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Czechoslovak Tobruk battle veteran Křístek dies at age of 96

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Opava, North Moravia, Feb 22 (CTK) – Czechoslovak World War Two veteran Josef Křístek, a participant in the battle of Tobruk, died at the age of 96 in Olomouc, north Moravia, at the end of last week, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told journalists on Monday.

The funeral with military honours will take place in Frydek-Mistek, north Moravia, on Tuesday, Stropnicky said.

“This is always bad news,” Stropnicky said, adding that he always felt great respect for war veterans.

“Many of them lived the lives that were never wasted. On the contrary, they were filled with a meaning,” Stropnicky said.

Born in August 1919, Křístek left Czechoslovakia occupied by Germany when he was 20.

He joined the Czechoslovak military unit that was being formed in Poland in the run-up to World War Two in 1939.

During the war, he served in the Soviet Union, from which he was transferred to the Middle East and North Africa where he helped defend the British fortress of Tobruk.

In one of the German air attacks, he shot down a German plane with a machine-gun. In 1943, he was seconded to Britain.

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