“I wanted to join the Air Force because the Army stands in one place and the Air Force flies all over. We thought that the Air Force did the fighting.”
Jiří Benda was born September 29, 1924 in Odolena Voda. His father worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and for this reason, the whole family moved to Sweden in 1928. Mr. Benda attended a Swedish school. In 1936, his father sent him to his aunt in Znojmo, so that he could learn Czech. In 1938 after the Munich crisis, he returned to Sweden. The entire family got alien passports. Mr. Benda served in the civil defence and he learned a tinsmith’s trade. When he was 17, he tried to join the army, but he was not admitted due to his age. He finally joined the army in 1943. However, he lived in Sweden until November 1944 when he got to England. In Chopwell, England, he went through military training. He applied to the Air Force and went through training in Cosford. He wanted to become a rear gunner, but due to the war’s end, he did not finish the course. In June 1945, he was assigned to the No 312 Fighter Squadron to Manston as an assistant engineer. In summer 1945, he returned to Czechoslovakia where he served in České Budějovice. He was demobilized and wanted to return to Sweden but following his father’s request, he remained in Czechoslovakia. In 1947, he began working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1951, he was dismissed for political reasons and worked in Avia in Prague-Letňany. In 1956, he began working in the construction industry in the field of geodetic surveying. From 1981, he has been a retiree receiving an invalidity pension. He lives in the Letňany neighbourhood where he holds the rank of colonel in retirement.