Stanley Nova, roz. Nováček

* 1922  †︎ 2013

  • “I would always sing with a guitar. Always. Always. I looked, I played guitar. I sing in more languages. Yugoslav, jugoslávsky. I was learning their songs.”

  • “That was something I’ll never forget. The patrol came and I was sitting at the table. I had a revolver but I saw that they had rifles. I was eating and I suddenly made up my mind. I told myself that they were many and they had guns while I only had a revolver, nothing more. But the patrol was waiting for me and they didn’t know what I had. I could have had hand grenades. Out of nowhere, I made up my mind and I tossed the belt with the revolver on the table. Suddenly everyone was talking. They clapped me on the shoulder. They were relieved that I’d not shoot at them. In the end nothing at all happened.”

  • „I have feeling that most of the time. I run. I run. I slept in … I kept going, I kept moving. Cold. If I know, If i will cold... The germans, they had patrol. If I dont¨t have a patrol, I´m dead.“

  • “They signed up for the Foreign Legion and it was decided that in a fortnight they’d sail somewhere to the Far East. So as they had concluded that it was difficult to escape from a ship, they fled in advance of the journey. They took a ladder and climbed across the gate. That worked and they went with the ladder to the train station where his friend jumped on the train and went away with the prisoners. He then began to move around the station himself but was caught by the Germans, beaten up badly and thrown into prison. He was messed up badly – his eyelid had been torn off and he still has a scar on his neck today from the beating. They threw him on a pile of corpses because he was unconscious. Then, when they were disposing of the dead bodies, they probably discovered that he was still alive. So two true Frenchwoman saved him and sew back his right eyelid. They helped him and he recovered back to full health. How exactly this happened no one knows. He doesn’t know exactly either because he doesn’t remember it too much.”

  • Full recordings
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    Vernířovice, 26.07.2013

    duration: 01:05:34
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The guitar has saved my life many times

Stanley Nova in the RAF
Stanley Nova in the RAF
photo: archiv pamětníka

Stanley Nova, by his birth name Stanislav Nováček, was born in 1922 in Brno but for many decades he’s lived in England. Mr. Nova had a very chequered life. During the war, he had to join the German Luftwaffe but he fled during the training in France and joined the Foreign Legion. When he was about to set sail to somewhere in the Far East, he again deserted but was captured by German soldiers who nearly beat the deserter to death. From prison, he was freed by some courageous French women and finally got via Gibraltar to Great Britain, where he joined the RAF (Royal Air Force). In England, he married and remained after the war. He worked as a musician and singer. His beautiful tenor voice amazed audiences in the most prestigious clubs of London, where the elite of Europe gathered for a drink. Today he lives in Brighton in southern England.