritage to have the Winged Lion monument moved to a less prominent location. He emphasied determination that the monument remain at Klarov, a view which was heartly supported by those present.

Speeches then followed by Oldřich Lomecký, Major-General Jaromír Šebesta and Jiří Hynek. Wreaths were then laid led by General Major Jaromír Šebesta and Brigadier General Petr Hromek, Oldřich Lomecký with Major-General Jiří Verner, Jakub Landovský and General Bohuslav Dvorak, Euan Edworthy, Nicholas Edworthy and Nick Watson on behalf of the British community in the Czech Republic, Jessica Horváthová with Jiří Petrásek Werich, Brigadier General Pavel Vranský as well as relatives of the Czechoslovak RAF airmen and well wishers.

The National anthems of the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Great Britain were played followed by a minute silence.

The ceremony concluded with a wreath also being placed at the nearby memorial plaque for Air Marshall Karel Janoušek.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Anniversary, Events, Not Forgotton | 4 Comments

Return to Prague – August 1945


The Liberators and airmen of 311 Sqn returning to Prague on 15 August 1945.

Two days previously the 54 Spitfires of 310 Sqn, 312 Sqn and 313 Sqn had also returned.




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Barbora pilgrimage to remember fallen Czechoslovak RAF airmen


The catalyst for this trip originated about six months ago when my 15 year old daughter, Barbora, had just had read a book about Stanislav FEJFAR – A Fighter Pilot’s Call to Arms’ – and we talked about the Czechoslovak airmen who had served in the RAF during WW2. From these talks, we felt that we should do something as our personal remembrance to those airmen. Because of the book she had just read, Barbora, suggested that we should take a sample of soil from Fejfar’s birth place at Štikov and take it to his grave at Pihen-lès-Guînes, near Calais, France.

Nápad uskutečnit naši pouť přišel přibližně před půl rokem, kdy moje patnáctiletá dcera Barbora na základě knihy od F/Lt Stanislava Fejfara ,,Z deníku stíhače“ přišla s nápadem uctít památku někoho z těchto hrdinů, tak jsme diskutovali o osudech našich letců v RAF. Z toho vyplynulo, že bychom měli udělat něco pro zachování odkazu těchto statečných mužů. A jelikož Bára právě dočetla knihu od Stanislava Fejfara, padla volba právě na něj. Bára přišla s myšlenkou vyzdvihnout prsť ze Štikova, z místa kde se Stanislav Fejfar narodil, a odvést ji na jeho hrob v Pihen-les-Guines.

Barbora’s comment: Generally I am interest in Czechoslovakia aviators, who served in RAF and I wanted to visit these places. It was difficult chose just one of these heroes, but because the birthplace of Stanislav Fejfar is near Hradec Králové, I chose him and of course I read his book also. (I read this book 2 years ago and I liked it. But I would like to read this book in English language, because in Czech version aren’t all the things, that he has written.) When we were choosing destinations I was looking for other cemeteries, where some Czechovakia aviators are buried. I believe, this wasn’t my last trip to visit graves of Czechoslovakia aviators. The wreath, which I threw into the English Channel was dedicated to all aviators, who didn’t come home like Jaroslav Hloužek, Alois Vašátko or Miroslav Borkovec, he was Fejfar’s faithful wingman, who died in the same operation.

Bára: Protože se zajímám o osudy našich letců, kteří sloužili během války v RAF, chtěla jsem navštívit místa, kde bych mohla uctít jejich památku. Bylo těžké vybrat jen jednoho z nich, ale snad protože rodiště Stanislava Fejfara je blízko Hradce Králové a četla jsem i jeho knihu ,,Z deníku stíhače“, padlo naše rozhodnutí právě na něj (láka mě, ale spíše anglická verze této knihy, protože je obsáhlejší než české vydání). Když jsme zjistili, kde se nachází místo posledního odpočinku Stanislava Fejfara, vyhledala jsem v okolí místa, kde jsou pochováni další naši letci a spojila je s naší cestou k hrobu Stanislava Fejfara. Poslední věneček, vhozený do vln, byl věnován všem, kteří nedoletěli a zmizeli v Kanálu La Manche jako byl například Jaroslav Hloužek, Alois Vašátko nebo Miroslav Borkovec, který byl věrným číslem Stanislava Fejfara a rovněž padl během osudného letu.

That was the original plan and at the beginning of July, we went to Štikov for the required soil sample. We then began to plan our journey to France, with the aid of Google maps and František Loucký’s book Mnozí Nedoletěli we quickly realised that there were other locations that were in close proximity to our planned route to France and so these could be included as well; thus our original itinerary quickly expanded. As an act of remembrance to these airmen, Barbora bought some small wreaths to lay and the various graves we planned to visit, personalising them by adding small Czech flags.

Náš plán jsme začali uskutečňovat počátkem července, když jsme navštívili Štikov pro vyzvednutí prstě od rodného domu Stanislava Fejfara. K vyhledání místa, kde je Stanislav Fejfar pochován, nám pomohla aplikace ,,Mnozí nedoletěli“, která čerpá ze stejnojmenné knihy od Františka Louckého. Na základě tohoto plánu jsme mohli přidat další místa, kde jsou pochováni českoslovenští letci po cestě do Francie. Bára tedy koupila malé věnečky, které doplnila československými vlaječkami a my mohli vyrazit na naší cestu.


Our journey started on 15 July from Hradec Králové with a 990 km drive to our first location; Schoonselhof Cemetery, at Antwerp, Belgium where Arnošt MRTVÝ, 313 Sqn pilot is buried. His Spitfire had been shot down by a Luftwaffe fighter on 19. 04. 44. near Brussels. For all of us, this was the first grave of a Czechoslovak RAF airman that we had visited, really a very emotional and strange feeling that we all experienced. Barbora laid her first wreath here.

Naše cesta začala 15. července odjezdem z Hradce Králové do Antwerp. Po 990 km jsme dorazili k naší první zastávce Schoonselhof Cemetery v belgických Antwerpách. Zde je pohřbený Arnošt Mrtvý, pilot 313. stíhací perutě. Jeho Spitfire byl sestřelen stíhačem Luftwaffe poblíž Bruselu 19.04. 1994. Byl to první hrob československého letce, který jsme viděli. Zde Bára položila svůj první věneček.

Barbora’s comment: I had mixed feelings. I felt happiness, but also I was sad. It was really a emotional experience. I could give small thanks to a big hero. How I said, my dream came true.

Bára: Byly to smíšené pocity. Cítila jsem pocit štěstí a zároveň hlubokého dojetí. Bylo to takové malé poděkování velkým hrdinům. A zároveň splnění mého přání.

