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Appalled at the German occupation of his homeland in 1939, Frank Mares determined to assist his country in their battle for freedom in the only way he could – as a fighter pilot. Unable to do so from Czechoslovakia he began his mission, navigating his way through Poland to France, through manned borders, guarded stations and hostile territory, in order to assist the offensive against their common enemy.

Armed with fake identities, evading arrest and faced with uncertainties and frustrations at every turn, his journey was one of courage and fortitude. Narrowly avoiding a five-year enlistment in the foreign legion, Frank eventually made it into the French Air Force and finally, following the withdrawal of France from the war, joined 601 Squadron with the British RAF.

Patriotic and determined, he was involved in numerous dogfights and had many engagements with the enemy, flying Hurricanes, of which he was particularly fond. In all of the battles that he fought in the skies with German Luftwaffe pilots, he was never shot down. In 1942 he was decorated with the DFM and Czech War Cross.

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