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Questions posed by a gravestone


Visiting war graves often poses interesting questions. Yesterday was one such occasion. We happened to be passing the former RAF Coltishall in Norfolk, and stopped at what is effectively the station’s cemetery at Scotton. Some very interesting graves there, none more so than this chap. Otto Kanturek was 42, when he died suddenly  on 26 June 1941.

Born in Vienna in 1897, after an internship at the famed Gaumont Newsreels he developed a career as a cameraman, including working for the famed Alexander Korda. In WW1 he was conscripted and worked in film service for the Austro-German military machine. He moved to Berlin in 1920, working with notable directors such as Fritz Lang. Disliking the rise of the Nazi party he left Germany  for first Vienna, his hometown, and then Prague, where he became a Czech citizen.

He moved to the UK in 1933 and soon became embedded in the British film industry. He was filming a 20thC Fox movie called  A Yank in the RAF  (which featured Betty Grable and Tyrone Power) in the summer of 1941.


The Anson (N9732) from 500 Sqn at Bircham Newton in which he was a passenger did a sortie to take aerial shots of a Hurricane IIB (Z3391) from 257 Sqn. The two aircraft collided, and all on board were killed (including Katuruk’s assistant, Jack Parry, and the Hurricane pilot (who is buried elsewhere)).



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