Aviator and exile
Bohumil Dubec was born on November 25, 1916 in the then still independent village of Svítkov, today part of Pardubice. The father worked on the track and the mother took care of the household. He had a brother and a sister. He trained as a mechanical locksmith and studied at an industrial school for two years. He played football and was interested in aviation. He spent a year at the aviation school in Prostějov and then went to the Aeroclub in Pardubice, where he passed the pilot exams. In 1938 he was drafted into the war and enlisted in Hradec Králové. He stayed briefly at the fighter school in Cheb. After they were released following the capture of the Sudetenland, he learned of emerging foreign troops. At the beginning of 1939, he went with his friends by train via Ostrava to Poland. From Poznań he traveled by boat via Denmark and Sweden to France. There he enlisted for five years of service for the Foreign Legion and went to Africa. The training took place in a desert environment until the outbreak of World War II. Then Bohumil moved to Chartre and after training finally joined the pilot of observation flights. But the joy did not last long. As French troops retreated from German aggression, his unit was disbanded again. With great vicissitudes, Bohumil finally reached England in October 1940. He joined the Czechoslovak army in the service of the RAF and at first “patrolled” the English Channel. He later became a pilot of the Liberator and operated in Scotland. After the end of World War II, he returned to Czechoslovakia in the rank of major. He was awarded the Czechoslovak War Cross, the award for bravery against the enemy and the Medal of Merit. Until 1948 he served at the airport in Kbely. After the February coup, he lost his job and a year later went illegally with his wife to Germany and then on to England. He offered his services to the British army, but was refused. He returned to the republic only after the death of his wife after the Velvet Revolution.