Paravýsadek Silver A

These three men together formed the paratrooper group Silver A. From the left, First Lieutenant Aflréd Bartoš, called Fred, Sergeant Josef Valčík and Lance Corporal Jiří Potůček, also known by his code name Tolar.

The tasks with which they were sent to the Protectorate were very important and certainly not easy. First, they were to restore the connection with London, which had been interrupted for several months. Their next task was to build a coordination center for the activities of other paratroopers. And finally, it was necessary to establish contact with Staff Captain Václav Morávek, one of the members of the resistance group Three Kings, to get in touch with the famous A-54 agent Paul Thümmel through him.


Together with the Silver B and Anthropoid groups, they were landed over the territory of the Protectorate on the night of 28th to 29th December 1941. However, due to a navigational error, it was not near Chrudim, as planned, but near the villages of Senice and Podmoky near Poděbrady. Despite the complicated beginnings, all three paratroopers began to perform their tasks without delay.

STEN MKII – interactive model
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Some paratroopers were equipped with the STEN MKII submachine gun. The weapon could be disassembled into three basic parts. The magazine had a capacity of 32 rounds of 9 mm Parabellum and the weight of the weapon with an empty magazine was 3.3 Kg.

Quarry Hluboká

Jiří Potůček restored radio contact with London on 15th January 1942 using the Libuše transmitter. From then on, London received news about the situation in the Protectorate almost daily, whether it was broadcasted from the Hluboká quarry, Lázně Bohdaneč or the school in Bohdašín.

Radio station Libuše

Potůček Broadcasts

Pardubice 1941

štkp. Václav Morávek 

Švandův mill 

School in Bohdašín

A wide network of collaborators in Pardubice and its surroundings helped SILVER A to obtain the necessary information and to connect with Václav Morávek. However, Pardubice was the headquarter of the intelligence service and the control center for all events.

It was thanks to them that in the first months of 1942 a handsome waiter Šolc appeared in the Veselka Hotel in Pardubice, whose features could have strikingly resembled Josef Valčík…

Hotel Veselka
Josef Valčík’s place of work

When Valčík was in danger to be discovered in Pardubice, he moved to Moravia and later to Prague, where he cooperated with other paratroopers in the Protectorate. He took part in an unsuccessful raid on the Škoda factory in Pilsen. He also shared his last days with his colleagues, hiding in the crypt of St. Cyril and Methodius church in Prague, where after several hours of fighting on June 18th, 1942, he also kept the last bullet for himself. His commander, Alfréd Bartoš outlived him by only four days. He shot himself in Pardubice while fleeing from the Gestapo.

Resistance Group S 21 B
This resistance group operating in the Červenokostelec region was made up of members of the Sokol District of Podkrkonoše-Jirásek led by Josef Schejbal.

One of its most important tasks was to provide a replacement transmitter, which a member of the Silver A group, radio operator Jiří Potůček, came to Malé Svatoňovice to test. An equally important task was to provide a retreat route and a reliable shelter for betrayed paratroopers.

Jiří Potůček thus found refuge first with Ladislav Satran in the Bohdašín school, then with Antonín Burdych in Končiny, from where he was supposed to move to Karel Ježek. But he didn‘t arrive there because he was discovered in Končiny.

Respect is due facing the personal bravery of Josef Schejbal, Karel Ježek and other Sokol members, who, despite the unimaginable suffering during the interrogations, neither spoke out nor revealed the names of their collaborators.

Jiří Potůček

The last person from SILVER A to remain alive was radio operator Jiří Potůček. He sent his last dispatch to London on June 26th, informing them of the burning of Ležáky, from where he had been broadcasting shortly before. After a dramatic escape from the encirclement by the Gestapo, he fell at the hands of a Protectorate gendarme on 2nd July, 1942. On this day, 40 SILVER A collaborators were killed at the execution site near the chateau in Pardubice.

The place of death for Antonín Burdych Jr. and František Jiroušek in Končiny in Červenokostelecko, where there is a memorial to the victims. Nearby is also the house where Jiří Potůček was hiding.

Fatal injury of Jiří Potůček

Alfréd Bartoš, Josef Valčík and Jiří Potůček worked in the Protectorate for six months. During that time, they completed all the tasks assigned to them and thanks to their courage SILVER A is considered one of the most successful London airborne units.

Alfréd Bartoš (23. 09. 1916 – 22. 06. 1942)
A graduate of the Military Academy in Hranice, from which he was discharged as a lieutenant of the cavalry. In May 1939 he left the Protectorate and went to France, where he joined the Foreign Legion and served in Tunisia until the outbreak of war. In October 1939 he was presented in Agde, where he served as the 2nd Adjutant of the Commander of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. He took part in the fighting at the front as an intelligence officer. In Great Britain, he was assigned as a platoon commander in the 1st Company of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. He volunteered to perform special tasks in his homeland, where he flew as a commander of the airborne unit SILVER A. During his mission in the Protectorate, he achieved extraordinary success. In order not to fall into the hands of the enemy, he committed suicide.

Jiří Potůček (12. 07. 1919 – 02. 07. 1942)
He worked as a shoemaker and rubber maker at the Baťa company in Zlín and later became an instructor in a rubber factory. He had an extraordinary talent for foreign languages. In 1938 he was sent as branch manager to Osijek, Yugoslavia. In 1939 he left his job in Yugoslavia and went to France, where he enlisted in the Czechoslovak army on 14th January 1940. In Agde he was assigned to the staff company, and after being evacuated to Great Britain he was incorporated into the telephone platoon of the staff company. He applied to be dropped off in his homeland. He has completed liaison training and special courses. He was sent to the Protectorate as a radio operator of the SILVER A group. While fleeing from the Gestapo, he was murdered by a gendarme from the Protectorate.

Josef Valčík (2. 11. 1914 – 18. 6. 1942)

He qualified as a tanner and worked in the Baťa factory in Zlín. From 1936 to 1938 he served in the 22nd Infantry Regiment. Via Yugoslavia, Turkey and Syria he arrived in France, where in March 1940 he was assigned to the 2nd Czechoslovak Infantry Regiment, with which he spent the entire French campaign. In Great Britain he served as an executive sergeant of the 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion. He volunteered to be deployed in the rear of the enemy and after completing his training he was appointed deputy commander of SILVER A. In the Protectorate, he participated in the establishment of a widely branched intelligence organization. After his betrayal, he fled to Prague, where he took part in the assassination of R. Heydrich. He died in the crypt of the church in Resslova Street.