'Winged Lion' plaque inscribed with names of 2,507 Czechoslovak airmen

On 13th November, Major General Jaromir Sebesta, Commander of the Czech Air Force, and Colonel Michael Longstaff, the U.K. Defence Attaché to the Czech Republic, attended the unveiling ceremony of a memorial plaque set below the monument of the Winged Lion Memorial in Prague which lists all the names of the Czechoslovak Royal Air Force airmen who fought during WWII.

Winged Lion Memorial in Prague depicting the names of 2,507 heroes - Czechoslovak members of the RAF
Winged Lion Memorial in Prague depicting the names of 2,507 heroes - Czechoslovak members of the RAF

The real guests of honour, however, were two RAF WWII veterans; fighter pilot, Major General Emil Bocek and flight operator, Brigadier General Pavel Vransky. Together with other prominent guests from Great Britain and Australia, they paid tribute to all the Czechoslovak airmen whose names are immortalised on the Memorial Plaque.

Two low-flying SAAB 39 Gripen fighters flew over the ceremony to support the commemoration of the brave men and women who fought in the Royal Air Force during WWII.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped us to acquire this new addition to the memorial. I am well aware of your collective efforts and the substantial amount which you invested. It is indeed a dignified remembrance of the great deeds carried out by our predecessors," said General Sebesta addressing the participants. "We remember these people as having the attributes of a strong and mighty lion who brought freedom and independence to our country on the wings of Spitfires, Tempests, Hurricanes and Wellingtons," added General Sebesta.

The Winged Lion Memorial, a bronze two-meter high sculpture, was erected three years ago, and was funded by the British Community living in Czechia and Slovakia. The donation totalled a remarkable 3.3 million Czech Crowns.

  • The 'Winged Lion' was officially unveiled on 17th June 2014 at a ceremony attended by war veterans, relatives of airmen, and representatives of Czech, Slovak and British Governments. Guests from the British side included Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of Defence Staff of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces, who was elected the next Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2018.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

November 17, 2017