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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J Strihavka

 

Jaromir Strihavka was born on 7th June 1914 in Trutnov, Czechoslovakia. On 1st October 1932 he joined the Military Aviation Academy at Prostejov as a cadet. He completed his training in 1934 and was assigned to the 3rd Aviation Regiment at Piestany.

In 1938 he was sent as an observation pilot to the 13th Squadron of the Regiment at Spisska Nova Ves. When the Germans took over Czechoslovakia in March 1939 Strihavka was demobilised. He escaped to Poland on 24th June and reported to the Czechoslovak Consulate in Krakow. They arranged for him to travel by train to Gydnia from where he sailed to France.

 

 

Strihavka was required to join the French Foreign Legion but war was declared just as he due to be posted to the Legion base in Algeria. He was posted to l'Armee de l'Air instead and sent to the Ecole de Pilotage at Avord for re-training on French equipment.

On 16th January 1940 he was transferred to CIC Chartres for retraining on French equipment, which he completed on 23rd May. He was then posted to Cazaux airfield near Bordeaux but the French capitulated before he could join an operational unit. He was evacuated by ship from Bordeaux to England.


Shortly after his arrival in England he was transferred to the Czechoslovak Airmens Depot at Cosford and on 2nd August he was enrolled into the RAFVR. He went to 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge to convert to Hurricanes and was posted from there to 85 Squadron. On 23rd October he was posted to 310 Squadron.


Strihavka stayed with 310 Squadron until 15th August 1941 when he was posted to 19 Squadron. On 12th June 1942 he returned to 310 Squadron. On 23rd June Strihavka's aircraft was struck by another during a scramble from Bolt Head. He was unhurt.


Having completed his tour he was posted to 56 OTU at Sutton Bridge as a flying instructor.


On 1st February 1943 he returned to 310 Squadron. His last operational flight was on 30th June 1944 after which he was posted on flying instructor duties at 56 OTU Tealing.


On 15th May 1945 he was posted to 313 Squadron where he remained until August. On 7th August he flew one of a group of fifty-four Spitfires back to Czechoslovakia and rejoined the Czech Air Force, in which he attained the rank of Staff Captain.


Following the communist takeover in February 1948 Strihavka was dismissed from the Air Force.
On 18th June 1948 he escaped across the border to the American Zone in Germany.

Later he returned to England. He changed his name to P J Scott.

He died on 9th July 1994 in Cambridge.

 

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