|After the fall of France in June
1940 the Czechoslovak pilots were refugees again. Some of them managed
to escape with their machines to Great Britain, The others were
evacuated on Dutch, Brittish and Polish war ships from ports Bordeaux
and Port Vendres. Also a major part of them was waiting in North Afirca
and had been delivered with a few transports from Casablanca. On these
ships were evacuated over 4000 Czechoslovak soldiers and 500 civilians.
The last transport anchored in the British coasts on 18th August 1940.
To this day a total number of 932 Czechoslovak flyers were now waiting
in England, which makes over 90% of the original count in France. The
rest of our pilots who did not managed to move to England from North
Afirca, Syria respectively, were coming during the years 1940 and 1941.
They mostly had very dramatic expiriences from the journey, some of them
even had to go via America or Australia to get to England.
The Britons, in a close danger of the Nazi invasion to the Islands, were desperately seeking as many pilots and soldiers as possible. And Czechosloavks were a great help. They saw action in France, some of them even in Poland. They were well trained and had good abilities and an extremely high motivation against the enemy. No more now were they just 'some unknown nation in the Middle Europe' as it was before two years during the München Clerk...
12th June 1940 was arranged Czechoslovak General Flight Inspectorate (CIG) and as its leader assigned General (AVM) Karel Janousek by the president Edvard Benes. The same day was also formed the first Czechoslovak Squadron in Great Britian on Duxford airfield near Cambridge - the No. 310 Squadron and as its leader named Major (S/Ldr) Alexander Hess. Also that same day a Czechoslovak bomber Squadron was created on Cosford airfield - the No. 311. It was led by Sub Colonel (W/C) Karel Toman-Mares. On 5th September, when the Battle of Britian was in its top, another fighter squadron was formed. It was the No. 312, under leading of Major Jan Ambrus.The fighters were quickly re-trained to Hawker Hurricanes, the bombers got two engined bombers Vickers Wellington. All these squadrons participated on the Battle of Britain, scoring 82,5 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air. The No. 311 played an offensive role in this part. They contra-attacked targets in France, Germany, Holland and Belgium.
On 10th May 1941 was formed the last Czechoslovak unit - the No. 313 and as its ledaer named Captain (F/Lt) Josef Jaske. But these days also members of a famous night unit - the No. 68 - were celebrating achievements. First Czechoslovak pilots came there on 1 July 1941 and when the number was growing fast, it was decided to estabilish a whole Czechoslovak night flight in frames of the No. 68. It was declared operational on 20 January 1941 on Catterick airfield, as its leader assigned Captain Vlastimil Veselı.