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Beaufighter and Mosquito Operations in WWII (Hardback)

The Memoirs of a Radar Operator

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Royal Air Force

By Col Zbyšek Nečas-Pemberton
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 296
Illustrations: 100 black and white integrated illustrations
ISBN: 9781526789570
Published: 30th September 2022


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Zbyšek Nečas was just 18, and still a high school student, when he escaped from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia a month before the outbreak of war in 1939. He managed to make his way to Britain where he had a cousin.

Nečas enlisted in the RAF in 1940, initially being posted as an interpreter at the Czech Depot. Some of his early duties involved the interrogation of captured German aircrew. He was, however, determined to fly. That wish came not as a pilot, but as a radar operator.

In time, Nečas was posted to 68 Squadron, which throughout the war had a large number of Czech exiles on its strength – one flight was entirely Czech-manned. In this moving memoir, he details just what it was like to serve as part of an RAF night fighter crew during the second half of the Second World War. From the organisation of squadron and operations, to the directing of night fighters in the bomber stream, problems of maintaining contact with the target, the duration of patrols to interception tactics, all, and more, is revealed in this book. Having trained on the Blenheim Mk.IV, Nečas’ operational patrols began on Bristol Beaufighters, the squadron subsequently converting to de Havilland Mosquitoes.

There are of course, the graphic accounts of victory in the air. This includes combat with a Heinkel He 177 Grief over North Sea, or the explosion of a Dornier Do 217 after another successful interception. As well as nighttime intruder operations over Europe, from the summer of 1944, 68 Squadron, Nečas included, found itself drawn into the battle against Hitler’s V-weapons, particularly the V1. Nečas’ crew ended the war with three confirmed kills, one probable, and two damaged.

After the war, Nečas returned to his homeland where he received the tragic news that that none of his immediate family had survived the German occupation. This is Zbyšek Nečas’ story of his part in the defence of Britain’s skies and the final victory against the Third Reich.

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About Col Zbyšek Nečas-Pemberton

Born on 6 March 1921, ZBYŠEK NEČAS was just eighteen, and still a student, when he escaped from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia a month before war broke out. He made his way to Britain where he had a cousin. He eventually enlisted in the RAF, and having trained as a radar operator, eventually served in Beaufighters and Mosquitoes. After the war, Zbyšek returned to his homeland, only to learn that none of his immediate family had survived, having been killed in the Holocaust. He returned to the UK, re-enlisted in the RAF, and changed his name to John Pemberton to protect himself from the Communists who had seized power in Czechoslovakia. Colonel Nečas-Pemberton was awarded the Medal for Heroism by the President of the Czech Republic in June 2017. He passed away on 15 March 2018, aged 97.

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