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The 276th Sqdn. (reenacted) RAF, o. s. Living History Group

Email: filip@276.cz

We are the oldest living history group in Central Europe focused exclusively on the history of the Czechoslovak members of the Royal Air Force and Women´s Auxiliary Air Force.

Our living history group takes part in aviation days both in the Czech Republic and abroad, where it presents uniforms and equipment once used by the RAF and WAAF as well as other items. The following are examples of such events: the Aviation Fair in Pardubice, the “Žlutomodrý Den Berry” Aviation Fair as well as international events – e.g., the event commemorating the “Great Escape” from the Stalag Luft III Sagan POW camp in Żagań, Poland and the East Kirkby Reenactment Weekend in Great Britain.

We have also cooperated on several documentary films produced both by private companies and by Czech Television (Česká televize) – for example: Osud na nebi Josefa Janeby (The Fate in Josef Janeba’s Sky), Nepřítelem osudu (The Enemy of Fate), Muž, který přecenil českou duši or Útěky Josefa Brykse (The Man Who Overestimated the Czech Soul, or The Escapes of Josef Bryks and Dejte nám křídla (Give Us Wings – a documentary film about the history of Czechoslovak aviation).

Our Living History Group has been engaged in the preparation of numerous exhibitions and regularly participates in memorial ceremonies and the unveiling of commemorative plaques or monuments.

We proudly organized the “Meeting of the Sky Riders” event, an exhibition about the Czechoslovak members of the RAF and WAAF and the legendary Czechoslovak movie „Riders in the Sky“, which included bringing together the film´s actors and creators with former RAF members. We prepared the event “Victims of the Holocaust and RAF Members from Trhová Kamenice”.

It was our pleasure to help organize the ceremony for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for Stanislav Rejthar, former member of the RAF and 1st Czechoslovak Fighter Air Regiment in the USSR, and the commemorative event dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the crash of a Wellington bomber JN−L from the 150 Squadron RAF in Němčičky near Znojmo.

Location and Range of Activities:

Our living history group is officially located in Prague in the Czech Republic, but we are active across whole the Czech Republic.

Why we chose the 276 Squadron:

Even though the 276 Squadron RAF actually did exist, our group was named after the film „Nebeští jezdci“ (Riders in the Sky), the best Czechoslovak film ever made about the operation of our airmen during WWII. The film characters were members of the 276 Bomber Squadron – made up of airmen of several nationalities, i.e., it was a fictitious squadron that had nothing to do with the real 276 Squadron. Because the members of our group are interested in both bombers and fighters, we did not want to connect our activities to either a real fighter or bomber squadron. Moreover, our goal is to remember all our RAF veterans including members of the WAAF.

Our emblem:

The Bohemian lion is placed in the center and colored red – one of our national colors. Our motto expresses how and for whom we devote ourselves to reenactment – we do it to commemorate our respect for the veterans (“For them”). Our living history group was created out of our passion for RAF reenactment; we did not want to practice only as individuals but as part of a team and, naturally, in the best possible fashion (“For us”). One of the reasons why we pursue military history is the fact that we wish to remind our fellow citizens of our airmen that fought in WWII. Finally, we engage in RAF reenactment because we want to preserve this period of our history for future generations (“For you”).

Are you interested in the fate of former RAF members from Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic? You can visit our website, www.276.cz, to ask us, support us or become our members.

A shot from the filming of the staged documentary film The Enemy of Fate, produced by Unitedfilm. The film commemorates Franišek Truhlář – first, he was an aerial gunner for the RAF, but then, after being seriously burned in a crash, he became a fighter pilot after recovery. Upon returning from an operation, he crashed and was again seriously burned.

We had the opportunity to participate, or rather moderate, a number of talks with war veterans. Brigadier General Miroslav Štandera, a former member of the 312 Czechoslovak Squadron, is in the picture.

On the commemorative trip of compatriot Josef František, fighter pilot of the 303 Polish Squadron, the most successful Allied fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain. The club´s president acted as guide for the trip.

Shots from the filming of the documentary series for Czech Television about the history of Czechoslovak aviation, Give Us Wings.

One of the many forms our demonstrations take for aviation days. This photograph is from the 2009 Aviation Fair which takes place each year in Pardubice.

The unveiling of the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and RAF members from Trhová Kamenice, which was organized by our military history club.

Photograph of the memorial to the members of the Wellington bomber crew from the 150 Squadron RAF which crashed in nearby Němčičky, Znojmo District. Our military history club cooperated in the organization of the memorial ceremony for the 70th anniversary of this event.

A shot from a reconstruction of camp life in a POW camp. The demonstration on this subject took place as a part of the 65th anniversary of the “Great Escape” from the POW camp of Stalag Luft III Sagan.

The East Kirkby Reenactors Weekend. Photograph from a visit to the restaurant Blue Bell, which was frequented by aviators of the “Dam Busters” Squadron.

Joint exposition with friends from the Polish “Grupa historyczne lotnictwa Polskiego” from Kraków as part of an aviation day. This Polish military history club was founded after having been inspired by our participation in the 65th anniversary of the “Great Escape.”

In 2014, a representative from our club gave a lecture at the international conference “Historia skrzrydłami malowana” in Koszalin, Poland.

The photography is from the archives of our military history club. Not all people photographed are are members and not all equipment belongs to our club.