The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. M Jiroudek
Miroslav Jiroudek was born on 6th March 1914 at Zibohlavy, Kolin, Czechoslovakia. He joined the Czech Air Force in 1933 and graduated from the flying school at Prostejov in 1935 and was posted to the 1st Aviation Regiment at Prague, later based at Hradec Kralove.
After the German occupation in March 1939 Jiroudek, like many Czech airmen, planned to leave the country and on 14th June arrived in Poland. Offered a choice of staying or attempting to join the French Air Force, Jicha chose the latter and made his way there, possibly by boat from Gdynia. He was sent to the Czech training school at Chartres, making his first flight on 25th January 1940. After qualifying he was posted to Groupe de Chasse III/1, operating the MS406 at Norrent-Fontes near Bethune.
Above image courtesy of https://fcafa.wordpress.com
After the French collapse Jiroudek made his way to England, via North Africa. He was processed into the RAF as a Sergeant and posted from the Czech depot at Cosford to 310 Squadron at Duxford on 6th August 1940.
He shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on 18th September. Over Faversham on 5th November Jiroudek's Hurricane, V7588, was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He baled out and the aircraft crashed at Graveney, Sittingbourne.
On 10th September 1941 Jiroudek was sent to RAF Kemble for a rest. He moved to 54 OTU Church Fenton on 25th November, to convert to Beaufighters, and joined 68 Squadron at Coltishall on 22nd February 1942. He was commissioned in April and remained with the squadron until February 1943.
Jiroudek then went to Transport Command and joined 24 Squadron at Hendon. He flew many types of aircraft as far afield as Iceland, North Africa, Italy, Greece and everywhere in Europe. He was posted away on 30th June 1945 and returned to Czechoslovakia on 18th July.
Jiroudek remained in the Czech Air Force until 31st December 1945 and from 16th January 1946 he started flying with the reconstituted Czech Air Line CSA. Like many ex-RAF airmen he was purged by the communist authorities in 1948 though it seems that he was able to continue flying with the airline until 1950.
His subsequent movements are currently undocumented until 25th March 1995, when he died in Prague.