Book Review: The Royal Air Force in American Skies: The Seven British Flight Schools in the United States during World War II


by Tom Killebrew

Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2015. Pp. xvi, 444. Illus., map, apppend., notes, biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 1574416154

Training British Pilots in Texas

Aviation historian Killebrew gives us a look at an interesting chapter in the Anglo-American relationship during World War II, the RAF’s flight training program in the United States. He opens by noting that the Britain had a small training program in the U.S. during World War I, mostly for Canadian pilots, and was soon after World War II broke out opened a training program for pilots in Canada as well. He goes on to explain how, in 1941, offered to let the RAF to open flight schools on its soil.

The seven training camps, all in Texas, were unusual in several ways. Although the several thousand aviation trainees were mostly from Britain or Commonwealth, and the program was managed by RAF personnel, most of the staff actually conducting the training were American civilian professional flight training personnel working , and the program used American aircraft but British training procedures.

Killebrew tells this story well, touching not only upon the political, technical, and organizational aspects of the program, and also about how the trainees interacted with and generally became friendly with their American hosts, civilian as well as military. He also offers brief profiles of the wartime careers and postwar lives of some of the trainees, and has a short appendix devoted to those who lost their lives during training.

A good read for anyone interested in the history of the RAF, this book will be of particular value to students of aviation training programs or of Lend Lease.

Note: A volume in the UT Denton series “War and the Southwest,” The Royal Air Force in American Skies is also available as an e-Book $26.36, ISBN 978-1-57441-624-4.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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