Our next stop was to Bergen op Zoom, Holland, where 311 Sqn’s F/Sgt Josef KALENSKÝ and his crew are buried; F/Sgt Josef HRDINA, F/Sgt Josef KALENSKÝ, Sgt Karel KODEŠ, Sgt Jan PEPRNÍČEK, F/O Karel RYCHNOVSKÝ in a communal grave and Sgt Josef POLITZER in a separate grave. Their Wellington bomber had been shot down over Holland by a Luftwaffe night fighter on the night of 11 April 1942 whilst returning from a bombing raid on Essen, Germany. Another wreath was laid here to remember these airmen.

Naše další zastavení patřilo posádce F/Sgt Josefa Kalenského od 311. bombardovací perutě. Tato posádka je pohřbena v holandském Bergen op Zoom, leží zde spolu ve společném hrobě F/Sgt Josef Hrdina, Sgt Karel Kodeš, Sgt Jan Perníček, F/O Karel Rychnovský a Sgt Josef Politzer, který je uložen v odděleném hrobě. Jejich Wellington byl sestřelen nad Holandskem nočním stíhačem dne 11.04. 1942 během návratu z náletu na Essen. Další dva věnečky byly tedy položeny na jejich hroby.

Barbora’s comment: I think the most important thing is not to forget on their actions, which they had done. They must not be forgotten.

Bára: Myslím, že je velmi důležité nezapomínat na jejich velké činy, které vykonaly. Naši hrdinové nesmí být zapomenuti.

Our route from Holland to Calais took us close to Ypres so we stopped at Sgt Karel PAVLÍK’s grave at the CWGC cemetery there. His Spitfire had been shot by Luftwaffe fighters down during Circus 157 on 05.05.42, he was only 23 years old. A wreath was laid and then we continued to the Circus 157 cafe in Dranouter where there is memorabilia to that combat. Next stop was to the nearby crash-site at Dranouter of his Spitfire and where there is a memorial to him.

Naše cesta z Holandska do Calais byla spojena s uctěním dalšího letce, Sgt Karla Pavlíka. Karel Pavlík je pochován na CWGC v belgickém Ypres. Jeho Spitfire byl sestřelen německým stíhačem 05.05. 1942 během operace Circus 157, bylo mu pouhých 23 let. Od jeho hrobu jsme pokračovali do blízkého Dranouteru, kde je památník a zároveň i bar připomínající operaci Circus 157. Chtěli jsme navštívit i památník, který stojí na místě, kde padl Sgt Karel Pavlík.

Barbora’s comment: We visited his grave in Ieper and then we wanted to visit his memorial, but it was complicated to find the place, where he died. So after two hours we gave up our search. Fortunately, we found the café in Dranouter, which has been dedicated to operation Circus 157. There were pictures of the airmen, who had been killed during this operation, it was nice to see them there. So, we asked a waiter, if he knew something about Karel Pavlík’s memorial and he told us about memorial of operation Circus 157 on the Dranouter’s square. So we went to see this memorial and then the waiter helped us to find the memorial, which we were orinally looking for. When we finally found memorial, I was very happy, because it would be a pity to didn’t find it, when we were so close. It was different to see place, where he died, I could see the crater, which is his Spitfire crashed.

Bára: Navštívili jsme jeho hrob v Ypres a dále jsme chtěli navštívit i jeho památník, ale bylo velmi obtížné najít místo, kde zemřel. Naše pátrání jsme tedy asi po dvou hodinách vzdali. Naštěstí, jsme cestou přes Dranouter narazili na bar, který byl věnován operaci Circus 157. Na zdech visely obrázky letců, kteří během této operace položili své životy, bylo pěkné je tam vidět. Zeptali jsme se tedy číšníka, zda neví něco o památníku Karla Pavlíka. Bohužel nevěděl, ale řekl nám o památníku, který se nachází na Dranouterském náměstí a je věnován právě operaci Circus 157. Šli jsme se tedy podívat alespoň na tento památník, ale nakonec jsme díky pomoci číšníka objevili i památník, který jsme původně hledali. Když jsme ho našli byla jsem opravdu šťastná, byla by totiž velká škoda se na toto místo nepodívat, když už jsme byli tak blízko. Bylo to docela jiné, vidět místo, kde se to všechno událo. V zemi je stále vidět veliký kráter po Pavlíkově Spitfiru.

Sgt Karel PAVLÍK’s grave at Ypres.

Circus 157 café, Dranouter.

Sgt Karel PAVLÍK’s crash site memorial, Dranouter.


Our last scheduled stop on the planned itinerary was finally to visit Stanislav FEJFAR’s grave at the CWGC Cemetery at Pihen-lès-Guînes, near Calais, France. It was pleasing to see that previous visitor from the Czech Republic had been here who had placed a photograph of him. As for the previous locations Barbora placed her own wreath and also a small bag that contained the soil sample from his Štikov birth place. With that completed, her tribute pilgrimage had successfully been achieved and it was now time to return home. Well, not quite!

Naše poslední plánovaná zastávka byla návštěva hrobu Stanislava Fejfara CWGC Cemetery Pihen-les-Guines, blízko Calais, Francie. Tady Barbora položila na hrob věneček, ale i fotografii Stanislava Fejfara a hlínu z jeho rodné vesnice. Tímto byla naše cesta za hroby těchto hrdinů úspěšně ukončena a nastal čas vrátit se zpátky domů. No, ne tak úplně.

Barbora’s comment: It was really nice experience. I was satisfied. Our trip was in the end. (I didn’t know, that we will go to England) I was really happy, because I could put wreath and soil from his home town on his grave. It was an emotional experience. I know, I thought about all the places, where we were. I was really satisfied, that I could see places, where these heroes are buried. I cried. It was sad, but I felt happiness too, because I could be there.

Barbora: Byl to opravdu krásný zážitek. Byla jsem spokojena. Náš výlet byl u konce. (Nevěděla jsem o výletu do Anglie) Byla jsem opravdu šťastná, že jsem mohla položit věneček a půdu z jeho rodné vesnice na jeho hrob. Byl to dojemný zážitek. Vím, že jsem myslela na všechna ta místa, kde jsme během těchto dnů byli. Byla jsem opravdu šťastná, že jsem mohla vidět místa, kde jsou tito hrdinové pochováni. Brečela jsem. Bylo to smutné, ale zároveň jsem cítila pocit štěstí, že jsem tam mohla být.

Unknown to her, we had secretly planned an extension to the original itinerary – we were going to England to visit Brookwood, Runnymede and also the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent. Barbora was overjoyed to hear this news.

Překvapením pro Báru bylo, že byl tajně naplánovaný ještě dodatečný výlet – jeli jsme se podívat do Anglie, kde jsme navštívili Brookwood, Runnymede a také Battle of Britain Memorial v Capel-le-Ferne, Kent.

