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Západ slunce nad AN2

Tales of men and machine

Emil Fechtner

Fechtner Emil - Čeští RAFáci 450x600.jpg

Emil Fechtner, 1940  (Čeští RAFáci)

*16/09/1916 Prague - Žižkov

† 29/10/1940 near Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire (Great Britain - England)

Graduate of the military academy, fighter of the First Republic, participant in flight training in France, member of the British RAF, pilot of the 310th Czechoslovak Army. fighter squadron, the second most successful Czechoslovak Battle of Britain participant, four confirmed kills.

In 1933, he graduated from the real gymnasium in Hradec Králové. At the age of nineteen he enlisted in the Artillery Regiment 104 in Olomouc and graduated from the Reserve Artillery Officers' School. Before long, he continued at the Military Academy in Hranice in Moravia, where he switched to aviation. On 29 August 1937, he graduated as the best of the group, was promoted to the rank of Air Force Lieutenant and assigned to the 3rd M.R. Štefánik Aviation Regiment in Slovakia. He completed his training by completing a fighter course in Prostějov between October 1937 and July 1938. He served with the 38th fighter squadron LP 3, which was located in Piešťany and armed with Avia B-534 biplanes.


Not long after the occupation of his homeland by Nazi Germany, in mid-June 1939, he crossed the border into Poland. He left Gdynia on July 26 on the ship Kastelholm for France. Before he was required to fulfill his signed commitment to the Foreign Legion, the war broke out and on October 10 he was sent to the training center of Chartres near Paris. He was gradually retrained on French fighters, but the process was very slow, the outcome of the Battle of France, on the other hand, was precipitous, and before he was assigned to a combat unit, it was necessary, together with other Czechoslovak soldiers. airmen to evacuate. On June 19, 1940, they sailed from Bordeaux on the ship Karanan and landed in Falmouth, England, two days later.


On 10/07/1940, E. Fechtner was accepted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAF VR) in the rank of Pilot Officer (P/O, equivalent to Czechoslovak lieutenant). On the twelfth, he arrived at the Duxford base near Cambridge and joined Squadron B of the newly formed 310th Czechoslovak Army. fighter squadron. The first weeks of the unit were filled with intensive training on British Avro Tutor, Miles Master and especially Hawker Hurricane Mk. Even with NN codes on the hull. The first accident recorded between the Czechoslovak E. Fechtner was credited with flying in Great Britain on August 1, when he lost too much speed during landing practice and slightly damaged his fighter with a hard landing. A fortnight later, he was forced to make an emergency landing after a mid-air collision with P/O Antonín Navrátil. Fortunately, both were uninjured.

On August 26, the Thirty-Seven underwent its baptism of fire – it clashed with a formation of Luftwaffe bombers and their escort. E. Fechtner scored the first success when on the HurricaneMk. I P3142 (NN-M) shot down a twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110. Last August, he sent a Dornier Do 17 bomber to the ground with precise hits, and although he soon took several hits, he managed to land successfully at the base. Further victories followed: on September 3 he destroyed one Bf 110, on September 9 he damaged one machine of the same type, on September 18 he shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bomber and on September 27 he scored a probable downing of a Do 17. For his outstanding combat performance he was nominated for the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC, British Meritorious Flying Cross) on October 16 and on the eve of the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, the award was officially confirmed by King George VI . P/O E. Fechtner together with squadron commander S/Ldr Alexander Hess became the first Czechoslovak bearers of this award.


On Tuesday 29/10/1940, the 310th Squadron was tasked with protecting the Maidstone and Gravesend areas. The morning patrol was uneventful. For the second time, the order came for twelve planes to take off at 1:30 p.m. P/O E. Fechtner, DFC was on a Hurricane Mk. Also P3889 (NN-S) the leader of the green swarm, but for some reason he was a little late at the start. When forming a formation of four trios in a row, he tried to pass the others and take the designated place during the climb. Unfortunately, he misjudged the distance from the yellow section, got too close to the nose of F/Lt Jaroslav Malý's fighter, and the propeller cut Fechtner's tail surfaces in an instant. From a height of 600 meters, the uncontrollable machine then fell to the ground, the pilot was unable to jump out and perished in the wreckage. J. Malý crash-landed in a field.


P/O Emila Fechtner, DFC was laid to rest in Royston Cemetery but was later moved to MS. section of Brookwood Cemetery. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of Air Force Colonel in memoriam.



War Service Medal

Distinguished Flying Cross (British Meritorious Flying Cross), Czechoslovak War Cross 1939, Czechoslovak Medal For Bravery in Front of the Enemy, Czech. military medal for merits of the first degree, Czechoslovak military commemorative medal with F and VB plates, The 1939–1945 Star withBattle of Britain Clasp,…



- In Hradec Králové - Malšovice, the street was named "Kpt. Fechtner".



- Fajtl F.: Memories of fallen friends

- Michl J.: Foreigners in the RAF

- Ptáček J., Rail J.: Letci Královéhradecka in the second Czechoslovak foreign resistance (1939-1945)

- Rajlich J.: In the sky of proud Albion 1

Joe, Čeští RAFáci, 2023

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