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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Crest
07.08.1943 No. 111 OTU B-25 Mitchell FV953 P/O. Jan Hadravek

Operation: Training

Date: 07th August 1943 (Saturday)

Unit: 111 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: B-25 Mitchell (41-30495)

Serial No: FV953

Code: FA

Location: Near Oakes Field Airbase

Base: Oakes Field, Nassau (Now Pindling International Airport)

Pilot 1: P/O. Jan Hadravek 149112 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Vitezslav Briza 787155 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Jaroslav Mares 101497 RAFVR Age 39. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Josef Turna 788278 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Z. Karel Salz 788106 RAFVR Age 31 Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Awaiting for further information from relatives but it seems that the B-25 dived into the ground at 15:02 hrs. During a training flight after taking off from RAF Oakes Field in Nassau, Bahamas. All the Czechoslovakian crew were killed.

Above L-R: P/O. Jan Hadravek, Sgt. Josef Turna, Sgt. Z. Karel Salz, Sgt. Vitezslav Briza and Fl/Lt. Jaroslav Mares (courtesy Lubomír Hrnčíř)

P/O. Jan Hadrávek featured 2nd from left, Fl/Lt. Jana Hrnčíře DFC, AFM 3rd from right - Do you recognise any others? (courtesy Petr Jahn and Lubomír Hrnčíř)

Fl/Lt. Jana Hrnčíře DFC, AFM 1st on left, P/O. Jan Hadrávek 4th from left. Two others marked with a cross when we received this photo - same crew? 2nd and 1st on right. (courtesy Petr Jahn and Lubomír Hrnčíř)

Above and below the crash site (courtesy Lubomír Hrnčíř)


P/O. Hadrávek had an earlier lucky escape during training as an LAC in 1941. On a Tiger Moth T7227 (1) being flown by F/O. Frantiskek Glauder when the aircraft crashed at Bourton in Berkshire. Both of the crew survived.

P/O. Jan Hadrávek 3rd from the right - do you recognise the others? (courtesy Elaine La Marr)

(1) Survived the war and sold as G-ALWU to Air Service Training Ltd. Sold again and sent to Australia for crop dusting (Air Mist Ltd), registered as VH-BTC when it was destroyed near Urana New South Wales in September 1965.

Funeral of the crew at Nassau War Cemetery - coffin on right is that of Jan Hadravek (courtesy Petr Jahn and Lubomír Hrnčíř)

Burial details:

We understand that the deaths of the crew are commemorated every year back in their country and also a memorial has been made. (now shown left)

Fl/Lt. Jaroslav Mares. Nassau War Cemetery. Grave: East A.3. From Czechoslovakia - awaiting next of kin details. Born on the 14th April 1904.

Grave marker for P/O. Jan Hadravek (courtesy Petr Jahn)

P/O. Jan Hadrávek. Nassau War Cemetery. Grave: East A.4. From Czechoslovakia - awaiting next of kin details. Before he was commissioned his RAF number had been 787356. Born on 11th February 1918.

Sgt. Josef Turna. Nassau War Cemetery. Grave: East A.5. From Czechoslovakia - awaiting next of kin details. Born on the 2nd January 1917.

Sgt. Z. Karel Salz. Nassau War Cemetery. Grave: East B.1. From Czechoslovakia - awaiting next of kin details. Born on the 17th September 1911.

Sgt. Vitezslav Briza. Nassau War Cemetery. Grave: West A.3. From Czechoslovakia - awaiting next of kin details. Born on the 21st February 1920.

Aircrew Remembered own Archives, information from relatives. The page is dedicated to relatives of the crew with thanks to Elaine La Marr and Petr Jahn (relatives of P/O. Hadrávek) for photographs and assisting with the gathering of information. Also to Lubomír Hrnčíř for further photographs and identification of some of the crew. His father, Fl/Lt. Jana Hrnčíře DFC, AFM also served with this squadron and took many photographs.

KTY 22.06.2015 - New photographs added. 15-05-2017 Correct Aircraft serial number added - courtesy Jack Brook

KTY 22.01.2022 - New photographs added plus narrative.

KTY 28.06.2022 - Further details added, courtesy of RS

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 28 June 2022, 09:37

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