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Commemoration of the 82nd anniversary of the arrival of Czechoslovak armed forces to Great Britain in Cholmondeley

On Saturday, July 9, a commemorative event for the 82nd anniversary of the arrival of Czechoslovak armed forces in Great Britain took place at Cholmondeley Castle in the county of Cheshire. The event was hosted by the owner of the castle, David, Marquess of Cholmondeley and its main organizer was Memorial Association for Free Czechoslovak Veterans. The event was also attended by a number of important personalities associated with the legacy of Czechoslovak troops in the United Kingdom. The Embassy was represented by Ambassador Marie Chatardová and Defense Attaché Brigadier General Vratislav Beran.

The commemorative event began with a commemorative mass at the Czechoslovak Army Memorial, which was created in 1940 by one of the Czechoslovak soldiers, and later famous sculptor, Franta Bělský and was unveiled by Jan Masaryk. The participants of then moved to the adjacent Chapel of St. Nicholas, which was very closely associated with the activities of the Czechoslovak troops, and where the Marquess of Cholmondeley, together with the chairperson of the MAFCV Gerry Manolas, unveiled information boards about the activities of the Czechoslovak troops in the region.

In July 1940, the land adjacent to Cholmondeley Castle became a refuge for more than three and a half thousand troops of the Czechoslovak Army, who moved here after the failed defense of France. The soldiers were re-grouped here, creating a brigade and three Czechoslovak RAF squadrons. Over time, the overall Czechoslovak military infrastructure consisted of the Ministry of Defence, a brigade, four RAF squadrons and training and administrative units.

Among the soldiers who stayed in Cholmondeley were also future paratroopers Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík, who later assassinated Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich as part of Operation Anthropoid. Historian John Martin, author of 'The Mirror Caught the Sun: Operation Anhtropoid 1942', arranged for a plaque commemorating their time at Cholmondeley to be placed on the castle wall ahead of the event.

The Czech government-in-exile used the premises of Cholmondeley in the period between July 7 and October 16, 1940, when it moved its camps to the spa town of Leamington Spa and nearby villages.

For this year, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London has prepared a series of information-commemorative events called "80 years of Operation Anthropoid", the commemorative event was part of this series.


Cholmondeley 2022