What would you give for freedom? Squadron Leader M. A. “Tony” Liskutin has shown time and again that, for him, freedom is indeed precious. A native of Czechoslovakia, Liskutin was determined to fight the Germans, who, in March 1939, controlled his country. Having just completed flight training, and with his homeland under Nazi occupation, he made a daring escape into Poland. He soon made his way to London via Sweden and then on to France to become a foreign legionnaire. After a stint in the infantry, Liskutin was assigned to the Colonial Air Force in Morocco and, in November 1939, was sent to France.
In June 1940, as France collapsed in the face of the German blitzkrieg, Liskutin once again escaped, this time across the Channel to Britain. Transitioning to the English-speaking Royal Air Force (RAF) took a year, but his persistence was rewarded with an assignment to 145 Squadron flying Spitfires. He was soon sent to 312 Squadron, a Czech unit, in which he flew until March 1945, when he was assigned to 313 Squadron. During three operational tours, Liskutin often crossed the channel to challenge the Germans. He flew numerous ground attack and bomber escort missions and participated in the hard fought battle for air superiority over the ill-fated Dieppe operation. Later, he earned the Czechoslovak War Cross and Medal for Valor, and the British Distinguished Flying Cross for damaging or destroying six enemy aircraft and one V-1 Buzz-bomb.
In 1945, with peace secured, veteran pilot Liskutin returned to a free Czechoslovakia to help rebuild his homeland’s air force. By 1948, Communists gained control of the country. With his loyalty questioned due to his time in the West and arrest imminent, Liskutin left Czechoslovakia for the last time. Returning to Britain and the open arms of the RAF, he instructed in the Spitfire, Oxford, Wellington, and Harvard. As a flight commander with 215 Advanced Flying School, and later with the Middle East Air Force, Liskutin instructed in the RAFs first jet fighter, the Meteor.
Ordered to Britain in 1956, he commanded 85 Squadron flying a night-fighter version of the Meteor. In 1962, after tours as a station commander and staff officer, Squadron Leader Liskutin retired from the RAF. In civilian life, he instructed with the British Airways College of Air Training and the Southampton School of Flying. Before finally retiring from flying in 1979, he served as Deputy Principal and Chief Flying Instructor of the Zambia Air Services Training Institute in Lusaka.