Support for man receiving OBE despite falsely claiming to have served in RAF during war

18-02-2004

It has emerged this week that a Czech man who is to receive the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II on Friday has been lying about his war record for almost 60 years. Jan Horal, who is 81, has claimed since the end of World War II that he flew in Britain's RAF, and for the Canadian Air Force in Africa. It turns out, however, that he actually served in the Czechoslovak Brigade tank division. Despite Mr Horal's lies many people have been quick to defend him, pointing to the great work he has done to help veterans over the years. Petr Uruba, one of hundreds of Czechs who did fly for the RAF during the war, knows Jan Horal. Earlier I asked him if he was surprised by this revelation.

The RAF pilotsThe RAF pilots "I heard something about it, but nothing that could prove it. And I wasn't the type of fellow who would want to poke into his story."

What do you personally think of the fact that he lied for so many years about his past, that he invented this story about being a pilot?

"I think it's just one of those things his enemies, or those who don't like him, spread about. I am certainly sure that he is of a fine character."

Is he the only case that you know of a Czech person lying about their past in the war? Do you know of any other cases?

"I just don't think about it. I know my fellows and I know those who pretend they served are more or less shunned by us. But as far as Horal is concerned I think he has good reason to maintain that he flew with the Canadian fighter squadron. No doubt about that."

18-02-2004