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Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs in Cholmondeley

(This article expired 03.07.2014.)

A memorial act was held on the estate of the Marquess of Cholmondeley on Sunday 4 July.

The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Jan Kohout laid a wreath to a monument dedicated on 28 September 1940 to members of the Czechoslovak soldiers and airmen. The Chief of General Staff gen. Vlastimil Picek, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, Lady Rose Cholmondeley, as well as a number of the Czechoslovak veterans were also present.

On the land of the then 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley, over 3,500 men were dislocated in 1940, later becoming a core of the RAF units. More than 5,600 of the Czechoslovak soldiers passed through Cholmondeley base during the WWII; many of them took part in the Dunkerque siege.

Altogether 3,563 Czechoslovak soldiers served at the RAF units.Czechoslovaks were the second largest group of nationals (after Poland) other than those from the Commonwealth countries, to fight in the Battle of Britain.

The memorial was made by František Bělský (1921-2000), then artillery soldier, who later became a renowned sculpturer. He was an author of the royal family busts in the National Portrait Gallery, a bust of Admiral Cunningham on the Trafalgar Square, a sculpture of Lord Mountbatten on the Horse Guards, as well as the Shell Centre fountain to name but few.

Memorial with the bench

Cholmondeley bench dedication