Co napsal The Daily Telegraph v říjnu 2006 o F. Fajtlovi

25. november 2007 at 14:33 | veteranus
Major General Frantisek Fajtl
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 10/10/2006
Major General Frantisek Fajtl, who has died aged 94, was one of Czechoslovakia's most distinguished fighter pilots during the Second World War; he fled his native country through Poland and France to reach England, where he flew Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain.
In 1942 Fajtl was shot down over France, but escaped over the Pyrenees to Spain, where he was imprisoned before returning to England after three months on the run. Later in the war he commanded a special fighter unit that fought with the Russians during the uprising against the Germans in Slovakia.
Fajtl was serving with the Czech Air Force when the Germans invaded his country in March 1939. After escaping to Poland and then to France, he flew Morane fighters with the III/7 Groupes de Chasse of the French Air Force during the German advance in May 1940. With the collapse of France a month later he managed to escape to North Africa and then to England. After training to fly the Hurricane, he joined No 1 Squadron at Northolt before moving to No 17 Squadron. Within a week he shared in the destruction of a German bomber, and towards the end of October he and another pilot shot down a Dornier bomber.
When the RAF formed the third Czechoslovak fighter squadron, No 313 at Catterick, Fajtl was a founder member. The squadron, equipped with the Spitfire, moved to Cornwall and flew many sorties escorting fighter-bombers attacking targets in north-west France. In December Fajtl was appointed as a flight commander when the squadron moved to Hornchurch and operated on ground attack sorties in the Pas de Calais. In April 1942 he was promoted to squadron leader and became the first Czech to command an RAF squadron when he was appointed to lead No 122 Squadron.
On May 5 1942 he was at the head of his squadron escorting light bombers attacking Lille. During a fierce engagement with German fighters he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109, and probably a second. Outnumbered, he was eventually shot down but managed to crash-land near Hazebrouk.
Despite an intense search, he managed to avoid capture, and after nightfall he headed south. Calling only at isolated farms he made his way to Paris. He was given a pass and after crossing the Vichy demarcation line he took a train to Perpignan. Three weeks after being shot down, he crossed the Pyrenees alone and entered Spain, where he was arrested, spending nine weeks in the notorious Miranda jail before the British Consul negotiated his release. He arrived in Gibraltar and was flown back to England on August 17.
After a period of convalescence, Fajtl acted as a liaison officer with the Inspectorate of the Czech Air Force. In November he was awarded the DFC for his "unfailing resolution, dash and determination in the face of the enemy".
Frantisek Fajtl was born on August 20 1912 at Donin. In 1933 he entered the military academy and was commissioned as a lieutenant pilot in 1935. He flew observation biplanes with No 63 Squadron in the 2nd Air Regiment, based at Olomouc in Moravia, becoming the deputy commander. After the German takeover of their country, Fajtl's commanding officer said to him: "We must never surrender to all this and serve the enemy, each man for himself" - and they left for Poland.
Following a period commanding a fighter station in the Shetlands as a wing commander, Fajtl asked to drop a rank in September 1943 in order to command No 313 (Czech) Squadron, flying Spitfires from Ibsley in Hampshire. He flew many escort and ground attack sorties over northern France.
At the end of January 1944 he and 21 of his fellow countrymen sailed for the Soviet Union, having volunteered for service to form the nucleus of air regiments being established to support the Czechoslovak Army Corps. Fajtl was appointed to command the first Czech air unit to fight with the Soviets.
After training to fly the Lavochkin La 5 fighter at an airfield near Moscow the group of pilots became the 1st Czechoslovak Fighter Air Regiment in June 1944. During September and October Fajtl's unique unit operated in support of an uprising against the Germans by the people of Slovakia. Operating from behind enemy lines, Fajtl and his pilots flew more than 560 combat sorties, destroying enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground and attacking enemy positions in the rear.
In late 1944 Fajtl's squadron formed part of a Czechoslovak combined air division on the Eastern front. He flew in support of the liberation of his homeland in Moravia, and in May 1945 he led his pilots to Prague.
Fajtl remained in the Czech Air Force, but the euphoria of victory did not last. Soon the country's emerging Communist regime was, paradoxically, persecuting former airmen, condemning many of them to hard labour. Fajtl was sacked, and demoted to private. A year later he was arrested and spent 18 months working in a labour camp at Mirov. On his arrival in 1949 he could see former SS officers looking out of the windows, and he considered being jailed with the very people against whom he had fought to be a bitter betrayal. After his release he found work as a clerk.
Fajtl was partially rehabilitated in 1964. But for full rehabilitation he had to wait until after the fall of Communism in 1989, when he received the honorary rank of major general. It was also then that he put on his uniform again. In addition to the DFC, he received four Czechoslovak War Crosses and numerous foreign awards for his war service. In 2003 President Vaclav Klaus invested him with the Order of the White Lion.
A man of irrepressible charm, instantly recognisable for his trademark goatee, Fajtl published his memoirs, in which he celebrated Czech airmen who might otherwise have been forgotten.
Frantisek Fajtl died on October 4. He is survived by his wife, Hana, and two daughters.
 

Be the first one to judge this article.

New comment

Log in
  Don't you have your own web yet? Create it for free on Blog.cz.
 

Actual articles

Reklama