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Pilots of No 310 Squadron RAF pose for an AM photographer upon their formation at RAF Duxford on 10 July 1940. They were the first RAF Fighter Command squadron to be raised and crewed by foreign nationals. Led by S/L George DM Blackwood and using experienced Czechoslovak pilots, the unit was operational in only a month and as part of No 12 Group became involved in the Battle of Britain, claiming a total of 37½ victories.

Czech-Slovak pilots from a Hurricane Fighter Squadron, watching some of their colleagues in flight, January 1940

Czechoslovak Pilots of the RAF. Left to right: Karel Kutlvašer, František Peřina, František Fajtl, Josef František

Czechoslovak Pilots of the RAF. Left to right: Karel Kutlvašer, František Peřina, František Fajtl, Josef František

Príslušníci cs. létajícího personálu 68. squadrony roku 1944 po predání znaku jednotky.  F/O Miroslav Štandera, W/O Karel Bednarík, F/O Václav Horák, F/Sgt. Bedrich Kružík, S/Ldr. Miloslav Mansfeld DFC (commander of A Flight/velitel A flightu), F/O Slavomil Janácek DFM, F/O Vladimír Cupák a F/Lt. Josef Capka DFM. Zdenek Hurt collection. Archiv Zdenka Hurta.

Príslušníci cs. létajícího personálu 68. squadrony roku 1944 po predání znaku jednotky. F/O Miroslav Štandera, W/O Karel Bednarík, F/O Václav Horák, F/Sgt. Bedrich Kružík, S/Ldr. Miloslav Mansfeld DFC (commander of A Flight/velitel A flightu), F/O Slavomil Janácek DFM, F/O Vladimír Cupák a F/Lt. Josef Capka DFM. Zdenek Hurt collection. Archiv Zdenka Hurta.

Czechoslovak pilots 310 Squadron RAF airfield during the Battle of Britain

Czechoslovak pilots Squadron of the British Royal Air Force RAF) on the airfield during the Battle of Britain. In the background is a fighter 'Hurricane' Mk.I (Hawker Hurricane Mk.I) № Sergeant Bohumír Fuerst

Sgt Vojtěch Smolík of No 312 Squadron RAF is helped by a rigger with the harness straps at RAF Speke, before climbing into Hurricane Mk I DU-O on 10 December 1940. The unit's first success came on 8 October, when their pilots destroyed a Ju 88, which crash-landed on Bromborogh Dock, 3 of the bomber's crew being taken prisoners. The victory was recorded as probably the war's fastest, taking around 11 minutes from take-off to landing and was watched by squadron personnel and local residents.

Sgt Vojtěch Smolík of No 312 Squadron RAF is helped by a rigger with the harness straps at RAF Speke, before climbing into Hurricane Mk I DU-O on 10 December 1940. The unit's first success came on 8 October, when their pilots destroyed a Ju 88, which crash-landed on Bromborogh Dock, 3 of the bomber's crew being taken prisoners. The victory was recorded as probably the war's fastest, taking around 11 minutes from take-off to landing and was watched by squadron personnel and local residents.

Joining No 310 Squadron RAF at RAF Duxford on 12 July 1940, Sgt Eduard M Prchal claimed a Do 17 destroyed near North Weald on 26 August, after which he had exhausted his ammunition and was hit at 15,000ft by an Me 109 near Clacton-on-Sea, damaging the glycol tank, port wing and rudder and forcing the Czech to come down near the coast southwest of Hornchurch. Despite being wounded by metal splinters from his seat, he walked over a mined beach to a nearby farmhouse for assistance.

Joining No 310 Squadron RAF at RAF Duxford on 12 July 1940, Sgt Eduard M Prchal claimed a Do 17 destroyed near North Weald on 26 August, after which he had exhausted his ammunition and was hit at 15,000ft by an Me 109 near Clacton-on-Sea, damaging the glycol tank, port wing and rudder and forcing the Czech to come down near the coast southwest of Hornchurch. Despite being wounded by metal splinters from his seat, he walked over a mined beach to a nearby farmhouse for assistance.

