The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. K Seda
Karel Seda was born in Ujezd, Czechoslovakia on 4th November 1908, the son of a farmer. In 1927 he began training at the newly-established military flying school. After qualifying in 1929 he was posted to an observation squadron in the Czech Air Force, flying two-seater A11 and AP-32 aircraft.
Seda applied for fighter pilot training in 1931, after which he joined the 3rd Regiment, to fly B-21, B-33 and B-34 single seat aircraft. In 1934 Seda was posted to the Military Experimental Flying Establishment, where he flew most types in service in Czechoslovakia.
In March 1935 Seda was one of four applicants out of sixty four chosen to become commercial pilots with Czech Air Lines. He flew domestically and internationally until the German take-over of Czechoslovakia on 15th March 1939. With a group of Czech Air Force friends, Seda went to Poland in July 1939. Given the choice of joining the Polish Air Force or going to France, the majority decided on the latter.
They arrived just before the outbreak of war and although most were experienced pilots, the French insisted that they take a training course. Seda went to the fighter base at Chartres and eventually converted to the MS406, Bloch 152, Curtiss Hawk and Dewoitine D520.
When the blitzkrieg began on 10th May 1940, Seda and eight other Czechs were posted to GC II/2 in north-eastern France. Retreating from airfield to airfield, they were based at Dijon when the armistice was signed. Seda and others went to Perpignan, crossed to Oran and moved on to Casablanca from where they went by boat to Gibraltar and eventually reached England.
Above: Sgt. B Furst, P/O JE Hybler, Sgt. K Seda, Sgt. S Plzak, Bernard when serving with GCII/2 in France.
Above image courtesy of the JE Hybler archive.
Seda was processed into the RAF at Cosford and posted to 310 Squadron, then forming at Duxford, on 7th July 1940. He converted to Hurricanes and the squadron was made operational on 17th August 1940. Seda served with 310 until 10th May 1941 when he was posted to Maintenance Command on flying duties. He was serving with MUs at Hawarden, Little Rissington, Kirkbride, Kinloss and Aston Down until 29th May 1943.
In preparation for a return to operations Seda was then posted to 12 (P) AFU Grantham for conversion to Beaufighters. He went to 54 OTU Charter Hall on 18th May 1943 for night-fighter training, after which he joined 68 Squadron at Coltishall on 20th July.
On 4th February 1944 Seda, with his navigator P/O D Hradsky, shot a Ju188 down in flames into the sea off East Anglia in the early hours of the morning.
With his tour completed Seda was posted to the Metropolitan Communications Squadron at Hendon on 22nd January 1945. Commissioned in 1943, Seda was released from the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant on 17th August 1945 and repatriated to Czechoslovakia.
After his return to Czechoslovakia he served with the newly reformed Czechoslovak Airline CSA. In July 1948 he was purged by the Communist authorities, this happened to all airmen that had flown with the Allies.
Seda and four other ex-RAF airmen and their families planned to escape to the West but were betrayed by an undercover agent.
He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and served 8 years, mostly in uranium mines. On release on 14th May 1958 he was restricted to manual work and spent the rest of his working life as an electrician at the Tesla Karlin industrial complex in Prague.
In 1966 all restrictions were lifted.
He died on 15th June 1992 in Prague.