In Prague, fighter pilot Miroslav Standera has passed away. Standera fled Czechoslovakia so that he could fight alongside the British and French air forces in the Second World War. Standera was 95 years old.
The council officials in Standera’s hometown of Plzen stated that he passed away on Wednesday, February 19th. They didn’t give the cause of death.
Standera was born a month after the end of the First World War and he graduated from an aviation school in 1939. He fled the country once Nazi Germany took over.
He joined the French Air Force and fought the German invasion there in May of 1940. He was severely wounded during a dogfight a month later but he was able to maneuver a safe crash-landing. The Czech Defense Ministry stated that Standera was the last surviving Czech pilot that flew for France during the war.
When France Surrendered, Standera became a founding member of the Royal Air Forces’s Number 312 Fighter Squadron. The squad was comprised of Czech pilots; 88 countrymen, including himself, served as RAF pilots during the Battle of Britain that year.
According to the New Zealander Herald Later in the war, he flew twin-engine fighter-bombers on raids during the night. He flew into France and Germany and he clocked 1,320 hours of flying time during combat.
After 1948 when the Communists took over Czechoslovakia, Standera fled to Britain in order to escape the persecution of those who served in Western forces during the war. Later, he rejoined the RAF and was able to retire in 1955.
After he retired from his military career, he worked as a silversmith in Britain. Then in 1983 he resettled in Bavaria in Germany. He returned to his homeland in 1994.
President Vaclav Havel granted Standera the honorary rank of brigadier general for the Czech military at a ceremony held in 2000.
“Once you start flying, you won’t stop until you die,” Standera said in September when he was guest of honor at a celebration of his 95th birthday at an airport near Plzen.