The Airmen's Stories - P/O V Vesely
Vlastimil Vesely was born on 20th September 1913 in Horice, Czechoslovakia. He attended the Military Academy in Hranice from 1933 to 1935, graduating as a pilot. He was still serving with the Air Force when the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939.
He later escaped to France and joined the Foreign Legion, the only unit open to foreigners. But in September 1939 he was transferred to l'Armee de l'Air and after training was serving with Groupe de Chasse I/9, operating the MS406 in North Africa, by March 1940.
On the 17th June he probably destroyed an Italian SM79. After the French collapse, Vesely made his way to England, arriving at the Czech processing depot on 18th August 1940. He joined 312 Squadron at Duxford on 5th September 1940.
Vesely went on to night-fighting operations with 68 Squadron at Catterick in February 1941. On 12th March 1941 his guns jammed whilst he was attacking a He111 and he was severely wounded by return fire. By December 1941 he had completed forty night patrols, destroying two enemy aircraft and damaging two more.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th August 1942).
He destroyed a He177 on 24th July 1942 and a Do217E on 19th October 1942.
He was appointed as Czech liason officer to 11 Group on 1st April 1943 before serving with 68 Squadron once more from 20th October 1943 till 12th January 1944. Vesely then spent the rest of 1944 at the Empire Central Flying School.
In March 1945 he went to France as a military attache. He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1946 and was made CO of a bomber regiment. When purged from this position by the communist authorities in 1948 he rejoined the RAF and served until 3rd October 1968, when he retired as a Squadron Leader.
He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 10th June 1954).
Vesely and his family emigrated to Australia in 1968. After the fall of communism he was rehabilitated by the Czech Republic.
He died in Australia on 11th December 2001.