Honorary radio re-enactments have been broadcast worldwide to remember Hockliffe’s heroic Second World War Barium paragroup.
Radio enthusiasts from the Czech Republic visited the village to commemorate the paragroup, which was comprised of members of the exiled Czechoslovakian government’s army and specialists from the British Forces.
Zdeněk Kober, Vojtech Horak, Martin Struna, and Jiri Bahounek hail from nearby Vysoka nad Labem, the village where the brave paragroup landed 70 years ago on the night of April 3-4, 1944.
The radio enthusiasts broadcast the same messages that were sent during 1944, transmitting the re-enactment newscasts as far as New York and Moscow.
While in occupied Czechoslovakia, Barium paragroup established contacts with other resistance groups, set up radio station Marta, helped collect intelligence materials, and prepared places suitable to land weapons and other equipment by parachute.
Part of the paragroup’s training took place in Hockliffe, while the village was also the site of Hockliffe Military Radio Centre, used by the exiled Czech government to keep in contact with its embassies around the world.
Hockliffe parish councillor Andy Burton, 45, said: “We, as a country, owe a lot to our allies in the war, whose help shortened the conflict and saved many lives.
“I am therefore investigating the feasibility of twinning our village with one in the Czech Republic.”
In 1940 Czechoslovakia’s president, Dr Benes, left for England after his country of refuge, France, was defeated.
He set up the Czechoslovakian government in exile, based in Aston Abbots and Wingrave.
In Hockliffe there were 10 signal operators and a cook all under one officer. They were based in three Nissan huts on Trinity College Farm, previously known as College Farm, where the re-enactors set up their radio masts close to the site of the originals.
Andy would like to know any further information about the Nissan Huts (which stood until 1970, although it is not known where) and the troops based in Hockliffe.
Contact Andy on 01525 211221 or email@example.com.
Some of the paragroup
> Jaroslav Bublik worked in Hockliffe from 1942 -1944 and was trained by Secret Operations Executive for a parachute mission. He moved to London in 1945, he retired to Lincolnshire in 1975 and died in 2000.
> Jiri Louda was posted to Hockliffe in 1943 with a knee injury due to commando training in Scotland. He enjoyed visiting the Bell pub. He went home in 1945, still living in the Czech Republic in 2006.
> Miroslav Umlauf worked in Hockliffe from 1945- 1946. In 1948 he and his English wife emigrated to Canada where they both still live (2006).