Our first stop in England was to Brookwood, the location of the well known Czechoslovak Memorial, the graves of 49 Czechoslovak RAF airmen who died in WW2, the graves of 98 graves of Czechoslovak RAF airmen and soldiers who had escaped from Czechoslovakia after the Communist take-over in February 1948, as well as the grave of the only Czechoslav woman, Edita SEDLÁKOVÁ, to have died in RAF service. A wreath was laid at the Memorial.

Naše první zastávka vedla do Brookwoodu, kde je pochováno 49 československých letců, kteří padli během 2. světové války. Dále jsou tam hroby Čechoslováků, kteří odešli do exilu po komunistickém převratu v únoru 1948. Je zde i hrob Edity Sedlákové, která zemřela ve službách RAF.

Next stop was Runnymede, where the names of 20,547 airmen who have no known graves are inscribed on the cloister walls – 149 of these being Czechoslovak.

Další zastávka byla v Runnymede, kde jsou uvedena jména 20,547 letců, kteří nemají svůj hrob – z toho 149 jmen patří Čechoslovákům.

Cloisters at Runnymede with the names of the airmen.

The final stop in our brief visit to England, was to Capel-le-Ferne, near Dover, to the Memorial to the Allied Battle of Britain pilots is located on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. Eighty-eight of these pilots were Czechoslovak and their names are inscribed amongst the 2937 pilots on the memorial wall there. This was a particularly decorative as the recent annual ceremony had recently been held there and so there were many wreaths and flower bouquets from that ceremony still in place.

Poslední zastávka naší krátké návštěvy Anglie byla v Capel-le-Ferne, blízko Doveru. Navštívili jsme zde Battle of Britain Memorial který je umístěný nad Doverskými útesy. Je zde uvedeno 2937 jmen letců, z nichž 88 patří Čechoslovákům.

Memorial wall with the names of the Allied Battle of Britain pilots.


310 Sqn and 312 Sqn badges on the base of the memorial.

So finally we had reached the end of our journey and it was time to return to Hradec Králové, but as we were embarking onto our ship at Dover, we had an unexpected surprise; – a Spitfire flew over the harbour and performed a Victory Roll, a very fitting conclusion to this pilgrimage journey!

Konečně jsme tedy dosáhli konce naší cesty a nastal tak čas vrátit se zpátky do Hradce Králové, ale při naloďování v Doveru na nás ještě čekalo překvapení – Spitfire proletěl nad přístavem a provedl ,,Victory roll“ byl to opravdu povedený závěr naší cesty!

Bára’s final wreath was laid whilst we on board the ship taking us back to Calais, it was cast into the English Channel in memory of the many Czechoslovak RAF pilots whose had lost their lives when their aircraft had been shot down into it’s waters.

Poslední věneček byl vhozen do vln kanálu La Manche k uctění pátky těch, kteří v jeho vlnách našli místo posledního odpočinku.

Barbora’s comment: It was the most beautiful holiday for me, because my dream had come true. I was really satisfied, that I could see places, where our airmen, who fought during WWII in Western Europe, are buried. It was really an emotional experience. It was like small thanks for their big feats. I believe this wasn’t my last trip to places like this for this summer.

Barbora: Pro mě to byly ty nejkrásnější prázdniny, protože se mi tím splnil sen. Byla jsem opravdu šťastná, že jsem mohla vidět místa, kde jsou pochováni naši letci, kteří bojovali v západní Evropě. Byl to opravdu dojemný zážitek. Bylo to takové malé poděkování za jejich velké činy. Je to zároveň i výzva pro plánování podobného výletu v příštím roce.

© Andrej Cepko





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Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | 9 Comments

Winged Lion – 17:00 14. 8. 17.



V pondělí 14. srpna 2017 se od 17:00 hodin uskuteční na pražském Klárově u Památníku Okřídleného lva, který je věnován čsl. letcům RAF, pietní vzpomínka u příležitosti 72. výročí návratu čsl. letců z Velké Británie do vlasti. Ten se jak, známo, uskutečnil až ve dnech 13. – 15. srpna 1945.

At 5 pm 14 August, a memorial event will be held at the Winged Lion Memorial at Klárov, Prague, to commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of the return of the Czechoslovak RAF airmen from Great Britain to their homeland. This homecoming took place 13 -15 August 1945.

Vzpomínkové setkání tradičně pořádá ve spolupráci s Městskou částí Praha 1 Nadační fond – Evropské vzdělávací centrum armádního generála Karla Janouška.

This Memorial Meeting is traditionally organised in cooperation with the Prague 1 District Council and the Endowment Fund – the European Training Center for Army General Karel Janoušek.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Anniversary, Events, Forthcoming Events | 1 Comment

Medals awarded to Czechoslovak airmen from other Nations


In addition to Czechoslovak and British medals being awarded to Czechoslovak RAF airmen during WW2, some were also awarded from other nations as well. Usually these were from Poland and France in whose Air Forces the airmen had fought prior to arriving in Britain to join the RAF.

This article gives some pertinent details of those medals, fuller details of each medal regarding and WW2 and post-WW2 usage can be found on wilkepedia or other resources.

Within each national group medals are listed in descending order.

Medals are worn on the left side of the recipients chest. The most important medal, or senior medal, is worn on the right of the group. If a number of medals are worn they are often overlapped or mounted on a backing piece, this is known as court-mounted. Gallantry medals, awarded for bravery, are given greater importance over campaign medals.

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France

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Orders:

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Chevalier, obverse

Légion d’honneur
Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur)

Award Criteria :

The “eminent merits” required to be awarded the order require the flawless performance of one’s trade as well as doing more than ordinarily expected, such as being creative, zealous and contributing to the growth and well-being of others.

While membership in the Légion is technically restricted to French nationals, foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may receive the honour. Foreign nationals who live in France are subject to the same requirements as the French. Foreign nationals who live abroad may be awarded a distinction of any rank or dignity in the Légion. Foreign heads of state and the wives or consorts of monarchs are made Grand Cross as a courtesy.

The military distinctions (Légion d’honneur à titre militaire) are awarded for bravery (actions de guerre) or for service :

– award for extreme bravery: the Légion d’Honneur is awarded jointly with a mention in dispatches. This is the top valour award in France. It is rarely awarded, mainly to soldiers who have died in battle.

– award for service: the Légion is awarded without any citation.

Description :

Obverse: The badge of the Légion is a five-armed Maltese Asterisk (Cross) in gilt or silver and different sizes (depending on rank) enamelled white, with an enamelled laurel and oak wreath between the arms. The decoration, called a “jewel” has five arms to distinguish it from a religious award. In the center, is the head of the Republic encircled by a deep blue band, with the inscription ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE’.

