Emil Boček, last living Czechoslovak RAF pilot, turns 100

Photo: Czech Army

General Emil Boček, the last living Czech airman who served in Britain’s RAF during WWII, celebrates his 100th birthday this Saturday. The veteran pilot, decorated with the highest state distinctions, served with the RAF’s 312 and 310 squadrons and participated in over two dozen operational flights.

Emil Boček was born in 1923 in Brno. In 1939, after the Nazi troops invaded his hometown, he decided to leave Czechoslovakia to fight for his country from abroad. At the time, he was still a minor, so he didn’t mention the plan to anyone, not even his mother.

After a complicated and perilous journey through the Balkans, Egypt and Greece, he finally reached Beirut, where he boarded a ship to Marseille. In the summer of 1940, he took part in battles as the French retreated.

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Author: Ruth Fraňková