In the night of June 6, 1944 above Saint-Clair-sur-l’Elle
Saint-Clair-sur-L’Elle on June 6, 1944, the day thousands of men sacrificed their lives to save France and Western Europe…
So many died before reaching the beaches of Normandy.
A generation deprived of future; they were husbands, sons, fathers and brothers who now rest in the military cemeteries of Normandy.
These cemeteries, many of which located along the Cotentin coastline, are places of memory where millions of visitors come to honour their memory, but also reflect on Peace.
All these tragic events are archived and fully described by survivors and witnesses of the time.
Countless articles and books were published, and many paintings produced, all interesting and touching, some outstanding.
A while ago, one of these talented painters and aviation enthusiasts, Vlastimil Suchý, got in touch with us to ask for our help in identifying the village he painted from an old photo.
He used this village as the background for the Dakotas he represented flying on June 6, 1944.
He thought he recognized the village of Sainte-Mère-l’Eglise, but the layout of the village didn’t match.
After a challenging and existing research, we managed to find out that this was a photo of the village of Saint-Clair-sur-l’Elle in the middle of Cotentin!
We don’t normally write about individuals or businesses.
However, we fell for Vlastimil Suchý’s artistic talent and thought that his amazing paintings would be a different way of paying a tribute to all those who died in Normandy during WWII.
Vlastimil is not only passionate about painting but also about history and visited Normandy four times, in 1993, 1998, 1999 and 2010.
N.B. A note about the artist’s representation of the Spitfire Mk VB:
Wing Commander General František Peřina (08/04/1911- 06/05/2006) was a Czech fighter pilot in the Czechoslovak Air Force; he flew for the French Armée de l’Air during WWII and served twice in the British Royal Air Force.
Who is Vlastimil Suchý?
This is what Vlastimil says about himself.
“I was born on March 17, 1951 in the village of Citov, in the former Czechoslovakia.
As a child, I developed a passion for aeroplanes and always asked my Dad to take me to the Melnik Aeroclub Airshow.
I vividly remember (among others) the Il-10 Stormovik and Mig-15,Il-28.
One Christmas Eve, when I was 5, my Dad gave me a big wooden Mig-15 he made especially for me; my life-long passion for areoplanes began on that night!
Later, as a boy, I started to build wooden models in 1/32 scale and paint these aeroplanes with watercolours.
I finished primary school in 1966, and attended secondary technical school.
I graduated in 1970 and went to work as a technician for Aero Vodochody.
I returned in 1972, after my military service, and worked there until I retired in 2013.
I spent 43 happy years working in aviation among aeroplanes.
I have been a member of the Roudnice/nl Aerocluba since 1974, where I was licensed to fly gliders and single-engine aeroplanes until 1982.
In 1989, I started to paint for Boxart and created book covers for various Model kits producers and Printing companies in the Czech Republic.
Late 2001 I started to work with Trumpeter, a Chinese company that manufacturers plastic injection moulding military model kits, and still does it to this day.
Since 2013, I have been enjoying life at home where I can dedicate myself fully to my life-long hobby, painting aeroplanes and building wooden and plastic models.
I am married; we have three adults sons.”
All photos and paintings are copyrighted to Vlastimil Suchý
Coordinates Saint-Clair-sur-l’Elle: Lat 49.192572 – Long -1.029273