Reverse: Central disc is two tricolor flags surrounded by the Légion’s motto Honneur et Patrie (Honour and Fatherland).

Since its ordinance of 26 March, 1816, the denominations have not changed, and there are at present five ranks at two levels:

Dignities:

Grand-Croix Breast Star

Grand-Croix (Grand Cross) formerly Grande Décoration, Grand Aigle or Grand Cordon: the highest level; Star affixed to a 10cm wide red ribbon of moiré, in a sash passing over the right shoulder, and at the bottom of which is attached a cross similar to that of the Commanders, but 70 mm in diameter. In addition, they carry on the left breast a gold plaque similar in style to the Grand Officers.





Grand Officier Breast Star

Grand Officier (Grand Officer): A silver star plaque with five diamond-colored double diamond-shaped stars, 90 mm in diameter worn on the right breast. The Cross of Officier is displayed on the left breast suspended by a red moiré ribbon with a rosette.






Ranks:

Commandeur, obverse.

Commandeur (Commander): The 60mm diameter enamelled white star is gold and is worn in a saltire, tied by a 40mm wide red moiré ribbon.













Officier, obverse,
rear same as Chevalier.

Officier (Officer): The 40mm diameter enamelled white star is gold and is worn on the left breast suspended by a red moiré ribbon with a rosette.























Chevalier, reverse.



Chevalier (Knight): The 40mm diameter enamelled white star is silver and is worn on the left breast suspended by a 37mm wide red moiré ribbon.












Ribbon :

The ribbon for the medal is red with a moiré pattern, 37mm wide for Chevalier class, 37mm with rosette for Officier and Grand Officier classes, 40mm wide for Commandeur class and 10cm wide sash for Grand-Croix class.

Clasp :

To designate Grand-Croix, Grand Officier, Commandeur Officier and Chevalier class of the award

History :

The Légion d’Honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, in the aftermath of the French Revolution when all titles of nobility and all orders were abolished. The intention of the new award was that it would be a sign of virtue, of honor, of heroism; and could be awarded for both military bravery and civil merit to any citizens regardless of their social standing.

The success and prestige of the new Order were such that the political events which followed the fall of Napoleon I had no influence on its destiny, and that the various regimes which succeeded him solemnly continued with this Order.

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Gallantry Medals:

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Obverse

Médaille militaire

Award Criteria :

The Médaille militaire can be awarded for different reasons including being awarded to foreign nationals serving with or alongside the French armed forces. It is awarded by the President of the Republic on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence.

To members of the military other than commissioned officers (including enlisted ranks, non-commissioned officers and aspirants or Officer Designate).

As an award for valour, it is the second highest award ranking immediately after the Légion d’honneur.

As an in-between medal for enlisted members, NCO and O(D) awarded the Légion d’honneur for “combat actions”, nowadays mostly done posthumously.

As a service medal, for long-serving NCOs.

To Generals and Admirals who have been Commanders-in-Chief, as a supreme award for leadership. These general officers must already have been awarded the grand cross of the Légion d’honneur.

Rear

Description :

The Médaille militaire is a silver laurel wreath, 28mm in diameter, wrapped around a central gold medallion bearing the left profile of Marianne, effigy of the French Republic, the original 2nd Empire variant bore the left profile of Emperor Napoleon III. The central gold medallion is surrounded by a blue enamelled ring bearing the gilt inscription “RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE” with a small gilt five-pointed star at the bottom for a 4th Republic award, three stars for a 5th Republic variant, the 3rd Republic variant bore the date 1870, the 2nd Empire variant bore the gilt inscription “LOUIS-NAPOLEON” in lieu of “RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE” and had flowers on both sides of the small star at the bottom.

The original variant was topped by a silver imperial eagle with a loop through which the suspension ring passed, all other variants were and are topped by a device composed of a breastplate superimposed over crossed cannons, a naval anchor, sabres, swords and battle axes, to which the suspension ring passes through a loop for attachment to a ribbon. The reverse of the medallion is common to all variants since inception of the award, it bears the relief inscription on three lines “VALEUR ET DISPLINE” and is surrounded by a blue enamelled ring.

Ribbon :

The ribbon is 37mm wide, yellow in color with 6mm wide green stripes on each edge. This ribbon was borrowed from the Order of the Iron Crown which it effectively replaced in France.

Clasp :

None.

History :

The Médaille militaire is a military decoration of the French Republic for other ranks for meritorious service and acts of bravery in action against an enemy force. It is the third highest award of the French Republic, after the Légion d’honneur, a civil and military order, and the ordre de la Libération, a second world war-only order. The Médaille militaire is therefore the most senior entirely military active French decoration.

The award was first established in 22 January 1852 by the first President of the French Republic, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte who may have taken his inspiration from a medal established and awarded by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland.

There have been successively nine main types and some specialists point to more than 30 variants as a result of differences in manufacture.

After the First World War, the Military Medal was also temporarily awarded for wounds received in combat.

It is sometimes called Médaille de la Bravoure Medal of the brave or under the 2nd Empire le Bijou de l’Armée.

Czechoslovak pilots who were awarded this medal during the Battle of France were Václav Cukr 7.6.40., Václav Jícha 3.8.40. and Vladimír Vašek 5.1.40.

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Croix de Guerre 1939-1945

Obverse

Award Criteria :

The Croix de Guerre (French: “War Cross”) created in 1915 and 1939 to reward feats of bravery, either by individuals or groups, in the course of the two World Wars. It may be conferred on any member of the armed forces, on French citizens and foreigners who have been mentioned in army dispatches – meaning a heroic deed or deeds were performed meriting a citation from an individual’s headquarters unit.

In can be awarded to military units, The unit award, usually a regiment or a battalion, of the Croix de guerre with palm was issued to military units whose members performed heroic deeds in combat and were subsequently recognized by headquarters, The unit award of the Croix de guerre with palm was issued to military units whose members performed heroic deeds in combat and were subsequently recognized by headquarters.

When a unit is mentioned twice, it is awarded the fourragère of the Croix de guerre with green with red stripes. This fourragère is worn by all men in the unit, but it can be worn on a personal basis: those permanently assigned to a unit, at the time of the mentions, were
entitled to wear the fourragère for the remainder of service in the military.

Temporary personnel, or those who had joined a unit after the
actions which had been mentioned, were authorised to wear the
award while a member of the unit but would surrender the
decoration upon transfer.

Other communities, such as cities or companies can be also
awarded the Croix.

Reverse

Description :


The Croix design is 37 mm in size and is in the shape of a Maltese cross with two swords criss-crossed through the center. In the center of the front, is the female head of the French Republic crested by a Phrygian cap.

Around this portrait, are the words République française (“French Republic”).

