Spitfire hero who fled his home country to battle Hitler dies, aged 98

Miroslav Liskutin
Miroslav Liskutin
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BRITAIN’S last-surviving Czech Spitfire pilot – who was the first man to land his plane in Nazi-held Normandy during D-Day – has died, aged 98.

Heroic Miroslav Liskutin was one of the Czech Republic’s most decorated fighter pilots from the war.

Miroslav Liskutin is his wartime flying days

Miroslav Liskutin is his wartime flying days

He survived 130 deadly missions into enemy territory, where his plane was blasted by anti-aircraft fire and machine guns as he escorted RAF bombers.

Now his grieving family has paid tribute to the ‘fearless’ veteran, who gave up life in his home country to help Britain battle Hitler.

Son Milos, 73, of Devonshire Way, Fareham, said: ‘My dad was very strong-willed, determined and absolutely fearless.

‘He would volunteer for as many missions as he could, no matter how many bullet holes were in his aeroplane.

‘The fact he survived the war was amazing. Someone was looking after him.’

Mr Liskutin was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1919. Always passionate about flying, he joined the Czechoslovak air force.

But in 1939 he fled the county after the Germans invaded, briefly joining the French before heading to England to continue fighting the Nazis.

He was accepted into the RAF and joined 145 Squadron flying from Catterick.

After flying convoy patrols he was sent to 312 (Czech) Squadron taking part in the Dieppe operation and in dive-bombing sorties.

He took part in the air cover provided during the D-Day landings and had the distinction of being the first allied aircraft to land in France after D-Day.

He was shot down by German fire and landed on a strip that had just been laid by the Royal Engineers.

‘They repaired his plane and he was back up again fighting,’ added Milos.

After the war he returned to Czechoslovakia with his family where he was given his nation’s top air force rank.

But as communism took over, he decided to leave his country and return to England, re-joining the RAF and eventually retiring as Station Commander at RAF Ouston in 1962.

He then became an instructor at the Civilian College of Air Training at Hamble, before becoming a chief flying instructor at Eastleigh airfield in 1972 and then heading to Zambia for work.

He retired from flying in 1979 and returned to England, eventually living at Norton Drive in Fareham.

His former government have since recognised his service and he was given the rank of Major General.

He died on February 19 and his funeral was on March 28. His ashes will be interred at his family’s plot in his home village of Jirikovice.

He leaves two sons, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.