Czechoslovak units in Britain

Czechs and Slovaks, despite being deprived of state independence by force, ranked with soldiers of the allied coalition from the very onset of the war. Already on September 3rd, 1939 Dr. Edvard Beneš sent a telegram to the Prime Ministers of Great Britain, France and Poland, notifying that Czechoslovak citizens are “without hesitation joining the fight for free Europe.” In December 1941 the exile government in London officially declared that the Czechoslovak Republic was waging war against all countries, which were in war with Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States of America.

Exiled government in Britain

Czechoslovak aviators had a significant share in the Battle for Britain. Among the units founded in Britain were: three fighter and one bombing Czechoslovak wing, one night fighter squadron, and a lot of Czechoslovak aviators served with the allied wings. They staked their lives during air raids in Germany, patrol flights over the ocean, over the invasion beaches at Dieppe in Normandy and during parachute operations in the Netherlands and on the Rhine.

Czechoslovak airmen in the ranks RAF

On September 1st, 1943 the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade was founded by the reorganization of the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade, reinforced shortly before by members of the Czechoslovak units from the Middle East. Until summer 1944 the brigade trained under the leadership of General Alois Liška. Afterwards it removed to French harbors. British leadership, uncertain if Czechoslovak units will be able to compensate continuously losses suffered in fights, decided to set the brigade in a less exposed section. On October 5th, 1944 the brigade shifted to French harbor Dunkerque, where it was to block a German garrison counting 11 000 men. Active service of the Czechoslovak units in Dunkerque definitely finished on the 9th May 1945 at 9.15 when the military headquarters of General Alois Liška were visited by the chief of the besieged fort vice-Admiral Friedrich Frisius, who came to sign an unconditional surrender.

Czechoslovak ground unit in Britain