The Battle of Britain is about to begin...Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation [...] Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour’.

Winston Churchill

Countries are nearly always at their best when they are the underdogs, rarely when they exercise superiority, for pride goes before the fall. So it is in the history of England.

In recent times, this was the case in the summer of 1940, when England faced the terror of the Nazi air campaign alone. In those critical months, either Great Britain together with its then Empire, one quarter of the planet, would fall under Hitler’s jackboot, or else it would remain free and provide the vital base for the liberation of Western Europe from the Nazis in 1944. This struggle was to become known to history as ‘the Battle of Britain’ and it was won by the Royal Air Force, in what Winston Churchill called our ‘finest hour’. What is less well known is that some ten per cent of the pilots and all-important ground staff who fought in it were Czechoslovak and Polish. Even less known is the fact that the Czechoslovaks included Carpatho-Russians in their number.

Two Czechoslovak fighter squadrons, No. 310 and No. 312, were formed early enough in 1940 to take part in the battle. Altogether 88 Czechoslovak pilots served in RAF units, claiming some 60 enemy planes. Eight pilots were killed. Below is a list of the Carpatho-Russian heroes who protected England in her hour of greatest need.


AC = Aircraftman
AG = Air Gunner
F/Sgt = Flight Sergeant
LAC = Leading Aircraftman
W/O = Warrant Officer
WOP = Wireless Operator

BARABÁŠ Štěpán, F/Sgt 788 337 311 Sqdn čet. R kpt. 23/11/1914 Slatinské Doly /Podkarpatská Rus/ WOP/AG

BODNÁR Ivan Ján, LAC 788 334 311 Sqdn HQ London des. des. 20/06/1903 Douhé /Iršava-Podkarpatská Rus/ Ground Staff

DEUTSCH Bernard DALE, W/O 788 343 311 Sqdn por. por. 10/06/1920 Vel. Bereznyj /Podkarpatská Rus/ Navigator

GUTMAN Majer Moric, LAC 788 449 311 Sqdn svob. svob. 03/08/1920 Ganič Tiačevo /Podkarpatská Rus/Armourer Assistant

HERMAN Isidor, HEŘMAN Ivan, LAC 788 453 311 Sqdn čet. čet. 07/12/1922 Nižní Verecky /Podkarpatská Rus/Assistant Compass Adjuster

HOROVITZ Mikuláš, LAC 788 180 311 Sqdn čet. čet. 27/07/1914 Užhorod /Podkarpatská Rus/ Wireless Mechanic

ICKOVIČ Zelman, LAC 788 069 310 Sqdn des. des. 19/05/1903 Ganič Tiačevo /Podkarpatská Rus/ Maint. Assistant

ICKOVICZ Eliáš KRÁL, LAC 788 669 Depot voj. voj. 05/10/1910 Krive /Podkarpatská Rus/ Cook

KAHAN Josef, LAC 788 648 312 Sqdn des. des. 18/05/1916 Mukačevo /Podkarpatská Rus/ Electrician II

KOVAČ Ondrej, AC2 788 788 Depot voj. voj. 04/12/1921 Dulovo /Podkarpatská Rus/ Ground staff

KOZSUKAN Arpád, LAC 654 737 311 Sqdn des. des. 26/04/1923 Užhorod /Podkarpatská Rus/ Armourer

LEBOVIČ Bernard PETERS, F/Sgt 788 486 311 Sqdn čet. R plk. 21/03/1919 Lipča-Chust /Podkarpatská Rus/ WOP/AG

LEBOVIČ Mojžíš Max, LAC 787 247 310 Sqdn rtn. rtn. 15/05/1911 Drahov-Chust /Podkarpatská Rus/ Flight Mechanic

OVSÁK Štefan, AC2 788 568 Depot voj. voj. 02/02/1923 Užhorod /Podkarpatská Rus/Ground staff

PEŘINA Karel, W/O 788 140 310 Sqdn rtm. R plk. 16/12/1920 Velký Berezný /Podkarpatská Rus/ Pilot 20/05/1991

POLÁK Mikuláš, AC2 788 271 Depot des. des. 18/12/1919 Velký Bereznyj /Podkarpatská Rus/ Maint. Assistant

STANINEC Vasil, AC1 788 326 Depot des. des. 01/10/1902 Ardanovo /Podkarpatská Rus/Cook

ŠTĚPÁNEK Miroslav, SCHER Majer, F/Sgt 788 520 311 Sqdn čet. čet. 14/03/1916 Dravce /Užhorod-Podkarpatská Rus/ WOP/AG

TÉGEL Viktor, 88 Trainee W/O 787 893 311 Sqdn prap. R pplk. 04/09/1913 Turie Remety /Podkarpatská Rus/ Wireless Operator 30/12/1978

URSTA Juraj, AC2 788 902 311 Sqdn voj. voj. 09/05/1922 Kopašnovo /Podkarpatská Rus/ Ground staff

VARCABA Michal, LAC 787 342 312 Sqdn des. R mjr. 28/10/1920 Osoj /Podkarpatská Rus/ Armourer

WEINGARTEN Jindřich, LAC 788 549 311 Sqdn des. des. 05/08/1915 Kobylecká Poljana /Podkarpatská Rus/ Electrician II

ŽIHANSKÝ Michal, LAC 788 574 312 Sqdn des. des. 03/10/1919 Kušnice /Iršava Podkarpatská Rus/ Flight Mechanic

Our thanks to: Pavel Vancata:

See also:

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