CAST Czech And Slovak Things

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Copyright © 2000-2011 Richard Gaskell
E-mail: czechandslovakthings@yahoo.co.uk

WORLD WAR 2
GUIDE

Why am I interested in Czechoslovaks during World War 2? Until a few years ago I knew absolutely nothing about what happened to Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. I didn't know that there was a Czechoslovak Government in Exile based here in London, I didn't know that there were thousands of Czechoslovak civilian refugees that had reached Britain before the outbreak of war, and I didn't know that there were Czechoslovaks fighting with the British (the Czechoslovak squadrons in the RAF, the Czechoslovak Brigade, and many individuals serving in ordinary British units).

If you really want to know why I started looking at this subject, read the Curiosity about an old 'Czech' book article. However, things have rather snowballed from my original limited investigations and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of material that I have found. Part of the reason for this is that I was able to visit the Public Record Office regularly for about a year. Much of the information I include in the articles listed below comes from the original documents I've seen there. This is just a hobby for me. I have no experience in historical investigations, I'm not a detective, and I certainly don't know very much about web design, so please forgive me if my work is not up to professional standards! Any information, help or constructive advice will be gratefully received. Please contact me using the following E-mail address: czechandslovakthings@yahoo.co.uk

The items here provide only limited details about those areas of particular interest to me. Others have sites with much more information, and details of some of them can be found on the Sources page.

NAME LISTS OF CZECHOSLOVAKS
Links to lists of names of Czechoslovaks in Britain during WW2. Although most of the lists, and links to them, are available elsewhere on this site, they are gathered together here to provide easier searching for specific persons. Entries on the lists total just under 20,000.

BCRC AND CRTF - CIVILIAN REFUGEES
After the Munich Agreement and the German occupation of the 'Sudetenland', part of Czechoslovakia, refugees left for the unoccupied remnant and fled even further. The British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia (BCRC) and the Czech Refugee Trust Fund (CRTF) had their origins in the voluntary movement which developed in Britain to help those in fear of their lives.

VÚA DATABASES AND MILITARY RECORDS
The "Vojenský ústřední archiv" (VÚA - Military Central Archive) in Prague has online access on their site to databases of Czechoslovak Military Personnel and holds original personnel documents relating to these individuals.

WANTED: SPECIAL SEARCH LIST GB
After the fall of France in the summer of 1940 the Germans were poised to invade Britain. A handbook was prepared, ready for distribution to the 'occupying' forces, which included a list of people for immediate arrest. Many of these had Czechoslovak connections.

EVACUATION FROM FRANCE
With the collapse of the front, most of the Czechoslovak Division located east of Paris retreated southwards towards the Mediteranean coast and their HQ at Beziers and depot at Agde, others heading to Bay of Biscay ports. Only about a quarter chose to continue the fight and be evacuated to Britain.

'MUTINY' AT CHOLMONDELEY CASTLE
The Czechoslovak soldiers evacuated from France to Britain were sent to Cholmondeley, but more than 500 were unhappy with the military and political leadership recognised by the British and were unwilling to serve in Czechoslovak units.

CZECHOSLOVAKS IN THE PIONEER CORPS
Most of those unwilling to serve in Czechoslovak units were, after being interned for a short time, enlisted in the Pioneer Corps, part of the British Army.

THE CZECHOSLOVAK BRIGADE
The majority of the soldiers evacuated from France formed the new Czechoslovak Brigade, which spent the next 4 years in Britain employed on anti-invasion duties and training. In late summer of 1944 it was transferred to northern France and used to lay siege to the isolated German garrison in Dunkirk. It remained there until a few days after the end of hostilities in May 1945, then travelled across Germany to Czechoslovakia.

TOKEN FORCE or Kombinovaný oddíl
With American forces approaching the Czechoslovak border in the spring of 1945, the Czechoslovaks wanted the whole Brigade transferred from Dunkirk to take part in the fighting in Germany and then on to their homeland. The British and Americans did not permit this, but allowed a small unit to accompany American troops.

MEDAL TYPES
Images and details of common Czechoslovak and British medal types awarded to Czechoslovaks serving during WW2.

BADGES
There were a considerable number of commemorative badges manufactured relating to the Czechoslovak forces in France and Britain.

WAR GRAVES
Locations and details of just a few of the Czechoslovak sevicemen buried in Britain.

CZECHOSLOVAKS IN LONDON
Archive and literary sources have shown a large number of Czechoslovak related addresses in London.

CURIOSITY ABOUT AN OLD 'CZECH' BOOK
Several years ago I bought an old second-hand book with connections to Czechoslovaks in Britain during the Second World War.

SOURCES
Details of web sites, archives and a list of books I have on the subject.

 

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