Norfolk church first to host Czech WW2 expo
A major travelling exhibition featuring the role of Czech citizens in the RAF during the Second World War is set to tour the UK, and the first stop for the tour will be Wretham in Norfolk during May 2015.
The exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the formation of Czech squadrons in the Royal Air Force, and it will tour venues in this country and the Czech Republic.
The exhibition consists of up to 19 panels of words and pictures, in both English and Czech, telling the story of the threat of Nazism, Czech roles in war operations, including the collective fight with British colleagues in the RAF. It covers the causes of WW2, the moves taken by Czechs into the resistance movement, their paths to the UK and their joining the RAF.
It will feature the various squadrons formed by their countrymen and women, including 68 Night Fighter Squadron (Czech flight), 310, 312 and 313 Fighter Squadrons and 311 Bomber Squadron.
311 Bomber Squadron was based initially at RAF Honington and flew largely from East Wretham. Members of the squadron who died are buried, along with two Polish comrades, in war graves in a corner of the churchyard at Wretham, and honoured by ex service organisations every November.
The exhibition will also feature the role of Czechs in the WAAF, famous Czech names from the RAF, the return to the Czech Republic at the war end and the persecution which then ensued under a Communist regime and the ongoing tale of rehabilitation and the commemoration of Czech pilots today.
The exhibition is sponsored by a range of high ranking Czech bodies, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has been mounted by military historian Filip Prochazka, leader of a major military history group in his homeland.
Once the exhibition has been mounted in St Ethelbert’s Church, it will be launched at an invitation only function on the evening of Tuesday May 5, 2015 . It will then be open to the public every day until Thursday May 14, 2015 from 10am to 5pm, with the exception of Saturday May 9, 2015 when it will open from 2 to 5pm only because of a midday wedding. Admission and parking is free but there will be the opportunity to make a donation towards the cost of the exhibition.
After Wretham, the show goes across the UK, including Catterick, the Czech Republic Embassy, Tain in Scotland, RAF Manston Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Trust, Exeter International Airport, and five more venues in the Czech Republic..
For further information contact John Kitson, St Ethelbert’s Church secretary, on 01953 498 609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The picture shows the Czech and Polish graves at Wretham church
Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in Mid Norfolk?