The reverse side bears the year 1939 although many crosses bear alternative dates depending on where and when the were manufactured.








Ribbon :

Red background crossed with four green lines in its center.


Clasp :

On every Croix de guerre, there is at least one clasp, either in the shape of a palm or of a star, and fashioned from either bronze, silver or gilded silver. The lowest degree is represented by a bronze star while the highest degree is represented by a bronze palm, the relative importance of the six possible combinations is detailed below. The total number of clasps on a Croix de guerre is not limited and are a visible testimonial as to the recipient being Mentioned in Dispatches.

Bronze star – étoile en bronze,

Mentioned in Dispatches at regiment or brigade level.


Silver star – étoile en argent,


Mentioned in Despatches division level.

Silver-gilt star – étoile en vermeil,


Mentioned in Dispatches at division level ?????.

Bronze palm – palme en bronze,


Mentioned in Dispatches at army level.

Silver palm – palme en argent,


represents five bronze ones



Silver-gilt palm – palme en vermeil,


Mentioned in Dispatches serving in the Free French Forces.


Croix de guerre fourragère.

Unit award :




For a unit decoration of the Croix de guerre, a fourragère (which takes the form of a braided cord) is awarded; this is suspended from the shoulder of an individual’s uniform.












History :

Probably the best known French decoration, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, being France’s fifth highest award. The Croix was created by a law of April 2, 1915, proposed by French deputy Émile Briant. The Croix reinstated an older system of mentions in dispatches, which were only administrative honours with no medal. The original Croix de guerre 1914–1918 medal was designed by the sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé in 1915. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in later conflicts.

The Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (War Cross 1939–1945) is a version of the Croix de guerre was instigated by France’s President Édouard Daladier on 26 September 1939, to honour people who fought with the Allies against the Axis forces at any time during World War II.

During World War II there was a proliferation of different conflicting medals. Marshal Philippe Pétain of the Vichy government issued a Croix de Guerre in 1941 and General Henri Giraud of the Free French Forces in North Africa issued a Croix in 1943. For his part, on 30 September 1942, General de Gaulle created a summons to the order of the French Free Forces, materialized by a vermeil palm. By the order of 7 January 1944 by the French National Committee of Liberation, forbade the wearing of the cross instituted under Vichy and the cross of September 26, 1939 was declared to be the only one valid for World War II.

Numerous Czechoslovak pilots received this award with various distinctions when they were flying with l’Armee d’Air during the Battle of France.

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Obverse

1939–1945 Commemorative war medal

Award Criteria :

The 1939–1945 Commemorative war medal was awarded to all soldiers serving under French authority or under a French government in a state of war against the Axis nations, or present on board a warship or armed merchant vessel under these same authorities and/or governments; to French citizens, whether military or civilian, who fought against the Axis forces or their representatives; to foreign military who served as Frenchmen in formations at war against the Axis forces.









Rear

Description :

The 1939–1945 Commemorative war medal was hexagonal and struck from bronze. It was 28mm at its widest and 38mm high excluding the suspension loop.

The obverse bore the relief image of a rooster superimposed in front of a Cross of Lorraine, its wings spread out and standing on a broken chain. The reverse bore the relief semi circular inscription “RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE” over a sprig of laurel leaves and the inscription on three lines “GUERRE” “1939” “1945”.











Ribbon :

The medal hung from a ribbon passing through the medal’s suspension loop. This silk moiré ribbon was 36mm wide and light blue
with 3mm green stripes bordered in 1mm red at its edges, at its
center, a vertical series of red “V” letters denoting “Victory”.

Clasp :

None.

History :

The medal was created on 21 May 1946 and awarded to military who participated between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 in the war against the Axis powers. The medal may receive any of 22 bars. On 2 August 1949, the award was extended to wartime members of the Défense Passive (Civil Defence) and this bar added to those already extant.

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Poland

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Valour:

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Krzyż Wielki

Order of Virtuti Militari
Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari

Award Criteria :

The War Order of Virtuti Militari (Latin: “For Military Virtue” is Poland’s highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war.

Krzyż Wielki Gwiazdą – Grand Cross Star.


The order has the following classes either for personal heroism or, to Commanders, for leadership:

I Class – Krzyż Wielki z Gwiazdą (Grand Cross with Star)
could be awarded to a Commander-in-Chief for victory in war or decisive battle;








Front: Krzyż Komandorski – Commander’s Cross





II Class – Krzyż Komandorski – Commander’s Cross
to an army commander for victoriously conducted war operations;
















III Class – Krzyż Kawalerski – Knight’s Cross
for Brigadiers, Colonels and Majors for distinguished commanding or war achievement;

Obverse: Krzyż Kawalerski.

Reverse : Krzyż Kawalerski
























Obverse : Krzyż Złoty








IV Class – Krzyż Złoty – Gold Cross
any soldier awarded earlier with the Silver Cross.


















V Class – Krzyż Srebrny – Silver Cross

Obverse Krzyż Srebrny class.

Rear Krzyż Srebrny class.

























The four upper classes of the order are sparingly awarded.

It is conferred on soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces, irrespective of their rank, solely for deeds of exceptional bravery and valor at the risk of their lives before an armed enemy, above and beyond the call of duty. It can also be conferred on allied soldiers, civilians, military units, cities and other communities.

Description :

Badge of the three upper classes: black enameled gold Leopold cross with ball finials and the motto on the arms: VIR (left), TUTI (right), MILI (upper), TARI (lower) (for military virtue).

The two upper classes are surmounted by a gilt royal crown.

Medallion: gilt with a white crowned eagle with regalia, surrounded by a green laurel wreath.

Reverse: gilt without enamel; the medallion bears the other motto – HONOR / I / OJCZYZNA (honor and country), and the year of institution, 1792.

Gold cross: slightly smaller than the knight cross, with gilt, black outlined arms and the motto in black; medallion as above.

Silver cross: identical, with the arms silver instead of gilt.

Ribbon :

Garter blue with broad black side stripes (Grand Cross – 110mm, Commander – 49mm, other – 35mm).








Clasp :

None.




History :

The order was originally created on 22 June 1792 by King Stanisław II August to commemorate the victorious Battle of Zieleńce and is one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use. Initially, it comprised two classes: a golden medal for generals and officers, and a silver one for non-commissioned officers and ordinary soldiers. By August 1792, a statute for the decoration had been drafted, which was based on one that was created for the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa. The regulation changed the shape of the decoration from a medal to a black enamel cross, which has not changed substantially since then. Suppressed 1793 after the partition of Poland, revived 1807 in five classes.

Conferred also during the uprising of 1830 and suppressed again by the Russians after its defeat. The first decoration in independent Poland, renewed on August 1, 1919 (its official name Military Order Virtuti Militari was altered to War Order Virtuti Militari in 1933). It is the best known and most coveted of all Polish decorations, equivalent to the British Victoria Cross or the American Medal of Honor.

