Jaroslav Hofrichter was born on September 23, 1920 in Pilsen. He apprenticed as a lathe operator. From the age of fifteen he went to the Pilsen Aeroclub. At the age of eighteen, he enrolled in the “1000 Pilots to the Republic” event, which was to train reserves for the Czechoslovak Air Force. Before the start of the training, Czechoslovakia was occupied.

In 1940, he took the so-called Balkan route through Hungary and Yugoslavia to British Palestine, where he joined the Czechoslovak army abroad. From there he got through Africa (visited Somalia, Durban, Cape Town) via Canada to Great Britain, where he enlisted in the Air Force. He did not get to the pilot school but managed to complete a shooting course.

In England, he was assigned to the 311th Bomber Squadron of the RAF. He first fought for Britain as a gunner in raids on Germany. In 1943 he was transferred to the Coastal Command of the RAF, until the end of the war he served to pursue of submarines and attacks on naval convoys. Between 1941 and 1945, he flew 680 operating hours on Wellington and Liberator planes.

After the end of World War II, he returned to Czechoslovakia and joined the Air force as a flight engineer of the Air Transport Regiment in Kbely.

In March 1949, he was arrested for 14 days for secretly transporting consignments to friends who emigrated to England. He was investigated and interrogated for several days, but was not charged. Subsequently, he had to leave the army without being given a reason. Then, until his retirement, he worked at Tesla in Prague as an automaton adjuster.

Together with other war veterans, he participated in discussions with students.

Colonel Jaroslav Hofrichter was the holder of a number of Czechoslovak (three times awarded the War Cross, medal for bravery), Czech and Allied decorations.

In 1990 he was extraordinarily appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel and in 1991 he became a colonel.   In 2008, the city district of Prague 4 granted him honorary citizenship. He is also a holder of honorary citizenship of the Prague 18 district.

In 2011, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic nominated him for the Order of the White Lion. In 2014, he received the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic, 1st degree. In 2015, on the occasion of his life anniversary, he received a commemorative medal from the director of the Regional Military Command of the Army of the Czech Republic in Pilsen.

Jaroslav Hofrichter died on May 9, 2016 in Prague.

In 2017, the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic nominated him for a state award.In 2020, the Deputy Mayor of the Prague 18 District, through the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, submitted a proposal to grant the highest state award of the Czech Republic to Jaroslav Hofrichter. The proposal was also supported by representatives of the city of Pilsen. Jaroslav Hofrichter did not become the Senate nominee for the state award for 2020.

Lest we forget!!!

From October 22, an exhibition 100 years of the birth of Col. Hofrichter takes place in the Regional Information Center of the Pilsen Region and Bavaria on Republic Square in Pilsen. prepared by the Czech Aviation Association – Pilsen Airmen. Source: wikipediaPhoto: Memory of the Nation