The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F Vindis
Frantisek Vindis was born in Prerov, Czechoslovakia on 1st June 1918. He lived in Cjec until 1936 when he joined the Czech Air Force, going to the flying school at Prostejov.
After the Germans moved into Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Vindis escaped to Poland and made his way to France.
The French at that time would only allow foreigners to enlist in the Foreign Legion and Vindis did so, he was posted to the Legion base at Sidi Bel Abbes in Algeria with several other Czechs. He was later allowed to resume flying duties and went to the airfield at Oran for two months of retraining on French aircraft. On 16th November 1939 he was assigned to the regional Fighter Flight ERC 571 stationed at Maison Blanche in Algeria. The obsolete aircraft that equipped the flight were replaced by the Dewoitine D510. The unit remained in North Africa in anticipation of an attack by the Italians.
Above image courtesy of http://fcafa.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/czech-pilots-in-the-battle-of-britain
After the French collapse Vindis went to England and joined the RAF in July 1940. He was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge from RAF Cosford on 28th September to convert to Hurricanes. Vindis joined 310 Squadron at Duxford on 14th October 1940. On 1st November Vindis crashed at Sudbury in Hurricane P8809 while on approach to Wattisham, cause unknown.
On 4th February 1942 he damaged a Ju88 and on 28th April he shared in the destruction of another. Vindis completed his operational tour and was rested. Commissioned in June 1943, he rejoined 310 Squadron. Vindis shared in destroying a Fw190 on 17th June 1944. At the end of his second tour he was posted to a Ferry Unit. In 1945 he was posted to 313 Squadron for a third tour. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 8th January 1945).
He returned to Czechoslovakia in October 1945 and rejoined the Czech Air Force. After pressure from the communist authorities he left in 1947, returned to Britain and rejoined the RAF in February 1948 as a Flying Officer. Vindis was on flying duties until the end of 1954, when he went on to Air Traffic Control. He retired in August 1961 as a Flight Lieutenant.
Vindis operated his own very successful motor and garage business in the Cambridge area. He died in February 1991.