Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) – Czech World War Two hero Stanislav Hnelicka, a veteran of the Tobruk and Dunkerk battles, has died at the age of 94, the Defence Ministry said on its web page Friday.
Hnelicka was a holder of many medals, including the Czech Order of the White Lion and the French Legion of Honour.
“Unfortunately, another of the war veterans who fought for their homeland in Africa and on the western front has died,” Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) said.
“His story will remain a firm part of historical traditions of our military,” Stropnicky said.
Under dramatic circumstances, Hnelicka fled from the Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia at the beginning of the war and eventually got to Palestine.
In January 1941, he became one of the youngest soldiers of the 11th infantry battalion under the command of Karel Klapalek.
He took part in all the fighting in the Middle East and then moved to Britain, where he became a member of the newly formed Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade.
In 1944, the brigade landed in Normandy and Hnelicka took part in the liberation fights.
In one of the attacks, he alone captured a unit of German soldiers. After the war, he started up a business in Czechoslovakia, but it was nationalised and he himself put in jail after the Communist 1948 coup.
In 2011, Hnelicka was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.