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"The Disinherited."
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News Chronicle
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First-Person Narratives
Flying Officer X Stories

A "Flying Officer X" portrait of a Czech pilot, who "in order to be one of us, to fly with us and fight with us...had come half across the world." The tale relates his long journey to becoming an R.A.F. pilot, and his linguistic isolation: "he does not know words that will express what he feels...Above all he does not know the words for himself and what he has done...Looking at his white hair, his dark eyes and his long hands, I am silent now." Of the two Czech pilots in the story, the character of ‘Machakek' can be identified as Sgt Vlastimil Machacek, whom Bates would have met when stationed with No 1 Fighter Squadron at Tangmere. Machacek was killed in April 1942. The character of Capek is typical of several other Czech pilots at Tangmere, such as F/Sgt Zdenek Bachurek who, like Capek, had served with the Czechoslovakian Air Force and had made his way to England after being interned in a Russian concentration camp. In News Chronicle (May 18, 1942), Argosy (September 1942), There's Something In The Air (1943), How Sleep The Brave and Other Stories (1943), Something In The Air (1944), The Stories of Flying Officer 'X' (1952), Elephant's Nest in a Rhubarb Tree & Other Stories (1989). Reprinted in Short Stories from the Second World War (1982), Short Stories from the Second World War (1984), The Best War Stories (1985).