Colonel (ret.) Miroslav Vojnar

* 1921  †︎ 2013

  • "All of you, who grew up here in normal times, live in completely different circumstances than we did. First we were occupied by the Germans. Nowadays no one threatens with anything, except for some terrorist excesses. But there isn't any big friction between nations. And young people can hardly understand that we fought for something that is completely foreign to them. Because no one dictates what they have to do and what they mustn't do. Our grandfathers had to learn geography in Czech and in German. That was a reason for us. To free ourselves of that, so we could breath how we wanted to, and not how it was dictated."

  • "Every member of a bomber crew will admit being afraid from the moment they climbed in to machine, to the moment they got out, because it was a matter of life and death all the time. Fighter-pilots had it easier. There was an emergency, they jumped into their plane and already they were looking for someone to fight. Whileas bombers had the duty to get somewhere, drop the bombs, and get home. That could be halfway across Europe, and it was life and death almost every moment of the flight. That was no piece of cake. Everyone will tell you that when they looked down and saw those light beams, the ones you can sometimes see on photos from the war, then they had the feeling the bullet was aiming right between their eyes. But then the shots spread out around them and nothing happened."

  • "We succeeded in getting close to the Jamaican girls that we all liked, but who weren't very sociable and who kept to themselves, so it wasn't possible to get to them. Every nation had the possibility to organise a dance party, and we managed to do it that time. Once, towards the end of the war, we were at a dance party in the Civic Hall, there was about a thousand people there, including some red berets. Those were soldiers who served in the Far East, and towards the end of the war they started sending them home. Those were brawlers alright. It happened that one of them went to ask out a girl, and she refused him. One of our soldiers tried, and she accepted. So the other chap rushed at him, they went outside (that was like a rule at the time - not to fight inside), they both took off their uniforms, a circle friends of either side formed around them, and they could begin. There were police officers just across the street. We had a boxer with us, and he said: 'Boys, just keep sending him to me, I'll give him a blow and that'll be that.' And then, when we had cleared it up, we put on our uniforms again and left. The ones who remained were taken by the police. Back at the station we reported to our chief on what had happened."

  • "In England they did 'flying for weather'. Your granddad knows that during the war, they put the weather on a piece of paper in the post office. Those who flew for weather in England often flew as far as Greenland, where the pressure highs and lows build up. Those were thirty-hour flights, the pilots noted down the altitude, temperature, pressure, clouds. When they came back, after some eight, ten hours, then because the front usually moves about one thousand kilometres a day, they had a head start of some two days, and they knew what the weather would be like. They planned missions, say bombing runs, accordingly, so we knew what to expect at any given moment."

  • "The navigator's work starts before take-off. The pilots, the navigator and the sparks meet up, they unfold a map and hold a string from the airfield to the bombing location. The navigator also received photographs of the target, maps, information, forecasts, and also a map - a 'Mercator projection', with only the outlines and big rivers, sometimes they had the highest mountain marked there. That's what you have to draw flight route into. And the moment the pilot starts off, you have to start counting and writing. Nowadays they have modern equipment, like the GPS, so they don't have to do that anymore. We had to count from beginning to the end. Like or not, we had to. Six people were depending on me as the navigator. An interesting thing, something you can also orientate yourself by, is that even when there was a total black-out, then there was always a faint glow over every city, from residual lighting, so everyone knew there was some city there."

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    místo neuvedeno, 30.01.2003

    duration: 01:11:38
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Every member of a bomber crew will admit being afraid from the moment they climbed in to machine, to the moment they got out, because it was a matter of life and death all the time

Miroslav Vojnar
Miroslav Vojnar
photo: Pamět Národa - Archiv

Miroslav Vojnar was born on the 4th of April 1921 in Terezín, Hodonín district. He studied at a reformative grammar school, was a member of Sokol and the Boy Scouts. During the Second World War he served in the forced labour corps in Berlin and Saint Malo. He managed to escape and get to England, where he underwent pilot training, which he did not complete due to the end of the war. He was a navigator for the Royal Air Force. After the war he completed studies at the Military Flight Academy (LVA) in Hradec Králové, where he later taught. His brother was Wing Commander, later Major-General, František Weber. Miroslav Vojnar passed away on May, the 7th, 2013.