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English Corner: angličtina pro policisty 4

Britský Hawker Hurricane s obsluhou
Čtvrtý díl angličtiny pro policisty, tentokrát věnovaný pilotům RAF (Royal Air Force) během druhé světové války.
Britský Hawker Hurricane s obsluhou | Foto: ilustrační

Who Were “The Few”?

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed (1) by so many to so few” said Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech to Parliament on 20th August 1940 as the Battle of Britain raged overhead.

owe (1) - dlužit

In order to launch Operation “Sealion”, Hitler’s planned invasion of Britain across the English Channel that would remove the last democratic obstacle (2) to his domination of Europe, he had to destroy the RAF’s ability to attack his forces. Conquering or subduing (3) Britain would also prevent the re-supply of Russia, his next intended target.

obstacle (2) překážka
subdue (3) podmanit

The average member of the British public in the Spring of 1940 probably thought of the typical RAF pilot as carefree, out for a good time, doing a bit of flying within a club setting and able to impress the ladies on a Saturday night with the lads (4).

lad (4) mládenec

In reality nothing was further from the truth, but as the Fleet Street adage (5) goes: “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. Wartime flying, piloting a 350 mph fighter daily to within an inch of your life, was in fact a deadly serious business requiring a cool head and a steady (6), calculating nerve. Only a fool would treat it casually as, if he did, he would soon be bounced by an Me 109 and become another name on a war memorial.

adage (5) přísloví
steady (6) stálý, stabilní

The average age of an RAF pilot in 1940 was about 20 years. Some were as young as 18 and there were others over 30. In those days, with the age of majority (7) set at 21, many of the RAF’s Battle of Britain pilots were not old enough to vote but not too young to lay down their lives in the face of a life and death struggle to save Britain from coming under the tyranny of the Nazis.

the age of majority (7) dospělost

Not all were British – in fact Fighter Command was a cosmopolitan mix. There were Poles (141), Czechs (87), Belgians (24) and Free French (13) who swelled the ranks along with those from the British Commonwealth and other nations who answered the call for pilots wanting to defend freedom.

Roughly two-thirds of the 3,000 or so RAF pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain were officers, the other third being sergeant and flight sergeant pilots.

In 1940 a pilot officer could expect to earn £264 per annum, roughly equivalent to just over £30,000 in today’s money, and non-commissioned officers (8) quite a bit less, despite facing the same dangers: both received an allowance (flying pay) recognising their aircrew status. In addition their numbers were beefed up (9) with pilots from the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) – made up those from the largely middle and upper classes who trained at weekend hence (10) they earned the nickname “weekend warriors”), who provided a civilian pool of extra capability during emergencies.

non-commissioned officers (8) vojáci s nižší hodností
numbers were beefed up (9) jejich počty byly navýšeny
hence (10) proto/ z toho důvodu

One fighter squadron – 601 (County of London) Sqn was known as the “Millionaires’ mob” because it was formed by a group of wealthy aristocrats. But on the outbreak of war the AAF was subsumed (11) into the RAF and its squadrons became normal frontline squadrons.

subsume (11) zahrnout

Other sources of manpower were the University Air Squadrons (UASs), created to attract young talent to the Service, and the Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).

Outnumbered 5 to 1 by both machine and men, RAF pilots had radar and one significant other advantage over the Germans – they were defending their homeland. If a pilot crashed or baled out over land he was likely to be over friendly territory. It was an altogether different story for a German pilot. Once they had left the shores of northern Europe they were in hostile skies for nearly the rest of the sortie (12). During engagements they could easily run short of fuel since no German aircraft in 1940 had been designed with long range operations in mind.

sortie (12) vojenský výpad

The cost of the Battle was high – of the nearly 3,000 aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain 544 lost their lives and of the remainder (13) a further 814 died before the end of the War. The Battle of Britain Monument on the Victoria Embankment (14), London, records the names of the 2,936 flyers from the 15 nations who flew for Britain in the Battle.

Said Winston Churchill: "The gratitude (15) of every home in our island, in our Empire and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes (16) of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen, who, undaunted (17) by odds, unwearied 18) in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess 19) and devotion.

Today about 125 aircrew who flew in the Battle are alive and scattered (20) around the globe. Most are members of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

remainder (13) zbývající 
Embankment (14) nábřeží
gratitude (15) vděčnost 
abodes (16) bydliště
undaunted (17) nezlomený
unwearied (18) neunavený
prowess (19) zručnost
scatter (20) rozptýlit

Source: Raf.Mod.Uk (25th August 2015)


Answer the questions

  1. 1. What was the immediate cause of WWII?
  2. 2. Name the two opposing military alliances.
  3. 3. What was the Molotov Ribbetrop Pact?
  4. 4. Which two countries were the first to declare war on Germany?
  5. 5. What was Hitler’s primary justification for invading Russia?
  6. 6. Which country was the site of most of the Nazi extermination camps?
  7. 7. What was the code name given to Germany’s plan to invade the USSR?
  8. 8. Who was the British Prime Minister at the outbreak of the Second World War?
  9. 9. What was the name of the very rigorous training course that took place in Arisaig, Scotland, where the Czech paratroop agents received their special training?
  10. 10. Where in Prague is the famous winged lion statue – the memorial honoring the Czech pilots and paratroopers working within RAF?


  1. 1. The German invasion of Poland, September 1939, so called Gleiwitz incident
  2. 2. Allies, Axis
  3. 3. Treaty of non-aggression between Germany and Soviet Union
  4. 4. England and France
  5. 5. Germany needed more space for its population
  6. 6. Poland
  7. 7. Operation Barbarossa
  8. 8. Neville Chamberlain
  9. 9. SOE (Special Operations Executive)
  10. 10. Klárov (Malá Strana)




Vložil: Karolína Košařová
Publikováno: 28. 01. 2016

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