WW2 OFFICERS CZECHOSLOVAKIAN AIRFORCE PILOTS BADGE
An excellent solid silver Czechoslovakian Airforce pilots badge, by Spink & Son ltd London to revers. 50mm. With brooch fixing and chain clip.
During Second World War 1939–45
Fighter ace Josef František served in the Czechoslovak, Polish, French and UK air forces
Czechoslovak pilots who joined the Polish Air Force went into action in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Many fought with distinction and 55 were decorated. Josef František was among those awarded Poland's highest military decoration, the Virtuti Militari. After the USSR joined the invasion of Poland its forces captures some Czechoslovak airmen. Others escaped as Poland fell, first reaching Romania and then going via the Balkans and Syria or Lebanon to join their compatriots who had already reached France.
At first France insisted that all Czechoslovak airmen join the Foreign Legion. Only after France had declared war on Germany did it agree with the Czechoslovak National Committee in Paris to let the men transfer to the French Air Force and restore their ranks. They needed to be re-trained to fly French aircraft, but some completed their training in time to fight in the Battle of France in May and June 1940. Of these, seven were awarded France's highest military decoration, the Légion d'honneur, and five received the Médaille militaire. 70 Czechoslovak airmen, including Josef František and Karel Kuttelwascher, were awarded the Croix de Guerre.