The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J Hubacek
Josef Hubacek was born in Kdyne, Czechoslovakia on 17th October 1909. After leaving school he trained as a mechanic but then applied to join the Czech Air Force, he was accepted and entered the Military Aviation School at Prostejov on 1st October 1928. He soloed in May 1929 .
After graduating on 1st October 1930 he was posted to 32 Squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment at Cheb as a fighter pilot.
On 1st October 1933 he was moved to the training squadron of the Regiment, following this posting he went on a instrument and night flying course. After serving with the 43rd Fighter Aviation Regiment in Prague he went on from April to September 1935 to the staff of the Technical Research Institute of Aviation in Letnanech.
He was selected for the Czech aerobatic team and throughout the Thirties they performed at events in Romania, Berlin, the Soviet Union and Zurich .
After the German takeover in March 1939 Hubacek escaped to Poland. After reporting to the Czech Consulate in Krakow he and many other Czech airmen took ship at Gdynia and sailed to France.
While he was going through processing for the Foreign Legion war was declared and he was inducted into l'Armee de l'Air instead.
Hubacek was sent to the flying school at Chartres and trained on the MS406 and Curtiss Hawk 75.
On 1st December 1939 he was assigned to Groupe de Chasse III/3 at Toul-Ochey, operating the MS406. On 11th May, escorting LeO 451 bombers attacking the Albert Canal bridges, Hubacek was shot down and landed upside down in no-mans land. Wounded in the shoulder and arm, he was rescued by French troops and taken to hospital.
With the signing of the armistice he left hospital and made his way to St. Jean de Luz via Bordeaux and Bayonne. He embarked on 24th June on the Arandora Star and landed in Liverpool three days later.
After processing through the Czech depot at Cosford he was posted to 310 Czech Squadron on 6th August 1940.
Hubacek shared in bring down the Do17 that crashed on Victoria Station, London on 15th September 1940. Shortly after this engagement he was shot down in Hurricane R4087 and baled out wounded in the foot. His aircraft came down at Walnut Tree Farm, Stoke near Rochester. He was taken to Chatham Naval Hospital and was back with the Squadron on 30th September.
Commissioned in February 1941, he went in the following April to instructing duties at SFTS Kemble, 10 MU and 15 MU. As part of a move to take older pilots off operational flying he was posted to Ferry Command on 12th November 1941.
After advanced navigation training he was one of the first two Czechs to cross the Atlantic, this in a Catalina IIIa on 5th April 1942. He made six further crossings before being posted to 24 (Transport) Squadron at Hendon on 18th December 1942.
Mostly operating in Dakotas, Hubacek flew long-haul flights to Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt, Iraq, India, Greece, Ceylon, Iceland, the Azores and in the final months of the war the liberated countries in Europe.
He flew to the Crimea for the Yalta Conference and also took a senior officer to the liberation of Buchenwald where he was spotted by prisoners who came from his home town.
He returned to Czechoslovakia on 18th August 1945 and re-entered the Air Force as Operations Officer for a transport squadron at Prague-Ruzyne. Purged by the communist authorities in October 1950 he was banished from Prague and forced into a job in a forestry near Kdyne. After being injured he went on to a post as chief accountant. He assisted in reforming the flying club movement.
Huback died after prolonged heart problems on 9th April 1988.