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Britons honor Czechoslovaks who fought for RAF

The monument in memory of Czechoslovak WWII pilots in the British Royal Air Force (RAF), which is opposed by heritage protectors, was unveiled in a park in Prague centre, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The two-metre bronze statue of a winged lion, made by British sculptor Colin Spofforth, stands on a concrete plinth. It was donated by the British community living in the Czech Republic. (AP Photo/CTK, Vit Simanek) SLOVAKIA OUT
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PRAGUE (AP) -- A memorial honoring 2,500 Czechoslovakians who fought against Nazi Germany in Britain's air force has been unveiled in Prague.

The two-meter (6-foot-6) bronze statue of a winged lion by Colin Spofforth is placed in a park in the central and picturesque Little Quarter. It was unveiled Tuesday by Nicholas Soames, a grandson of Britain's wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Corporate and individual sponsors from the British expatriate community donated 100,000 pounds ($170,000) for the project.

The soldiers, including 88 respected pilots, fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to join the Royal Air Force. They participated in the Battle of Britain in World War II. Some 500 died.

Authorities approved the project despite a claim by the National Heritage Institute that its location wasn't suitable, saying another monument is already in the small park.

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