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Memorial to Czechoslovak WW2 pilot unveiled in Prague

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Prague, Oct 4 (CTK) – An unorthodox memorial to Czechoslovak Royal Air Force pilot Frantisek Fajtl in the form of a Spitfire silhouette in the slope of a park was unveiled in the presence of his wife Hana Fajtlova and family members on Wednesday.

During the war, General Fajtl joined the foreign resistance in Poland, France and eventually Britain.

He commanded a fighter squadron that operated in Slovakia during the 1944 Slovak National Uprising.

At the end of the war, Fajtl took part in the operation liberating the Ostrava region in north Moravia.

Historian Michal Burian, from the Military History Institute, said at the ceremony on Wednesday that Fajtl had been shot down over France, but got back to Britain and continued with his fight against Nazi Germany.

After the war, Fajtl described his story in the book Shot Down and in a number of other popular books.

Burian said Fajtl’s literary work was perhaps as important as his merits in combat.

After the 1948 Communist take-over, Fajtl was persecuted and imprisoned. He was only rehabilitated after the 1989 fall of the Communist rule.

Bohumil Beranek, from the architecture office of the Prague 6 Town Hall, said the silhouette was only slightly smaller than a real Spitfire it depicted.

The shadow of the fighters in the slope is depicted by surfaces with differing colours and structure, Beranek said.

A part of the wing reaches the pavement with a plaque featuring Frantisek Fajtl’s name along with the dates of his birth and death and the text “Freedom is not taken as granted.”

Some 2,500 Czechoslovak pilots served in the RAF during World War Two. A total of 493 of them died in action.

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