František Moravec

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František Moravec (1895-1966)

František Moravec (July 23, 1895, Čáslav – July 26, 1966, Washington, D.C.) was Czechoslovak military intelligence officer before and during World War II.

In 1915 Moravec was drafted into Austro-Hungarian Army and sent to the Eastern Front, into Galicia. In September 1914 he fought at the Battle of Rawa. On January 13, 1915 Moravec was taken as prisoner by Russian troops and sent to the POW camp in Tsaritsyn. In 1916 he joined the Serbian Legion and fought in the Romanian Front, was moved from Archangel (Archangelsk) to Britain, and in 1917 joined the Czechoslovak Legions at the Salonica Front. In January 1918 the legions were sent to the Western Front in France and in summer 1918 to the Italian Front.

After the Great War he was sent to Slovakia to fight against the Hungarian and the Slovak Soviet Republic. After 1919 Moravec served as an army officer in Pilsen (Plzeň) and in 1930 he joined the military intelligence service and moved to Prague. During 1937–1939 Moravec was head of the service.

In the evening of March 14, 1939 he and 10 of his fellow intelligence officers secretly managed to fly away with the most valuable intelligence files and archives from Prague Ruzyně Airport to London Croydon Airport with a stopover in Rotterdam on ad hoc chartered KLM Douglas DC-3, as they knew in advance from their secret agents operating in Nazi Germany that the invasion leading to German occupation of Czechoslovakia was to be on March 15, 1939 at 6 a.m. Rescued files and archives were handed over to the British MI6 to be used against Germany.

Later in Britain, from 1940 to 1945, Moravec served as the chief of the intelligence service of Czechoslovak Government in Exile. The headquarters of the military intelligence were in Porchester Gate in London, but from 1940 his private residence was in Addington, Buckinghamshire. This was near Aston Abbotts where exiled President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš had his residence.

Moravec maintained secret radio contact with the Czech anti-Nazi Resistance group known as Three Kings Group from 1939 until 1942. He co-ordinated the Czechoslovak co-operation with SOE. He participated in planning and preparation of Operation Anthropoid resulting in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. He also planned the assassination of his namesake Emanuel Moravec — a traitor and Nazi collaborator who was also known as the "Czech Quisling".

František Moravec returned to Czechoslovakia in 1945 after the Nazi Germany defeat, but left secretly again in 1948, shortly after the communist takeover of power. He settled in the USA where he worked until his death as an intelligence advisor in the Department of Defense.

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