World War II

During the Polish Defensive War of 1939, the fast German and Soviet advance (Polish territory was overrun by its enemies in five weeks from the beginning of the invasion) prevented the Chapter from awarding the medals. Instead, commanders of divisions and brigades usually rewarded the bravery of their soldiers with their own crosses received before the war. This was the case of the 18th Pomeranian Uhlan Regiment, awarded the Virtuti Militari of General Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki after the battle of Krojanty, where elements of the regiment successfully delayed the advance of the German infantry on September 1, the first day of the Second World War.

Following the fall of Poland in 1939, much of the Polish Army was evacuated to France, where it was reconstructed under the command of General Władysław Sikorski. In January 1941, the Polish Government in Exile introduced the Virtuti Militari as the highest military decoration of the Polish Army in exile. The legal basis for the election of a new Chapter was the Act of 1933. During the Second World War, the Virtuti Militari was also often bestowed to senior military officers of allied armies, including British General Bernard Montgomery; the American Supreme Commander of the Allied forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower; French General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny; Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov; and Serbian guerrilla leader Draža Mihailović.

The Order Virtuti Militari, bestowed during World War II by the Polish Armed Forces (including resistance movement) was recognized and continued to award also by Communist authorities. With the Act of 16 October 1992 on Polish Orders and Decorations it is the most senior decoration for war bravery.

Josef František was awarded this medal when he flew with 303 (Polish) Sqn during the Battle of Britain.

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Obverse

Krzyż Walecznych

Award Criteria :

The Krzyż Walecznych (Cross of Valour) was a wartime decoration to was awarded to recognise deeds of valor and courage on the field of battle.













Rear

Description :

The Krzyż Walecznych is a cross bracelet made of bronze, measuring 42.7mm × 42.7mm (Tombak and Spink & Son produced 1943-1946, other size variations are 42.7mm × 42.7mm as produced in pre-war up to 1940 by Bertand and also Knedler, and later in Moscow 1943-1944, 42.6mm x 42.6mm).

Obverse : on the shoulders of the cross is the inscription NA – POLU – CHWAŁY – 1920 (“ON THE FIELD OF GLORY”). At the center of the cross is placed a pentagonal shield with the image of a state eagle.

Reverse : in the middle of the shield is a wreath of laurel leaves, through which the bisected sword is directed vertically upward. On the shoulders inscription WALE – CZNYM (“TO THE VALIANT”), and the date “1920” or “1944,” depending on date of institution.





Ribbon :

A 37mm wide ribbon with 2 white stripes on the sides, located 1 mm from the edge.



















Clasp :

Denotes subsequent awards. Each successive award was displayed on the ribbon by 7mm wide bronze clasps decorated with embossed oak leaves. For a second award one clasp; the third, two clasps; the fourth, 3 clasps.

History :

Polish-Soviet War

The medal was introduced in 1920 at the height of the Polish-Soviet War, shortly before the climactic Battle of Warsaw. Initially it had no Order Council and was awarded personally by the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army. Later the option was added of delegating the awarding of the medal’s to front and division Commanders.

Through 29 May 1923, when the last medal for the Polish-Soviet War was awarded, the Cross of Valor had been granted to some 60,000 soldiers.

The interwar versions have “1920” on the obverse and are numbered on the reverse.

Apart from individuals who had participated in the Polish-Soviet War, the medal had also been awarded retroactively to some soldiers of the Polish Legions, of World War I military units, of the Silesian Uprisings, of the Great Poland Uprising, and to members of the Polish Military Organization. It had been awarded, as well, to veterans of the January 1863 Uprising and to the city of Płock.

World War II

In January 1940 the Polish Commander-in-Chief, Władysław Sikorski, issued an order reintroducing the Cross of Valor. On 20 September, the President of Poland agreed to award the medal to eligible individuals who had already been awarded it four times during the Polish-Soviet War.

People’s Republic of Poland

In 1943, after the Battle of Lenino, General Zygmunt Berling, commander of the Soviet-backed Polish 1st Corps, awarded the Cross of Valor to several soldiers. The medal itself was approved as a military decoration by order of the Home National Council on 22 December 1944. Until 1947, some 40,000 of the medals had been awarded to Polish soldiers fighting alongside the Red Army.

In 1940, the Polish Government in Exile – London, reintroduced the award, for members of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, initially the medals were made in France by the French Company Arthus Bertrand, after the capitulation of France, medals were produced by Spinks in London. In 1944, the Communist government put in place by the Red Army in Poland also started awarding the Cross of Valor; these versions are dated “1944” on the obverse.

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Soviet Union

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Campaign:

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Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
медаль «За победу над Германией в Великой Отечественной войне 1941—1945

Obverse

Award Criteria :

The Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945” was awarded to all military and civilian personnel of the Red Army, of the Navy and of the troops of the NKVD who were directly involved on the different fronts of World War II and ensured victory through their work in the various military districts; to all military and civilian personnel who served during the Great Patriotic War in the ranks of the Red Army, of the Navy or of the troops of the NKVD, but who were released from military service due to injury or illness, as well as those transferred by decision of the state or Party organizations to tasks outside of the armed forces.

Award of the medal was made on behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the basis of documents attesting to actual participation in the Great Patriotic War issued by unit commanders, the chiefs of military medical establishments or the executive committees of regional or city Soviets. Serving military personnel received the medal from their unit commander, retirees from military service received the medal from a regional, municipal
or district military commissioner in the recipient’s community.

Rear

Description :

The Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945” was a 32mm in diameter circular brass medal with a raised rim on both sides. .

On its obverse, the left profile bust of Joseph Stalin in the uniform of a Marshal of the Soviet Union, along the upper circumference of the medal, the relief inscription НАШЕ ДЕЛО ПРАВОЕ (Translation: “OUR CAUSE IS RIGHT”), along the lower circumference of the medal, the relief inscription МЫ ПОБЕДИЛИ (Translation: VICTORY IS OURS).

On the reverse, at the bottom, a small five pointed star, along the medal circumference, the relief inscription «ЗА ПОБЕДУ НАД ГЕРМАНИЕЙ» (translation: “FOR VICTORY OVER GERMANY”), in the center, the relief inscription on three rows «В ВЕЛИКОЙ ОТЕЧЕСТВЕННОЙ ВОЙНЕ 1941—1945 ГГ.» (translation : IN THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR OF 1941–45).

Ribbon :

The Medal is secured by a ring through the medal suspension loop to a standard Soviet pentagonal mount covered by a 24mm wide silk moiré Ribbon of St. George.

Clasp :

None.

