Minister Kohout and General Picek commemorate Czechoslovak soldiers in Britain

Autor: Mira Trebicka, General Staff of ACR

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