Jaroslav Kvaček

* 1912  

  • "During the occupation, our airline was taken over, we could stay there as civilian employees, but I decided to leave Czechoslovakia and to fight against Hitlerism in some form. I got from Czechoslovakia to Poland, there we joined the Czechoslovak Legion, war broke out, so we ran away from those crowds. It took 14 days for the war in Poland to end, and then we left to Romania. There they interned us in their barracks."

  • "The battle of England was horrible. And especially when the fau ains, fau cvaj came. There was a difficult defense against this. It suddenly fell and exploded. They had it focused. Ty fau ains - it mattered when the fuel ran out. It happened, that when it reached England, the pilot, who had certain altitude, because they were faster than English planes, then when he had that altitude, he flew. And when he tilted it a little, it fell into the sea because it was held by a device. Whereas the fau cvaj, they were just bombs. It flew out and fell. "

  • "Well, we were really afraid of them, because their movement was crazy. They moved ahead by tanks, while the Poles only had horse covers and it meant nothing to them. We did not meet them, only by air. For example, in Velké Brody they did a big raid and we did not know that they were raiding the airport, we thought it was a raid at the station. But we ran, nettles no nettles, and we hid behind the trees ... We were scared. Because there was no defense against that."

  • "The training was practically twofold. First, it was at the 310 where I was the hangar commander and the biggest problem was English - we couldn't speak a word of English. There was a boss with the same rank as me. And the same group of Englishmen. We learned from them. We watched what they were doing. After a year they left and we were left alone. We had to work on everything. The worst part was that we then had to write down what we did and it was my duty. So the biggest problem was a language, especially in the official connections. In private too. I tried to learn what I could, I got a teacher... We had to deal with the English somehow."

  • "When we got out, because we hadn't eaten for practically four days, the English women were waiting for these people to arrive and fed us with sandwiches. We were placed in a cinema overnight, and in the morning we went to a place where we pitched tents according to the instructions of the British authorities, because they were expecting a greater inflow of refugees. So we got to England. From there we went to Cosford, where Czechoslovak citizens gathered, and there we joined the RAF, the English Air Force, and there they dressed us in English uniforms the next day."

  • "When I was already determined to fly, I enrolled in a flight mechanic course, which I completed. Then I had to take a flight shooter course, and when I finished, I was sent to the 311th Squadron, which was a bombing one. Its activity was coastal, thus to watch the submarines to stay under the surface, and of course, if they did appear, to destroy them. So I flew like a flight engineer. I also finished there in 1945, when the war ended."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 26.06.2003

    duration: 01:13:59
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Battle of England was horrible

Jaroslav Kvaček
Jaroslav Kvaček
photo: witness

Jaroslav Kvaček was born on May 28, 1912 in Nymburk. His mother did not survive his birth, he grew up with his father, two siblings and a stepmother. His father was a blacksmith in the workshops of the Czechoslovak State Railways. Jaroslav was trained as a technical engineer and then graduated from the Secondary Industrial School in Mladá Boleslav. After the war in 1934 he joined the Czechoslovak Airlines (ČLS). In August 1939, he illegally crossed the border into Poland, where he wanted to join other groups of soldiers in the fight against Nazi Germany. After several weeks, when Poland succumbed to the German invasion, he ran away to Romania, where he was interned. He managed to escape and with the help of the French consulate office he got to Lebanon by a boat. There he joined the Foreign Legion. After that he crossed the Mediterranean Sea to France. On November 13, 1939, he joined the emerging Czechoslovak exile units in Agde in France. After the defeat of France, he got to Britain by a boat and there he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was assigned to the 310th squadron. He worked there as the hangar commander. From 1941, when he completed his courses, he was assigned to the 311th Bomber Squadron, with which he participated in the Battle of England and remained there until the end of the World War II. He flew in combat aircraft as a mechanic and a shooter. He flew 528 operational flights. He experienced the end of the war in Dice, Scotland, near Aberdeen. He was never injured. On September 1, 1945, he married a Czech woman in England. She worked in England during the war, and on September 5 of the same year, he returned to his homeland. After the war, he returned to the Czechoslovak Airline and remained there until his retirement.