Research Trip CZRAF 2005 - England & Wales
Duxford Flying Legends Air Show & Whittlesford Cemetery - 9th July 2005
During the moring Simon drove us to Duxford to visit 'The Flying Legends' airshow. Near to our destination I made a navigational error by confusing the A11 with the M11.
Anyway we were able to visit two graves of Czech airmen on a small cemetery in Whittlesford. At first we were unable to locate the graveyard until Simon spotted the church spire through the trees!
Then it was easy to find whiteCWGC headstones as they were clearly visible from the churchyard entrance.
Amongst 40 Commonwealth graves there were 1 Polish and 3 Czech servicemen.
First two Czechoslovak graves belong to two Ground Staff members of No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron who became victims of an enemy raid on RAF Station Duxford.
Aircraftman 1st Class
The last Czechoslovak grave belongs to a soldier of Czechoslovak Army who died shortly after the war:
After visiting the gaveyard we made our way to Duxford airfield where we spent an enjoyable day (although it was an expensive visit for me - 27 GBP). Simon's favourite plane is Spitfire so he was excited when formation of them were flying over us and I was amazed to see Catalina overhead.
Our first stop at Duxford was in the viewing area where the aircraft were lined-up. It cost me additional 4 GBP for an entrance fee. But it was really worth as I was able to get quite close to all historical aircraft.
North American B-25 Mitchell
DH-89 Dragon Rapide
Author in front of Spitfires
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
We were also able to see, better say to hear, several engines in action like this Rolls-Royce Merlin.
Shortly before the main air-display we had time for a quick lunch which had been provided by Simons wife Jill. (Many thanks Jill!)
We also managed to get a quick look at the various souvineers/books/signed prints stalls. Simon made a short interview the well known 'Ace' G/C Billy Drake DSO DFC* DFC(USA) about his exploits during the Battle of France and Battle of Britain.
The rest of day I spent looking up and taking photos of flying aircraft. Just few catches:
Desert camougflage Hawker Hurricane taking off.
Two B-25s with close escort of P-39 Aircobra and P-40 Kittyhawk
B-17 engine was "hit" and is pouring white smoke
Catalina showing lowered floats and undercarriage
Many thanks to Simon Muggleton for driving me to Duxford
Weston Mill Cemetery in Plymouth - 18th July 2005
During my trip to Weston Mill Cemetery I have visited also the citz centre. Next to the lighthouse there was also a Czech flag amongst others.
Next to the lighthouse there are standing three memorials - Army, Navy and RAF.
My main purpose of visit to Plymouth was the Weston Mill Cemetery where is buried one Czechoslovak crew of W/O L. Košek from No. 311 Squadron - see more details about their tragic crash on page No. 311 Squadron Accidents - Liberator BZ717 .
Author by a grave of Liberator BZ717 skipper - W/O L. Košek
Many thanks for place to stay to Magdalena "Pip" Jarvis
Liverpool area visit - 22nd to 24th July 2005
I have spent only three days in this area but thank to my companion Mark Gaskell I was able to visit many interesting places.
Liverpool West Derby Cemetery, Speke airfield, HMS Plymouth, HMS Onyx, U-534, Market Drayton Cemetery, Cholmondeley Park - 22nd July 2005
Liverpool West Derby Cemetery
First of all Mark took me to Liverpool West Derby Cemetery where are burried two Czechoslovak pilots.
There are buried F/O J. Bartoš and Sgt O. Hanzlíček, both fighter pilots of No. 312 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, in the same grave (on the right) next to a Polish airmen and Czechoslovak soldier.
RAF Station Speke
Then we drove to former site of RAF Station Speke. Original hangars are still standing, now re-builded for new use. Mark arranged meeting with the manager of hotel operating in the original airport building from the old civil era.
Manager took us to the old perimeter and hotel roof. We were also trying to trying to find out where Czechoslovak pilots were standing while decorated by president Dr. E. Beneš. When we were passing one of the dining rooms we were guessing at which window P/O A. Vašátko and Sgt J. Stehlík were photographed while mounting the trophy from the first shot down Ju 88 on the wall.
From the hotel roof Mark showed me the river Mersey approximately in the direction where Sgt O. Hanzlíček drowned after he bailed out from his blazing Hurricane.
HMS Plymouth, HMS Onyx & U-534
Our next stop was museum of historic warships. Unfortunately U-534 was closed so I took only snapshoots from outside and then we went only to the museum where are items found in the submarine when it was took up back to the surface. Some items were in very poor condition but some was in unbelievably good condition.
Author at the conning tower of submarine HMS Onyx
Author as a "captain" by periscope of submarine HMS Onyx.
U-534 port side
U-534 starboard side
U-534 detail of conning tower
Market Drayton Cemetery
Next we went to Market Drayton to look for other two graves of Czechoslovak airmen. As I have forgotten to take information about the cemetery and the graves position we were lucky that the Library was open. I found grave numbers on the CWGC website and on plans of cemetery we were able to find them what simplified later the search on the spot. Then we have no problem to locate the cemetery and graves of Sgt O. Kestler and Sgt J. Martinec who got killed together in one mid-air collision.
On the way back Mark just stopped in front of the gate of Cholmondeley Castle and Park which was unfortunately closed that day. So I was able to take a few pictures of the gate at least.
Later when I was checking my collection of WWII photos I found one of the same gate of Cholmondeley Park from September 1940. There is truck with Czechoslovak soldiers who volunteered to the RAF leaving the Cholmondeley Park!
Millom museum - 23 July 2005
Cheadle Gatley Cemetery, St. Phillip (Pennfields) Cemetery in Wolverhampton, Wellington Cemetery, Cosford Museum - 24th July 2005
Cheadle Gatley Cemetery
St. Phillip (Pennfields) Cemetery in Wolverhampton
To be continued ...
Many thanks for place to stay and all transport to Mark Gaskell