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Minister Kohout and General Picek commemorate Czechoslovak soldiers in Britain

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Kohout and Chief of the General Staff of ACR General Vlastimil Picek attended Sunday 4 July 2010 a memorial act to the 70th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Army established in the United Kingdom during WWII in Cholmondeley.

The ceremony was held at the Cholmondeley Park, Cheshire, on the estate of the Marquess of Cholmondeley. The family of the owners enabled in 1940 to more than 5,600 Czechoslovak soldiers and airmen to stay on their estate where from they were assigned to British military formations elsewhere, mostly to RAF units.

The present owner, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, Lavinia and David, allowed to build a monument at the park to pay homage to these soldiers. Both Czech representatives laid a weath to the monument. Minister Kohout in his speech said: "This place, which reminds turbulent events of the Second World War, is also an important milestone in history of both nations. The anniversary of establishment of Czechoslovak armed forces in the Great Britain offers us opportunity to stop and make reflection. To reflect over fate of those, who risked their own lives in fight for our freedom. To reflect over the tradition of ties between our nations, to reflect over freedom and its cost. But most of all to commemorate those, who cannot be with us today."

The act in Cholmondeley was attended by several WWII veterans including General Tomas Sedlacek, ret., member of Czechoslovak anti-nazi struggle and political prisoner of communist regime, who also received his first training in Britain at Cholmondeley.

On the occassion of the 70th anniversary, General Vlastimil Picek handed over the Honorary Cross of Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Grade III, to Major General Miloslav Kaspar in memoriam and to Colonel Frantisek Kaplan for extraordinary merits in defence of the republic and its constitutional order. Also Lavinia, the Marquess of Cholmondeley and David, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley received the Honorary Cross for their lasting support for Czechoslovak legionaries abroad and for upholding general awareness of Czechoslovak soldiers in the United Kingdom.

General Picek also awarded Colonel Miloslav Kratochvil, Colonel Josef Novak, and Major Nina Dobosharevich, WWII veterans, with the Honorary Badge of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic for Merits, Grade I, for life-long work in favour of the Czechoslovak Legionary Community, for extraordinary merits in defence of the republic and for upholding general awareness of Czechoslovak soldiers in the United Kingdom.

Author and source: Mira Trebicka, General Staff of ACR, and Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Photo Gallery
  • Minister Jan Kohout during speech Minister Jan Kohout during speech Minister Jan Kohout during speech
  • From the left: Major General Jan Salaganic, Chief of Operations at the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, General Vlastimil Picek and Minister Jan Kohout at the ceremony From the left: Major General Jan Salaganic, Chief of Operations at the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, General Vlastimil Picek and Minister Jan Kohout at the ceremony From the left: Major General Jan…
  • Cholmondeley Arms Cholmondeley Arms Cholmondeley Arms
  • RAF member with General Picek at the Cholmondeley Park Monument RAF member with General Picek at the Cholmondeley Park Monument RAF member with General Picek at…
  • General Picek to lay the wreath with Minister Kohout General Picek to lay the wreath with Minister Kohout General Picek to lay the wreath…
  • Participants of the ceremony Participants of the ceremony Participants of the ceremony
  • Lord Lieutenant David Briggs, Representative of the Queen in Cheshire, Diana Caroline Barbour, Director of the Bolesworth Estate, Minister Kohout and General Picek Lord Lieutenant David Briggs, Representative of the Queen in Cheshire, Diana Caroline Barbour, Director of the Bolesworth Estate, Minister Kohout and General Picek Lord Lieutenant David Briggs,…
  • From the left: Colonel Jaroslav Hofrichter-RAF navigator, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Bacik, General Tomas Sedlacek
From the left: Colonel Jaroslav Hofrichter-RAF navigator, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Bacik, General Tomas Sedlacek From the left: Colonel Jaroslav…
  • General Picek hands over award to Colonel Frantisek Kaplan General Picek hands over award to Colonel Frantisek Kaplan General Picek hands over award to…
  • General Picek awards Colonel Miloslav Kratochvil, Colonel Josef Novak and Major Nina Dobosharevich
General Picek awards Colonel Miloslav Kratochvil, Colonel Josef Novak and Major Nina Dobosharevich General Picek awards Colonel…