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Západ slunce nad AN2

Tales of men and machine

Bohumír Fürst

Fürst Bohumír - Jaroslav Popelka & Čeští RAFáci 450x600.jpg

Bohumír Fürst, 1940  (Jaroslav Popelka & Čeští RAFáci)

*1.10.1909 Opatovice (Vyškov - Czech Republic)

† 2.1.1978  Ledeč nad Sázavou (Czech Republic)

First Republic fighter and instructor, participant in air combat in France, member of the British RAF, pilot of the 310th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, fighter ace with five confirmed kills, instructor, transport pilot, victim of communist persecution.

He trained as a shop steward and then enlisted in the army in 1928 with a desire to fly. He graduated from the Prostejov School for Aviation Vocational Youth and a fighter course at the branch of the Military Aviation School in Cheb. He then served in the 38th Fighter Squadron of the 3rd M. R. Štefánik Aviation Regiment stationed in Vajnore near Bratislava and armed with Avia B-21 and Ba-33 biplanes. From 1932 he was an instructor in Prostějov with the rank of staff sergeant. During one training flight on a Praga E-41 he fell out of the cockpit due to carelessness of a student, but fortunately he was rescued by parachute.


He began his journey of struggle for the liberation of his homeland on 23 June 1939, when he crossed the border into Poland near Těšín. At the end of July he continued by ship Kastelholm from Gdynia to French Calais. As part of the signed commitment with the Foreign Legion, he was sent across the sea to Algiers and remained there until 25 October, when he and other Czechoslovak comrades were finally transferred to the air force. In December he moved back to France and became an instructor at the flight school in Chartres near Paris. On 17 May 1940, a week after the German attack began, he was assigned to a GC II/2 fighter unit armed with Morane Saulnier MS-406s. He scored one certain and one probable kill in combat. In one action, he suffered a B. Fürst took a number of hits, his engine caught fire, but despite his injuries he managed to make an emergency landing. He made his way from collapsed France to North Africa and then on 28 June by ship from Casablanca via Gibraltar to Liverpool, England.


On 26.7.1940 he expanded the ranks of the Czechoslovaks in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAF VR), 6.August received the rank of Sergeant (Sgt, sergeant) and reinforced 310. čs. fighter squadron stationed at the base of Duxford near Cambridge. He soon acquired the Hawker Hurricane Mk. I and by the end of the month he was involved in the ongoing Battle of Britain. He scored his first victory on 3 September. The squadron clashed with a formation of bombers and especially their fighter escorts, from which one Messerschmitt Bf 110 went down in three bursts. Four days later, on 7 September, the Luftwaffe carried out another of its major raids on London. Sgt B. Fürst managed to hit one Bf 110 in a Hurricane P3143 (NN-D), which was initially classified as probable, but with the passage of many years historians have revised it to a certain kill. In the same action, its eight machine guns destroyed another single-engined Messerschmitt Bf 109. He closed the scoring on 15 September when he got a Heinkel He 111 bomber over London and, despite engine damage, guided his NN-D back to base. Shortly thereafter, he served ten days with Rajmund Puda in the 605th Fighter Squadron, which needed assistance. He flew with the Thirty-Third until 7 March 1941, when he became an instructor again, this time with the 52nd Air Force. Operational Training Unit (OTU) in Debden. From May he underwent a qualification course for twin-engine aircraft. On 13 June he was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer (P/O, Lieutenant) and subsequently taught with the 2nd Service Flying Training School (SFTS) at Brize Norton and other units. In September 1942 he transferred to transport pilot duty with the 24th and then 510th Signal Squadrons, where he commanded one of the squadrons between December 1943 and April 1944.


He returned home to Czechoslovakia on 17.8.1945, changed his surname to Fiřt and continued in the army, specifically in the Air Transport Group in Prague. Almost a year after the communist takeover, on February 1, 1949, he was fired and for many years he was tormented like most of our western airmen. From January 1950 to August 1951 he was imprisoned at Mírov, which greatly damaged his health. After being evicted from his Prague apartment, he settled with his family in Ledec na Sázavou and worked as a warehouse keeper. He died at the age of 68 from a sudden heart attack. The urn is stored in the local cemetery.


In 1991 he was rehabilitated and promoted to colonel of the air force in memoriam.


War Service Medal

Croix de Guerre (French War Cross) with a palm, 2x Czechoslovak War Cross 1939, Czechoslovak Medal for Valour before the Enemy, Czechoslovak Military Medal for Merit I. degree, Czechoslovak Military Commemorative Medal with labels F and GB



  • - Commemorative plaque on house No. 6 on Hus Square in Ledec nad Sázavou

  • - Memorial plaque on the village square in Opatovice u Vyškova


Literature and information

Joe, Čeští RAFáci, 2023

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