The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. O Kucera
Otmar Kucera was born on 13th July 1914 in Brno, Czechoslovakia and was educated there.
In 1933 he joined a cadet programme at the Military Flying School in Prostejov. After graduating he was posted on 1st August 1935 to the 8th observation squadron of Aviation Regiment 2, operating the Avia B-534.
After the German occupation in March 1939 Kucera decided to escape and on Christmas Eve 1939 made his way to Budapest. He was able to go on to Belgrade and from there through Greece and Turkey to Beirut. On 24th February 1940 he sailed to France and reported to the Czech depot at Agde near Montpelier.
Kucera was assigned to a flying school at Bordeaux-Merignac but the French capitulated before he finished the course.
On 19th June he embarked at Bordeaux on the Ronbur III and arrived on the 21st at Falmouth. Sent for assessment to the Czech depot at Cosford, he was enrolled in the RAFVR and posted from there to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 21st September. After converting to Hurricanes he joined 111 Squadron at Drem on 6th October 1940.
Kucera claimed a share in the destruction of He111s on 13th and 15th November. In early 1941 he was serving with No. 1 Squadron at Kenley and damaged a Ju88 on 24th March. He was posted to 312 Squadron at Speke on 15th April and claimed a Me109 probably destroyed on 18th June and another two shot down on 3rd and 9th July.
He was commissioned in November 1941 and destroyed a Ju88 on 16th February 1942.
Kucera was posted to 313 Squadron at Hornchurch on 14th April 1942. He claimed a Fw190 destroyed and another probably destroyed on 5th May.
He was rested with a posting to the Czech Inspectorate in London from 22nd June to 31st December 1942 during which he was awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th September 1942). He returned to 313 Squadron as a Flight Commander on 1st January 1943.
The squadron spent time in Scotland before returning south in September, Kucera destroying a Fw190 on the 27th.
In early 1944 the unit converted to the Spitfire Mk. IXc, operating in the dive-bombing role. After completing his second operational tour Kucera was posted to a liason role with ground forces but managed to arrange his return to 313 Squadron, taking command in November 1944.
He returned to Czechoslovakia in August 1945, going immediately into the reconstituted air force. He was purged by the communist authorities in 1948, arrested in January 1949 and spent time in prison.
Restricted to menial jobs, Kucera was rehabilitated in 1963 and was able to return to the air force.
Otmar Kucera died in Brno on 6th June 1995 aged 81.