Colonel (ret.) Emil Boček

* 1923  

  • “We served in Manston in the end. It was a very large airport. We finished the War there and we were waiting to go home. Unfortunately, the Soviets didn't want us there because we were the western 'imperialists'. Then it lasted up to August 13th, 1945 till we could fly to our country. I think we left England on August 6th. We landed in Hildesheim about 29 kilometres below Hannover. We were about 54 spitfires there. We were supposed to just refuel there and carry on to Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, the weather didn't let us to go, it was foggy and rainy. So we spent there a whole week till we could fly back to the Republic. The Soviets prohibited us from flying through their zone so we had to fly to the South, above Pilsen to Prague. We landed in Prague in Ruzyně Airport on August 8th. There was a delegation to welcome us, general Boček, one more Russian general and I don't know who else. We organized our spitfires in a row. We had to line up. General Boček welcomed each pilot personally. When he approached me and I reported as Boček he asked me if we were a family. I replied: “I have no idea, general.”

  • “German was taboo for me. I didn't make myself understood in German. When we arrived in England we got on the train and there were individual compartments there. And there were inscriptions saying 'SMOKING' and 'NO SMOKING'. And silly me I thought that those compartments were meant for people in their dinner jackets. ('smoking' = 'dinner jacket' in Czech) When we came to Cholmondeley Park we went to dance to Chester the next day, still in our French uniforms. We put down some phrases on a piece of paper, how to write it, how to pronounce it and the Czech equivalents. I said that to one of the girls and she didn't understand. So I showed the paper to her and she couldn't stop laughing. Well, the girls taught us English in the end.”

  • “The Hungarians took us to Senec in a month. There we were taken over by some other soldiers and we were led to the Slovak customs. We went on foot from Senec. We came to a cabin where the Slovak collectors were and we were about twelve. Two of us went to negotiate with the Slovaks to let us go, we promised to give them money, watches and things like that. They said they wouldn't let us go. It was about 800 metres from the cabin to the village. The first man went to the village, the second one went. I was something like the fourth, perhaps the fifth one. Then the Slovaks found out that we were leaving. They shot out of the cabin: 'Stoj!' ('Halt!') Eleven men started running to the wood on the left hand side. I was the only one who ran to the right, it was rather flat there. Then I heard some shooting. (...) Then I walked all day long till midnight. (...) I rode out by the train stop till morning and then I bought a ticket. I knew it was 5.10 penge. I lined up and asked for a ticket to Budapest. I sat down in the train. (...) There was one of those twelve guys on the train before we reached Budapest and he was pointing at me. He wanted my ticket, which I didn't give, and he said they would catch me and him as well. He apparently jumped out into a snowdrift before we came to Budapest. So I got to Budapest.”

  • “Before I joined the Squadron I was at school where they taught us operational flights. I started a flyby on August 29th. I took off and I was still above the airport when the engine stopped working. So I had to land without the engine. There were little fields there, it was surrounded by some barriers of bushes and trees. So if you were landing without the engine it was nothing funny nor easy. You had to go straight perpendicularly at the barrier. I was long in other words, which meant that I had to watch the other side on top of that as well. (...) I caught on the trees and I lost a piece of my wing there. I landed among cows and they scattered around. A civilian saw me and he came running. Well, I jumped out of the cockpit because there was something fizzling in there. I lit a cigarette and started swearing, of course, because you are kind of bowled over when something like that happens. So the Englishman came and I asked him if he kindly watched the plane for me because I needed to make a call from the farm. And we were not able to understand each other. It lasted terribly long till we understood each other, the problem was that he stammered. (...) And he (the farmer on whose property Mr. Boček landed – author's note) said that he couldn't hear anything. And I said I was landing without the engine. (...) And I did the same flyby with another plane the next day. On my way back the temperature started varying between 90 and 120 degrees so I didn't know what was wrong with it. Well, I made it to the airport at last and I landed. Immediately after the landing with the gas being turned off, there was the same defect in the engine, the packings from under the engine heads fell out. So I couldn't taxi to flight any more but they had to pull me away by a tractor instead. Well, it was such an episode that such kind of crashes after the take-off usually result in death. So I was extremely lucky that I survived that.”

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    Brno, 31.12.2002

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    Brno - Bystrc, 25.09.2009

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Such crashes after the take-off usually result in death. So I was extremely lucky that I survived that

Emil Boček
Emil Boček
photo: Encyklopedie dějin města Brna

  Emil Boček, a group captain in retirement, was born in Brno-Tuřany in 1923. He secretly left home in 1939, he wasn’t even seventeen years old. He got to Beirut through the Balkan. As a private soldier of the infantry regiment he took part in the retreating fights in France in the summer of 1940. He was already in Britain in 1940 and he joined the Air Forces. First he served as a mechanic of fighter planes. In October 1942 he was admitted into the pilot training and therefore he could become one of the youngest Czechoslovak pilots who experienced operational flights during the Second World War. Emil Boček says that he is the very youngest one of all the still living RAF pilots. He was admitted into the RAF, he served as a mechanic in the 312 Squadron. He was in his pilot training from October 1942. In 1943 he left for his training for Canada (province Alberta, towns De Winton and Medicine Hat). From October 1944 he served as a fighter pilot in the 310 Squadron, he experienced 26 operational flights. He left the Air Force in 1946, he opened a motorbike garage. He was not affected by the persecution in 1948. He left willingly for the Mototechna enterprise. He has lived in Brno all his life (except for the War), he lives in Brno-Bystrc at present.