Historical context

Why Ramrod?

The Royal Air Force during World War II used for its operations code names. The most important ones had also their independent names, e. g. Gomorrah. Everyday (the former pilots say ordinary) operations had a number and one of standardized name based on type of operations. Our fighters in the RAF participated in a lot of operations marked as Circus, Crossbow, Ranger, Rodeo and Ramrod, always coupled with a serial number.

For our flight we choose Ramrod as memory of our fighters which was used for daily attack of bombers with escort of large number of fighters.

Our pilots in RAF during days of our flight

1st July 1940

After the end of fights on the Continent and when French politicians subordinated their decisions to those from Germany the Czechoslovak airmen arrived in the UK. This day is important for us because in a camp called Innsworth was formed the first Czechoslovak air unit – Czechoslovak Air Force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel of HQ Vítězslav Rosík.

29th June 1941

During a training flight two aircrafts of 312th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron crashed. P/O Svatopluk Bachůrek emergency landed with damaged Hurricane and F/LT Tomáš Vybíral ejected and landed by parachute. Czechoslovak member of the 1st British Fighter Squadron P/P Bohumil Horák died in an incident of his Hurricane.

30th June 1941

For unknown reasons Sgt. Ladislav Uher disappeared with his Hurricane during his flight over the North Sea, which served in the ranks of 257th British Fighter Squadron.

1st July 1941

That night the 311th Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron attacked the French port Brest. All crews successfully hit their targets and one of them under command of P/P Václav Korda succeeded masterfully – a direct hit on enemy heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. However, bad luck had befallen a Wellington bomber under the command Sgt. Oldřich Helma which has been mistakenly shot down by a British fighter, leaving no survivors. During the day, the 313th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron moved to the base at Leconfield. That day, the first Czechoslovak was assigned to 68. Night Fighter Squadron – F/O Josef Kloboučník. Later, our pilots achieved a lot of victories and over time, half of the flight segment of this unit was formed by airmen from occupied Czechoslovakia.

29th June 1942

During the high altitude patrol flight a Spitfire Mk.V from the 312th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron crashed due to the technical reasons. The pilot, F/Lt. Antonín Liška, survived with serious injuries.

30th June 1942

Czechoslovak 310th and 312th Fighter Squadron moved from Exeter and Harrowbeer bases to the Redhill base. On that day, the move of the 1429th Czechoslovak Operational-training Squadron from the East Wretham base to the Woolfox Logde base was also completed. That squadron was preparing crew for the 311th Czechoslovak Bomber squadron.

29th June 1943

P/O Otto Smik, at that time a member of 222th British Fighter Squadron, conducted an attack operation over occupied France. During attacks on ground targets, together with his number destroyed a locomotive and thirty wagons, after which they attacked the factory buildings with gunfire.

30th June 1943

Detachment of the 24th British Transport Squadron, primary composed from Czechoslovak airmen, started to fly C 47 Dakota aircraft from the Algerian airport at Blida.

1st July 1943

A/V/M Karec Janoušek KCB, the inspector of Czechoslovak RAF pilots (and their top commander), started a work and inspection tour of Canada, USA and the Bahamas, where the Czechoslovakian pilots went through training during World War II.

29. June 1944

Since the Allied invasion on June 6th, our airmen were always busy in occupied Europe. The 311th Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron on their Liberators was defending the landing, alongside other units of Coastal Command, against German submarines and battleships. Our fighters then spent the first night on the continent , where they moved day before. Through the entire day, they were taking off for attack patrols, to engage ground targets, because the German air forces, after a hard bloodletting, were licking their wounds. In the afternoon, the fighters came back to Great Britain. Besides fighting, that day was also the day of losses for our airmen. It was during an attack in support of ground troops, that Sgt. Jiří Bauer, from 310th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron ,was shot down by flak fire. A much larger (in number of victims) loss that day was brought upon the 311th Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron. After take off, the Liberator of F/O František Naxer crashed. From the entire crew, only radio-telegraphist Sgt. František Bebenek survived.

30th June 1944

Our fighters from Tangmere base were still involved in fights over the invasion front. In addition to standard patrols, they were escorting the heavy bombers of the RAF, which bombed two German armoured divisions in their destination of Villers – Bocage.

1. July 1944

All the three Czechoslovak Fighter Squadrons were finally removed from the units operating on the Continent and were added into units, which were participating on aerial defence of the British Isles. Although it meant great frustration for our airmen, because of their view that they couldn’d participate in the expulsion of the Nazis in Europe, it was a necessary step. It was not possible to add new crew to our units in case of possible heavy losses. Due to the small number of patriots who refused to build a united national socialist Europe, and instead headed off to the UK to fight actively against National Socialists, there was nothing left for our and British command, but to assign units to duties which were also important, but likely to produce lower losses.

29th June 1945

Six airmen, liberated from German captivity, returned to Czechoslovak Fighter Squadrons of the RAF.

1st June 1945

Czechoslovak navigator F/Lt. Vladimír Josef Sopuch dies during a crash on his DH Mosquito aircraft. It happened above Canadian territory, during a flight across the Atlantic ocean, when the crew tried an emergency landing after a technical failure.