The Airmen's Stories - P/O J Sterbacek
Jaroslav Sterbacek was born on 12th February 1913 at Dolni Lhota. He was in the Czech Air Force when the Germans took over in March 1939. After escaping to France, he served in the Armee de l'Air from the outbreak of war until the collapse of France, at which time he made his way to England.
On 31st August Sterbacek joined 310 Squadron at Duxford. He was shot down and killed the same day by Me109s, whilst he was attacking Do17s over the Thames Estuary. His Hurricane, P3159, was thought to have crashed and burned out south of Wennington Church, near Romford.
Subsequent investigation of this crash site in April 1984 proved that this Hurricane was R4215 in which MD Doulton of 601 Squadron was killed on 31st August 1940.
Sterbacek is regarded as 'Missing' and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
At some time a memorial gravestone, in the same style as that used by the CWGC for Czech graves but not connected with them, has been placed near other Czech graves at Brookwood cemetery. This is probably because he was the first Czech airman killed in action with the RAF.