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Here is a series of photographs taken during the arrival of No. 312 (Czechosolovak) Squadron RAF at Plana airbase near Ceske Budejovice on 22 September 1945. Plana was designated as a permanent base for the unit after their return from the UK and a brief stay in Prague-Ruzyne.
The unit brought home a full complement of twenty-two factory-new Spitfires LF Mk. IX. Their arrival attracted a huge crowd, eager to greet the national heroes, in exile from their occupied country since 1938-1939. AIt was a joyful and touching moment.
No. 312 Squadron was incorporated into the reborn Czechoslovak Air Force, later becoming a nucleus of 4th and 5th air regiments with its A and B flights respectively. In 1948, the regiments helped to train Israeli pilots on Spitfires, and shortly after they handed over their remaining aircraft for export to Israel. [Petr Dolezal coll.]