WWII RAF fighter pilot Miroslav Liškutín dies at 98
Miroslav Liškutín, one of the last Czechoslovak fighter pilots who served with the British RAF during WWII, died in Great Britain on Monday at the age of 98. Last year, the veteran pilot was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by the Czech head of state. The head of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, General Jiří Bečvář, had praise for the hero and his contribution during the war.
In April of 1939, Liškutín had left the Nazi-occupied Czech lands for France via Poland, Sweden and Britain. In France, he joined the Foreign Legion and underwent six months training in Africa. After France fell, he went to Britain, where he completed his training as a fighter pilot and joined the 145th RAF squadron in combat. It was August 1941.
Later the pilot was transferred to the 312th Czechoslovak squadron and then to the 313th.
During the war, Liškutín made 131 sorties above enemy territory and flew 465 hours in air combat. He is thought to have been the first allied fighter pilot in France on June 6, 1944 – D-Day – after he was hit by antiaircraft fire and crashed.
Military historian Jiří Rajlich told Czech Radio more:
“He shot down a number of enemy planes and an unmanned rocket and also survived a number of very serious events. He was once forced to parachute to safety from a doomed Spitfire. Ahead of the Normandy invasion he was shot at and crashed into a tree. Yet he survived it all.”
“It was fairly easy to recognize a Wellington even in the moonlight but the question was whether they recognized me. So I kept just out of range. Once I received the signal that they recognized me, I was able to steer them to landing field.”
The last surviving Czech pilot who served with the RAF during the war is Emil Boček who turns 95 later this week.