A Scottish hero of the Prague Uprising remembers
The appeal "Volame vsechny Cechy" - calling all Czechs - is probably the best known recording in Czech Radio's archive. A radio announcer calls on Czechs to rise up against the German occupation. The date is the 5th May 1945, in the dying days of the war, and the broadcast marked the beginning of the Prague Uprising. In three days of fighting, over three thousand Czechs lost their lives, before the Red Army finally entered the city. Much of the fighting took place right here, in the radio building in Vinohradska Street. This Friday, as every year, wreathes were laid by the main entrance, to remember those who gave their lives. But not all those who helped to build the barricades in those dramatic days were Czech, as David Vaughan reports.
"Prague is in great danger. The Germans are attacking with tanks and planes. We are calling urgently our allies to help. Send immediately tanks and aircraft. Help us defend Prague. At present we are broadcasting from the broadcasting station and outside there is a battle raging."
"The family fed them and gave them clothes and drove them to the railway station where they got on a train to Prague. It was arranged that friends of the family in Prague would meet them from the train, and that was where he split from two of the others as they thought they would have a better chance of survival on their own.
"At the radio, he remembers a flight of stairs with a small door, and behind the door was a tunnel. It was at the end of this tunnel where the broadcasting equipment was kept and where he made his first broadcast. He was asked to make a broadcast to the allied troops for help which he did, and the broadcast was even heard in his home in Aberdeen, Scotland as his mother recognised his voice, and was overjoyed to hear him.
"My father was awarded the Czechoslovakian Military Cross for services rendered in the liberation of the republic of Czechoslovakia. He also received a letter from a friend in Czechoslovakia in 1945 saying that he he should get the Radio Memory Distinguished Order. My father was quite a modest man and never pursued this claim."
William Greig is one of many unsung heroes of the Prague Uprising, and it is thanks to people like him, that you can still hear our broadcasts today. So on this anniversary, many special thanks to you Mr Greig, and to your daughter Linda, who went to so much trouble sending us your memories.