A BOX containing earth from his homeland now rests on the grave of a Czech airman at Angle Church Cemetery.

The earth was brought from the Czech Republic by a father and son who made a flying visit to Pembrokeshire just after Christmas to find the grave of wartime fighter pilot Jan Doucha.

Martin Jezek (52) and his 19-year-old son - also called Jan - are cousins of Jan Doucha. When carrying out family history research they discovered that their relative was buried in the war graves section at Angle, and quickly planned a visit.

“We are connected through my grandmother whose maiden name was Doucha,” said Martin. “We flew to Bristol, travelled on to Pembroke where we stayed overnight before going on to Angle.”

Martin and Jan also added a photo of Jan Doucha to the grave along with crests including that of No 312 Squadron, RAF, which was mainly manned by Czech airman.

Later at the Hibernia Inn, Martin and Jan met with several villagers who help maintain the war graves in the churchyard. Several servicemen are buried there.

After a two-day visit to Wales Martin and Jan returned home, taking with them photographs, memories and some earth from Jan Doucha’s grave. They are in contact with aviation historians in their homeland and in Pembrokeshire and plan to return soon.

Jan Doucha joined the RAF after escaping from Czechoslovakia following the German invasion. He flew Spitfires with No 312 Squadron which early in 1942 was stationed at RAF Angle, providing fighter cover over the western approaches. The squadron moved to Devon later in the year.

In November 1942 Jan Doucha and squadron colleagues took part in an operation over occupied France and on the return flight Jan was forced to bail out of his Spitfire. He parachuted into the sea, but, despite repeated searches, he was not found.

Weeks later Jan’s body came ashore on a south Pembrokeshire beach and he was given a military honours funeral at Angle Churchyard, a short distance away from the RAF station where he had been stationed months earlier.