Colonel Jiří NIEDOBA, Defence Attaché for the Czech Republic and Chief Warrant Officer Tomáš KAŠPAR, Defence Attaché’s Assistant, paid respects to Kenley’s Czechoslovak service personnel on 8th October, 2020, at St. Luke’s, Whyteleafe and RAF Kenley.
Many thanks to Tom Dolezal for the photos.
Please visit the excellent Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates website here.
No.312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron were stationed at RAF Kenley from 29th May until 20th July, 1941. In addition, Czechoslovak personnel served with other RAF units at Kenley. For instance, Warrant Officer Rudolf Ptacek lost his life flying with No.602 Squadron in March, 1942, and Pilot Officer Vilém Göth, Kenley’s last casualty of the Battle of Britain, served with 501 Squadron.
The two Czechoslovak pilots buried in St. Luke’s, Whyteleafe, are Sergeant Albín Nasswetter and Pilot Officer František Běhal, who was stationed at RAF Redhill and doesn’t have a page on our online memorial.
Frantisek Běhal was born in Zelatovice, in the Olomouc region of the Czech Republic. He flew with the French Air Force (G.C. III/3) during the Battle of France before escaping to England to fly with No.1 squadron, RAF. They were sent to intercept a bombing raid shortly after midnight on 11th May, 1941, and Frantisek’s Hurricane (Z2921) was shot down. It crashed into Paxton’s orchard, one of the smallholdings in Seldon Park Rd.
It was wonderful to see our Czechoslovak brothers-in-arms honoured with this visit.