History :

The Medal “For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945” (Russian: медаль «За победу над Германией в Великой Отечественной войне 1941—1945 гг.») was a military decoration of the Soviet Union established on May 9, 1945, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to denote military participation in the victory of the Soviet armed forces over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War.

For his service on the Eastern Front, František Fajtl was one of the Czechoslovak RAF pilots who received this award.

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Romania :

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Royal Order of the Crown of Romania
Ordinul Coroana României

Obverse – Officers Military Class.

Award Criteria :

Awarded to officers for special deeds and exceptional services on the battlefield (with Military Virtue ribbon) or for ordinary deeds and special services on the battlefield. By WW2 it was the third Romanian military order in importance.

It could also be awarded to foreigners.

Description :

The order had five classes; Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight.

Obverse: The religious character of the model of 1881 is a red-enamelled, eight-pointed Maltese Cross with wider margin of gold and white. In the angles of the cross were “C”s, the initials of the founder. The medallion in the middle of the cross shows a royal crown on dark red background. The medallion is surrounded by a white-frost edge surrounded the inscription PRIN NOI INSINE (by ourselves) and the order’s foundation date of 14 March 1881.



Reverse – – Officers Military Class

Reverse: Is written 10.Maiu, the day of the statute, as well as the years 1866 (referendum), 1877 (complete Romanian independence), 1881 (proclamation of Carol as King of Romania)

In 1938 the war badges of the order were introduced that had two crossed swords placed between the arms of the cross.

The order was suspended by a crown for military merit.

Officer

Bronze gilt with red and white enamels, 37.5mm x 60mm inclusive of its crown suspension








Obverse – Knights Military Class.

Knight

Silver with red and white enamels, bronze gilt cypher of Carol I on the obverse, 37.5mm x 57mm



















Reverse – Knights Military Class.























Grand Cross members wore the decoration on a sash from the right shoulder to left waist, Grand Officers and Commanders around the neck and Knights and Officers on the left breast. For the two highest classes of the order an eight-pointed silver star was also worn on the left breast, Grand Cross members wearing it as an order-insignia and Grand Officers as a medallion, surrounded by 4 royal crowns since 1932.

Ribbon :

For bravery in the face of the enemy, the order was awarded with the ribbon of the Military Virtue Medal (red with blue stripes on the edges).

The Officers Class of this ribbon had a large rosette on ribbon, while the Knights Class ribbon was without

For the civilian Order of the award, the The Order’s sash or ribbon is light blue with two silver stripes.

Clasp :

None.

History :

The Order of the Crown (of Romania) is a chivalric order set up on 14 March 1881 by King Carol I of Romania to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Romania. It was awarded as a state order until the end of the Romanian monarchy in 1947. It was revived on 30 December 2011 as a dynastic order.

The design of this award was altered 1932 when the original centerpiece (the crown) was placed between the arms of the cross and the monogram was made the centerpiece.

During WWII only the second type badges were awarded: a red Maltese cross with white edges having crowns between the arms and a red medallion on the centre with the monogram of King Carol I. The medallion was surrounded by a white ribbon with the motto Prin Noi Inşine above the date 14 Martie 1881. On the reverse was written 10.Maiu in the center and 1866 * 1877 * 1881 on the white ribbon. The badge was surmounted by a crown for military merits.

František Fajtl and Jan Ambruš were receipients of this award.

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Yugoslavia :

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Order of the Partisan Star
Orden partizanske zvezde

Orden partizanske zvezde, grade I.

Award Criteria :

Awarded for outstanding bravery to the Partisans led by Tito fighting occupying German forces to Partisan military leaders for successful commanding of military units and to Partisans for bravery displayed by in battle.

Grade I order was awarded for Partisan commanders for skill and outstanding achievements during that conflict,

Grade II order awarded to Partisans for bravery and the achievements,

Grade II order awarded to Partisans for courage and sacrifice in the struggle.

Description :

A red enamel simple five pointed star 75mm diameter, . Decoration was attached directly to a battle dress on the left breast side.

Grade I : Red star mounted onto a background wreath, both the star edging and background wreath are gold.

Orden partizanske zvezde, grade II.



Grade II : Red star mounted onto a background wreath, both the star edging and background wreath are silver.







Orden partizanske zvezde, grade III.



Grade III : Red star mounted onto a two crossed rifles background both the star edging and background are silver.









Ribbon :

Red, either plain or with two or four vertical yellow stripes
depending on grade.

Clasp :

None.




History :

Established on 15 August 1943 by decree of the Supreme Commander of the Yugoslav Partisans of Josip Broz Tito as a decorations of the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia.

The design for the Order of the Partisan Star, as well as all first partisan distinctions, was by artist Djordje Andrejevic while model sample made by sculptor Antun Augustinčić.

First Orders partisan stars, along with other decorations first new Yugoslavia, were minted in Moscow and imported from the Soviet Union. Post WW2 medals were manufactured in “the Industrial Mint Oreskovic Marko” (ICOM) in Zagreb.

Karel Janoušek was awarded Grade III of this medal and Jan Kostohryz a Grade II with František Fajtl a Grade III.

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Order of National Merit
Orden Zasluge za Narod

Grade I

Award Criteria :

Awarded to those who distinguished themselves in the struggle for liberation and for merit in securing and organising the Yugoslav government and army. A decree of 1955 extended its award for achievement in the economic, cultural and social spheres.









Grade II

Description :

Obverse: circular silver and silver-gilt rayed order, 41.38mm diameter; the face with a five-pointed silver-gilt petokrakoj star with long and short doubly bifurcated radiant rays between the arms, the embossed, full length, silver figure of a soldier centrally, a rifle over his right shoulder, a standard in his left hand.

Class I.

The medal surface is of gilded silver with the soldier in matt silver.

Class II.

The medal surface is of gilded silver with the soldier also in gilded silver.

Grade III

Class III.

The medal surface is of matt silver with the soldier in matt silver.

The Order is worn without straps.

Reverse: marked with the grade of the award and the maker’s mark. a silver hallmark and award number.




Ribbon :

None

Clasp :

None

History :

The Order of National Merit was instituted on 12 June 1945 in three classes by the A.V.N.O.J. (Antifašističko Vijeće Narodnog Oslobođenja Jugoslavije = Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia), de facto government of Yugoslavia at the end of World War II.

The first examples of the Order were produced by ZIN-KOVNICA of Belgrade with screwback, then by IKOM of Zagreb with screwback.

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USA :

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Legion of Merit

Chief Commander Class.

Award Criteria :

The degrees of Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire are awarded only to members of armed forces of foreign nations under the criteria outlined in Army Regulation 672-7 and is based on the relative rank or position of the recipient as follows:

Chief Commander: Head of state or government. However, this degree was awarded by President Roosevelt to some Allied World War II theater commanders, usually for joint amphibious landings or invasions. (The President had this power under Executive Order 9260 of October 29, 1942, paragraph 3b.)

