The retired Brigadier General Miroslav Štandera was born on October 5, 1918 in Prague. His mother died when he was 10 years old and thus he grew up with only his father and three siblings. They lived in Dobruška nearby Nové Město nad Metují. Miroslav studied typography but has never practiced the education he had acquired at school. In 1936, he joined the military school of air-force cadets and in September 1938, he was mobilized to the 4th Czechoslovak Air Force Regiment, the separate 3rd wing in Pardubice. After the demobilization of the army and the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939, he fled across the border into Poland and together with other soldiers he sailed across the Baltic Sea to France. He joined the Foreign Legion and was sent to the German-French theater of war in May 1940. During his fourth flight, he was shot down near Troyes and ended up in a hospital in Clermont-Ferrand in the south of France. He at first planned to escape to the port of Bordeaux from the advancing German army, but eventually headed south. In the port of Narbonne, he boarded an Egyptian coal ship and crossed the Bay of Biscay to Liverpool. He got to Cholmondeley Park and since 1940 served in the 312th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). His air base became Cosford over Birmingham. In 1943, he was transferred to the 68th RAF Nocturnal Fighter Squadron, with which he participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. After the war, he returned to Czechoslovakia and served in Pilsen and in Trenčín. However, as a “western” aviator he was soon dismissed from the army and had to make a living by collecting secondary raw materials. In 1949, he learned about his impending arrest and thus he decided to leave the country. He crossed the border into West Germany and from there went to England. In the years 1949-1955, he once more served in the RAF. When he left the army, he got trained and then worked as a silversmith and later started his own businesses. In 1983 he retired. In the mid1990s, he permanently returned to the Czech Republic and spent the end of his life in Pilsen, where he died on February 19, 2014. He is the holder of numerous honors and decorations, including the Order of Merit and the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Miroslav Štandera passed away on February, the 19th, 2014.

Source: Memory of nation

Lest we forget!