As a tribute to Alex, we are happy to reproduce the highlights of his remarkable and eventful life, as printed in the order of service for his funeral, at the Church of All Saints and Saint Frideswyde, Great Crosby on Thursday 17th August 2017


27th January 1926 - 1st August 2017

Alex (Sasa to his Czech family and friends) was born in Plzen in Czechoslovakia, a town noted, as he would often say, for its invention of the light lager that is now world famous, and for its production of Skoda machinery. His father, the son of a village school master, was a senior manager of the Skoda enterprise and was despatched in his work to other European capitals, taking with him his children who were consequently immersed in the cultures of Poland and Rumania as well as France and Germany, where they were sent to improve their languages. Alex's mother was the daughter of a wealthy farmer.

When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia, the family were forced to share their house with German officers, and German was compulsory in all schools. Liberated by the Americans and Red Army in 1945, the country enjoyed some democratic freedom until the Communist coup of 1948. Alex became a university lecturer at the Prague School of Economics. A brief liberalisation under Dubcek in the 60s was brought to an abrupt end by the 1968 occupation by the forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. Alex refused to emigrate but like many other dissident intellectuals, was ostracised and he was forced to leave his post. After a complete breakdown in his health, he later took up a freelance post in the national travel agency, and his enjoyment of travel began. He made friends with tourists of every nationality and visited many of their countries, keeping in touch with them to the day he died. He also later enjoyed his visits to South Africa and wrote a short history in Czech.

He was greatly active in the events leading up to the 1989 Velvet Revolution and as a keen activist, demonstrating at the Prague rallies, he even appeared on the front page of the Independent in his familiar beret behind his camera.

After marriage to Kathleen (one of his tourists) he spent his later life writing about maritime commerce throughout history, and published several books. He was still revising his last book when he died.

He loved Liverpool with its maritime links and supported the links which Archbishop Blanch School had with Prague and Cologne. He was disappointed with the result of the 2016 referendum, arguing that our destiny really lies in Europe. At the same time, he was intensely patriotic and loved his country, always proud of its sportsmen and women.

He will be sadly missed by Kathleen; his sister, Svetla; a son and three grandsons, a niece and nephew, and countless friends in this country and abroad.