Commander: Equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff or higher position, but not to a Head of State.

Officer: General or flag officer below the equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff; colonel or equivalent rank (e.g., Navy or Coast Guard captain) for service in assignments equivalent to those normally held by a general or flag officer in U.S. military service; or military attachés.

Legionnaire: All recipients not included above.

Commander Class.

When the Legion of Merit is awarded to members of the Uniformed Services of the United States, it is awarded without reference to degree. The criteria are “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements” and is typically reserved for senior officers at O-6 level and above, typically in connection with senior leadership/command positions or other senior positions of significant responsibility.

The performance must have been such as to merit recognition of key individuals for service rendered in a clearly exceptional manner.

Performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty, or assignment, and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award.

For service not related to actual war, the term “key individual” applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement.

In peacetime, service should be in the nature of a special requirement or of an extremely difficult duty performed in an unprecedented and clearly exceptional manner.

However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of important positions.

The degrees and the design of the decoration were influenced by the French Legion of Honour (Légion d’honneur).

Obverse Officer class

Description :

Chief Commander:

Obverse: Is 74.6mm in width. It is an arched White enameled five-armed cross with ten points, reversed with v-shaped extremities, each tipped with a Gold ball, surrounded by Crimson on a Green laurel wreath connecting at the bottom with a Gold bow-know (rosette). A Blue circle surrounded by Gold clouds is in the middle with 13 White stars set in the pattern that is on the United States Coat of Arms.

Reverse: medal bears the inscription “United States of America” in the center. The service ribbon is worn with a bar holding a miniature of the award in Gold.

Commander:

Obverse: is 57mm in width. It is a White star of five reversed points, each tipped with a Gold ball, surrounded by Crimson on a Green laurel wreath connecting at the bottom with a Gold bow-know (rosette). A Blue circle surrounded by Gold clouds is in the middle with 13 White stars set in the pattern that is on the United States Coat of Arms. Arrows, crossed and pointing outwards are contained in the wreath flanked by each star point. At the top in a v-shaped angle, is a Gold laurel wreath joined to an oval ring to the 49.2mm wide neck ribbon.

Reverse Officer class

Reverse side of the star is enameled in White, with a Crimson border. Space is available for the recipient’s name on a circle bordered by the raised inscription words “Annuit Coeptis MDCCLXXXII.” (He [God] Has Favored Our Undertaking) come from the Great Seal of the United States and the date, “MDCCLXXXII” (1782) refers to the year General Washington established the Badge of Military Merit. The words “United States of America” are on an outer scroll. The only difference between the ribbon for this and the Chief Commander is that the attachment is Silver.

Officer:

The Officer from the degree of Commander only in that the width is 47.6mm and the pendant is attached to the ribbon by a suspension ring. A 19mm inch wide duplication of the medal is centered on the suspension ribbon.



Obverse Legionnaire class

Legionnaire:

The Legionnaire award varies only from the degree of Officer in that the medal duplication is not on the suspension ribbon.














Ribbon :

The ribbon is a purple-red called American Beauty Red which is edged in white. The color is a variation of the original color of the Badge of Military Merit.















Clasp :

Any further awarded Order of Merit came in the form of an Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, a miniature bronze twig of four oak leaves with three acorns on the stem that could be worn on the ribbon to denote the recipient having received more than one bestowal of this decoration.

A silver oak leaf cluster is worn instead of five bronze oak leaf clusters.


History :

The Legion of Merit Medal was Authorized by Congress on July 20, 1942 to award to members of the Armed Forces of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service.

Superior performance of normal duties will not alone justify award of this decoration. This military medal is not awarded for heroism, but rather service and achievement while performing duties in a key position of responsibility.

It may be presented to foreign personnel, but is not authorized for presentation to civilian personnel. There are four degrees of this decoration that are awarded to foreign personnel only (Chief Commander, Commander, Officer and Legionnaire). The first two degrees are comparable in rank to the Distinguished Service Medal and are usually awarded to heads of state and to commanders of armed forces, respectively. The last two degrees are comparable in rank to the award of the Legion of Merit Medal to U.S. service members.

The Legion of Merit was designed by Colonel Robert Townsend Heard and sculpted by Katharine W. Lane of Boston.

AVM Karel Janoušek was a recipient of this award.

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Air Medal

Obverse

Award Criteria :

Is awarded by the United States Department of Defence for meritorious achievement during aerial flight.

During World War II the medal’s award criteria varied widely depending on the theater of operations, the aircraft flown, and the missions accomplished.

In Europe the airspace was considered completely controlled by the enemy and heavy air defenses were encountered – so the criteria was altered from than that of the original medal. Bomber, photographic reconnaissance, or observation crewmembers and air transport pilots received it for five sorties, fighter pilots received it for ten sorties, and individual pilots or aircrewmen received one award per enemy aircraft shot down.

Elsewhere in the Pacific and CBI the pilots and crews flew mostly over uncontrolled or contested airspace for long hours and lighter air defenses were encountered, so much higher criteria were used.


Reverse

Description :

The Air Medal resembles a Bronze Compass Rose, 42.86mm diameter with sixteen points and decorated with a Fleur-de-lis at the top point which holds the suspension ring.

On the obverse can be found a downward attacking “American Eagle”, clutching a lightning bolt in each talon.

The reverse shows a blank raised plain central portion disk that can bear the recipient’s name and rank.










Ribbon :

The ribbon is 35mm wide, ultramarine blue with two broad golden orange stripes from top to bottom.

Clasp :

Any further awarded Air Medal came in the form of a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, a miniature bronze twig of four oak leaves with three acorns on the stem that could be worn on the ribbon to denote the recipient having received more than one bestowal of this decoration.

A silver oak leaf cluster is worn instead of five bronze oak leaf clusters.


History :

The Air Medal was instituted on May 11th 1942 by President Roosevelt.

The medal was designed by Walker Hancock, who was ordered to temporary duty to the G1 War Department on Camp Livingston, Louisiana, especially to work on the medal.

On March 9th 1942, the Secretary of War suggested to institute the Air Medal an award to “any person who, while serving in any capacity of the Army of the United States, distinguishes himself by meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight”. Using the Distinguished Flying Cross for this purpose would have degraded that decoration. The original institutional text stated that the decoration was to be awarded to “any person who, while serving in any capacity in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard of the United States subsequent to September 8, 1939, distinguishes, or has distinguished, himself by meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight”. On September 11th 1942 this “Executive Order was slightly changed with the words “in any capacity in or with the Army”.

Bohuslav Tobyška was a recipient of this award.

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