The MoD has said that funding St George's Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill is no longer an "appropriate use of defence resources"

Battle of Britain chapel to 'the few' threatened with closure

Battle of Britain - pilots scramble to their planes NOTE very early two bladed wooden propeller Mk 1 Spitfire.

Sgt Josef Stehlík (left) and P/O Alois Vašátko hang up the swastika panel from the tailfin of the Bromborough 88 inside the dispersal hut of No 312 Squadron RAF at RAF Speke, shortly after the Ju 88 was intercepted on 8 October 1940. The souvenir was removed by F/L Denys E "Kill 'em" Gillam, before the bomber was placed on display at the Oval Recreation Ground, helping to collect over £70 for the Mayor of Bebington's Spitfire Fund.

Sgt Josef Stehlík (left) and P/O Alois Vašátko hang up the swastika panel from the tailfin of the Bromborough 88 inside the dispersal hut of No 312 Squadron RAF at RAF Speke, shortly after the Ju 88 was intercepted on 8 October 1940. The souvenir was removed by F/L Denys E "Kill 'em" Gillam, before the bomber was placed on display at the Oval Recreation Ground, helping to collect over £70 for the Mayor of Bebington's Spitfire Fund.

S/L Otmar Kučera (first left) poses for a publicity shot with pilots of No 313 Squadron RAF on the wing of Spitfire HF Mk IXc at RAF North Weald in 1944. The 30-year-old Czech took command of the squadron on 15 November, with 5 and 2 shared destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 1 damaged.

S/L Otmar Kučera (first left) poses for a publicity shot with pilots of No 313 Squadron RAF on the wing of Spitfire HF Mk IXc at RAF North Weald in 1944. The 30-year-old Czech took command of the squadron on 15 November, with 5 and 2 shared destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 1 damaged.

Sgt Miroslav J Mansfeld began operations in Britain with No 111 Squadron RAF at RAF Dyce on 6 October 1940. He shared a He 111 destroyed off Aberdeen, accompanied by F/O Peter J Simpson and Sgt Otmar Kučera on 13 November.

Sgt Miroslav J Mansfeld began operations in Britain with No 111 Squadron RAF at RAF Dyce on 6 October He shared a He 111 destroyed off Aberdeen, accompanied by F/O Peter J Simpson and Sgt Otmar Kučera on 13 November.

Czech pilots of No 310 (Czech) Squadron, based at Duxford, being interrogated by the Intelligence Officer after a sortie.

Czech pilots of No 310 (Czech) Squadron, based at Duxford, being interrogated by the Intelligence Officer after a sortie.

RAF 312 AUGUST 1942 M.A.Liskutiin took heavy fire from Fokker Wulf 190 over France. With a great deal of effort and finding the minimum flight speed of 155kts Sergeant Liskutin managed to Land at Redhill. DFC Awarded.

RAF 312 AUGUST 1942 M.A.Liskutiin took heavy fire from Fokker Wulf 190 over France. With a great deal of effort and finding the minimum flight speed of 155kts Sergeant Liskutin managed to Land at Redhill. DFC Awarded.

Pilots of a famous Czechoslovakian fighter squadron 'scramble' to their waiting hurricanes after receiving an alert, 1940

Pilots of No 312 Squadron RAF mock a scramble after receiving an alert at RAF Duxford in 1940. The Czech fourth in line has been identified as Sgt Jan Truhlář, who was posted in on 5 September with 1 and 1 shared destroyed with GC II/4 in France in early June. Formed at the No 12 Group sector station on 29 August, the squadron remained at the airfield until 26 September, when it moved to RAF Speke to provide defensive cover over the metropolitan county, with a detachment at RAF Penrhos.
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