RAF Honington commemorates 80th anniversary of bomber squadron
A commemoration event to recognise the 80th anniversary of the founding of 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron was held at RAF Honington yesterday (July 29).
Held in the presence of His Excellency Mr Opatrný, the deputy ambassador of the Czech Republic to London, the ceremony also was attended by defence attachés from the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic to London, personnel from the Czech Air Force, as well as families of Czechoslovak veterans.
The service was opened by Colonel General Staff Straka commander of the 22 Helicopter Base, Namest, now home to the 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron ‘Biscay’ Standard.
He said: “The permanent mission of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic is to take care of military traditions, preserve and disseminate existing veteran links.
"Our base is the successor of the traditions that are based on great work of predecessors, following the 311th RAF (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron.
"We wanted to commemorate and to pay tribute to all the brave people who brought enormous personal sacrifice fighting against evil during the Second World War as a part of RAF.”
The ceremony took place at the base's memorial garden and wreaths were also laid at the Czechoslovak War Graves in the churchyards of Honington and East Wretham.
Around 2,500 Czechoslovaks served in the RAF during World War Two, with more than half of that number serving as aircrew.
Group captain Matt Radnall, station commander of RAF Honington said: "We are honoured to host this commemorative service in aid of the 80th anniversary of the formation of No. 311(Czechoslovak) Squadron formed here at RAF Honington on this day in 1940.
"During the second world war over 500 Czechoslovaks serving in Allied air forces were killed. Of these, 273 died while serving with 311 Squadron. Today it is fitting that we mark the squadron’s formation with a simple ceremony in our memorial garden to ensure that their sacrifice will always be remembered.
“There is added significance as we also mark the 80th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain, during which Czechoslovaks played a critical and courageous role.”
The 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron will also be remembered in the Czech Republic on October1, with a ceremony in Brno.