Arisaig memorial

it was very touching and gratifying to read the obituary for Lt Col Dr Jirí Louda (23 September).

Readers may be interested to read that Jirí Louda was one of the contingent of 574 Czech and Slovak soldiers recruited from the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured brigade to train as SOE agents.

Of these, 308 trained in the SOE schools in Arisaig, and among these was Sgt Jirí Louda who attended the fourth course in October and November 1941.

However, later, during parachute training at the Manchester airport, Louda broke his leg and was not, therefore, parachuted behind the enemy lines as intended.

There, only during 13 missions in 1941-1943, the Czechoslovak SOE agents suffered an extremely high casualty rate of 89 per cent, and altogether, during parachute missions and other actions, 72 of Louda’s fellow trainees laid their lives for freedom of others.

A memorial to Czechoslovak SOE trainees, now classified as a war grave, was unveiled in Arisaig in 2010.

(Dr) Paul Millar

Hon Consul-General

Czech Republic in