Eighty years ago, in 1939, many Czechoslovak pilots left the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic. A large number of them found their way to Great Britain, where they joined the newly created Czechoslovak Squadron of the Royal Air Force. The exhibition Knights of the Heaven is dedicated to fighter and bomber pilots, technicians and other aviation personnel of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
The exhibition provides a long list of all two and half thousand people, with their basic biographical data, large-scale photographs, audio-visual material and, most particularly, dozens of original items that belonged to important figures in the RAF – the Generals Fajtl, Liškutín, Bryks, Nedved and others. The atmosphere is enriched by exhibits relating to air force actions: complete uniforms, diaries, state decorations, badges of individual squadrons and weapons.
The exhibition shows the military achievements and tragic ends of both remembered and neglected heroes of the air force from World War II. It does not forget their often sad fates after the war. Various kinds of discrimination escalated, particularly after the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia came to power in February 1948. Previous inclusion in Western units and resistance to the emerging ideology in many cases ended in imprisonment or other forms of persecution. For many pilots, it resulted in their exile. Only the events of 1989 brought the surviving RAF pilots and their families the deserved recognition.