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Thread: Josef Jilek - wartime Czech pilot

  1. #1
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    Default Josef Jilek - wartime Czech pilot

    Hello everyone

    I just came across an article in the Sunderland Echo from May 23rd 1951, about three local pilots who were to take part in the flypast at Hyde Park on May 26th:

    Wearside Will be Represented at Ceremony
    As the King presents his colours to the RAF before 2,500 airmen in Hyde Park on Saturday, three Sunderland pilots will be watching from the air - taking part in a fly-past of 100 jet fighters.
    The three are: Flying Officer R. T. Robinson (22), of Saxon Crescent; Pilot Officer J. W. D. Collins (30), of St. Aidan's Avenue; and Sgt. Pilot J. Jilek (32), of Roker Avenue.
    Flying Officer Robinson is a former member of 111 A.T.C. Squaderon. He will be flying a Meteor.
    Pilot Officer Collins - also at the controls of a Meteor - has been in the RAF since 1938.
    Sergt. Jilek, a Czechoslovakian war-time pilot, who rejoined the RAF in 1948 as a regular, will fly a Vampire.

    Jilek's name got my attaention, and a quick online search tells me that he was born in Czechoslovakia in 1918, served in the RAF during the war (as a Spitfire pilot?), marrying Kathleen Alfreda Day in 1943. He returned to Czechoslovakia after the war, then defected to Luneburg in 1948 in a Czech Air Force S-89. He applied for naturalisation as a British citizen in 1949. He emigrated to Canada in the mid 1950's, I believe, dying there in 1995.

    I wonder if any of our Czech members knew anything about his wartime career?

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Josef Jilek - wartime Czech pilot

    Hi Simon,

    787 467/198 371
    Josef Jilek has reached rank of P/O.
    He was indeed a fighter pilot flying Spitifires with 313 and 310 Sqs and he finished the WWII as instructor with 57 and 58 OTUs.

    His Czech WWII service record is available online:
    http://www.vuapraha.cz/sites/default...14.12.1918.pdf

    HTH

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Josef Jilek - wartime Czech pilot

    Great stuff Pavel, many thanks.

    The records explains why he was in the North East. The newspaper reports record that he met his future wife in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, presumably while he was at R.A.F. Eshott in Northumberland in May 1943? They married at Christchurch, Hampshire, almost at the other end of the country.

    The story of his defection with another Czech pilot is here:

    https://fcafa.com/2011/02/13/they-flew-to-freedom-1948/

    2 April 1948:
    Cpt. Jaroslav Slepica, ex-310 F/O pilot, and Cpt, Josef Jilek, ex-313 P/O pilot, were then serving Officers in the Czechoslovak Air Force. They were stationed at the Military Aviation Academy at Hradec Králové, near the Polish border on the Eastern side of Czechoslovakia, where they were flying instructors.
    On 2 April 1948 they took-off for a routine training flight in two S-89 aircraft [Spitfire LF.Mk IXe, s/no A722 and A732]. The planned flight was Pardubice to Malacky, near Bratislava in the Slovakia region of Czechoslovakia. When they were close to Malacky, they changed to a Westerly course and flew to Lüneburg in the British Zone in Germany.

    Jaroslav Slepica was killed in a flying accident at Kemble in 1949.

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by CZ_RAF; 17th February 2021 at 18:45. Reason: odd formatting, Pardubice spelling corrected
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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