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Západ slunce nad AN2

Tales of men and machine

Václav Bergman

Václav Bergman,1940  (Čeští RAFáci)

*27.8.1915 Domoušice near Louny

† 31.12.2002 Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire (Great Britain - Scotland)

Graduate of the military academy, fighter of the First Republic, participant in air battles in France, member of the British RAF, pilot of the 310th Czechoslovak Army. fighter squadron, participant in the Battle of Britain, two confirmed kills, squadron commander, commander of the 313th Czechoslovak fighter squadron, staff officer, refugee from the communists, member of the RAF again, excellent pilot and commander.


In 1935, he graduated from the real gymnasium in Rakovník and applied to the Czechoslovak air force. He first graduated from the Prostejov School for Reserve Air Force Officers and from July 1936 served as an air observer at the 1st Aviation Regiment in Cheb. He soon joined the Military Academy in Hranice in Moravia, in 1937 he became a lieutenant in the Air Force, went through a fighter course and on 3 July 1938 joined the 43rd Squadron of the 4th Aviation Regiment. The unit was stationed in Prague-Kbely and used Avia B-534 fighters .

After the occupation of the homeland by Nazi Germany, he worked in Avia Letňany. On June 17, 1939, he went to Poland and then continued to France by ship Kastelholm. Here he was forced to fulfill his obligation and joined the Foreign Legion. After the outbreak of war, he was transferred to the air force and completed training in Chartres near Paris. From 16/05/1940 he was assigned to the ELD Chartres regional fighter defense equipped with Morane Saulnier MS.406 machines and soon joined the fighting. After the French collapse, he evacuated from Bordeaux on the ship Karanan to Great Britain.

On 12 July 1940 he was accepted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAF VR) and received the basic officer rank of Pilot Officer (P/O). He joined the newly formed 310th Čs. fighter squadrons based at Duxford base near Cambridge. The armament consisted of Hawker Hurricane Mk. Even with NN codes on the hull. During the summer the Battle of Britain flared up. On August 26, the Czechoslovaks went into battle for the first time, in a fierce clash with a Messerschmitt Bf 109, P/O Bergman was hit and wounded. Fortunately, he managed to leave the burning machine by parachute. But the successes came before long: on September 9 he shot down a twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110, on September 18 he got a Junkers Ju 88 bomber and on October 28 he damaged another Ju 88. In July 1941 the squadron moved to Scotland. On 13 August, F/O Bergman was guided over the North Sea near Aberdeen during a training flight, where he pursued and damaged a Ju 88 with fire. In the autumn, the rearmament was then changed to more powerful Supermarine Spitfire machines - first briefly Mk. IIa and then Mk. Vb.

On 4/7/1942, F/Lt Bergman became the commander of A Squadron at Třistadesítka. On 1 January 1943, he was sent to the 313th Czechoslovak Regiment. fighter squadron, where he took command of squadron B. On Spitfires Mk. Vb and Vc marked with RY codes continued within the framework of the Czechoslovak. fighter wing in intensive missions over occupied Western Europe until the end of June, when the unit moved to Scotland for operational rest. Their task was mainly to guard the naval bases of Scapa Flow. On September 1, Václav Bergman was transferred to the Inspectorate of the Czech Republic. Air Force (IČL) to London. On January 31, 1944, he was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader (S/Ldr) and took command of the entire 313th Squadron. He coordinated the rearming of the more powerful Spitfire Mk. IXc and during the spring he led his pilots in many offensive actions in preparation for the invasion. He ended the operational deployment on May 22. He was promoted to Wing Commander (W/Cdr), awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for outstanding combat performance, served in staff positions, and in early 1945 graduated from the US War College Command Course with distinction. From August he continued at the British Command School in London. 

He returned to free Czechoslovakia in March 1946, subsequently headed the 1st Department of the Air Force Main Staff at the Ministry of National Defense (MNO) and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Shortly after the communist coup, he was deposed and transferred to the 41st Aviation Regiment in Milovice, and on June 1, 1948, he was sent on leave with the awaited, i.e. practically kicked out of the army. Only persecution could be expected.

He sent the family to Britain, illegally crossed the border into Germany and got to them. On 28 October 1948 he rejoined the RAF and received the rank of F/Lt. He trained in four-engined Short Sunderland flying boats and flew operationally in regions of Asia, including combat missions during the Korean War. He returned to Great Britain in 1953 and was awarded a second DFC. He served as a pilot until 1957 and then on the ground as an air traffic controller in many locations around the world. On August 27, 1970, he retired as an award-winning pilot and commander with the rank of S/Ldr.

In 1991 he was rehabilitated and promoted to colonel and a year later to retired Air Force Major General.


War Service Medal

Distinguished Flying Cross (British Flying Cross), Croix de Guerre avec palme (French Military Cross with Palm), 4x Czechoslovak War Cross 1939, 4x Czechoslovak Medal for Bravery and many others.



  • Memorial plaque in his native Domoušice (



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

  • Hurt Z.: Under the wings of the RAF in the second exile 1

  • Irra M.: Czechoslovak Air Force 1945-1950

  • Kolesa V., Popelka J., Rail J.: František Burda – fatal escort over Brest

Joe, Čeští RAFáci, 2023

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