The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. A Hess
Alexander Hess was born in 1899 and was one of the oldest fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain. He was serving in the Czech Air Force before the war and when the Germans took over his country in March 1939 he escaped to Poland and was in the Czech Air Force there.
After Poland fell in September 1939, Hess made his way to France and was commissioned in the Armee de l'Air late in the year.
Hess reached England in June 1940 and joined 310 Squadron as a supernumerary at its formation at Duxford on 10th July. On 31st August he claimed the destruction of a Do215 and a Me109.
Above: Hess (right) with Douglas Bader
On 15th September Hess was shot down in combat with enemy fighters over the Thames Estuary and baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, R4085, crashed and burned out south of Billericay church.
Hess went to the USA in 1942, as Czech Air Attache, with the rank of Acting Group Captain. On a tour organised by the Inspectorate General of the Czech Air Force in the latter half of 1943, he accompanied the Czech ace, Karel Kuttelwascher. The object was to recruit pilots for the Czech squadrons in England.
Hess, who was awarded the DFC, went to live in America after the war. He died at his home in Florida in 1981. His remains were brought to Brookwood to be interred alongside his Czech comrades.