War veteran Emil Boček in a picture from February 11, 2022.
Prague/Brno – War veteran and the last surviving Czech fighter pilot of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) Emil Boček was congratulated on his 100th birthday by the British King Charles III. A letter from him was handed over to Boček today by the British ambassador to the Czech Republic, Matthew Field, who reported on it on Twitter. General Boček celebrated his hundredth birthday on February 25, he lives in his native Brno.
In a letter whose photo Field published, the British king sent Boček his warmest congratulations, with the word warmest underlined. In addition to signing the letter, he also wrote an address. In an otherwise printed letter on Buckingham Palace letterhead dated February 22, Charles III. stated that the indomitable bravery, determination and devotion to duty of Boček and his fellow soldiers will never be forgotten in Great Britain.
Boček left Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to fight at the age of 16. He took part in the battles for France, then joined the RAF in Britain, where he worked as a mechanic. He completed flight training in Canada and from 1944 participated in aerial combat in the Czechoslovak 310th Fighter Squadron in the British Air Force on Spitfires. He has 26 operational flights to his credit, flying for 73 hours and 50 minutes. He received high Czechoslovak and British war decorations for his combat heroism. In 2010, President Václav Klaus awarded him the highest state award, the Order of the White Lion III. class, President Miloš Zeman awarded him the same order of the highest class in 2019.
King Charles III, still as heir to the throne Charles, met Czech war veterans and RAF pilots in 2000 at the organization's home for the elderly Sue Ryder in Prague's Michli when he was visiting the Czech Republic. At that time, eight veterans from the Second World War took part in the meeting, including General Alois Šiška.