The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight, and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines, and armaments—even spending time in early flight simulators. The reader immediately sees the changes that took place after the United States entered the war. Readers of The Royal Air Force in Texas would view this work as an expanded, second edition for all the similarities to the first book, and readers new to both could skip the earlier book in favor of The Royal Air Force in American Skies. A layout diagram of the flying school and field would be useful, and a vicinity map showing the various auxiliary fields in relation to the main field and the town would also be nice. . The Lend-Lease Act allowed for the training of British pilots in the United States and the formation of British Flying Training Schools. The monograph opens with varied accounts of British wartime hardships and endurance in the face of the widening Nazi political and military advance across Europe.
A Dallas native and licensed private pilot, he earned a master's degree in history from the University of Texas at Arlington, and teaches American history at Navarro College. Most of the early British students had never been in an aeroplane or even driven a car before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. Those who finished the course became Royal Air Force pilots. Airspace congestion, notoriously dismal and uncertain isle weather, and austere operational conditions at overseas training locations prevented them from doing so. The matter is discussed but not argued. Throughout, Killebrew effectively captures student issues with individual aircraft types, the comedy and tragedy of in-flight incidents, and favored off-duty activities, among other details.
It is readable, sometimes inspiring and almost always interesting. Killebrew wondered the same and wrote the book that tells the story of those fliers and how they came to this small Texas town. Marine Corps Reserve and as an air intelligence officer in the U. The end of 1940 found British military forces girding themselves to repulse the later-abandoned German invasion across the English Channel. He was not lucky enough to make it home but he was not one of the 50 killed either.
However, he never coalesces his research into an argument despite ample opportunities. The tome is a well-organized and comprehensive, documented look at the vast number of reasons that ultimately brought about the arrival of Royal Air Force pilot trainees to the United States where they later trained side-by-side with their American counterparts, before returning to their homeland to defend their beloved country. Most of the early British students had never been in an airplane or even driven an automobile before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. He goes on to describe the expansion of the school and the maturation of its training process. One wonders, for instance, what his assertion is about how the coming of Lend-Lease impacted the schools. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight, and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines, and armaments—even spending time in early flight simulators. The program changed over time, as the haste with which the schools opened gave way to a more programmatic approach, better staffing, and the kind of bureaucratic steadiness typically ascribed to a military organization.
Second, the title suggested this might be a narrow look at one airfield, without a larger context. Some students flushed out, while others were killed during training mishaps and are buried in local cemeteries. That said, Killebrew does not ignore the personal dimension entirely, in that his story includes accounts of cadet interactions at social functions and hospitality visits with Terrell residents, descriptions of the distinctive characters among the 26 total classes of the No. Killebrew tells us how the school started as a Lend-Lease operation and later became Defense Plant Corporation property under U. Smoother transitions would help the flow, even though all of the information is interesting. For all its strengths, however, The Royal Air Force in Texas would have benefited greatly from deeper exploration of the motivations, fears, and personal struggles of the British cadets as they left their loved ones to confront wartime hardships during their rigorous six-month training regimen. Total flying hours in the program increased, the facilities received necessary improvements with a massive influx of U.
Killebrew wondered the same and wrote the book that tells the story of those fliers and how they came to this small Texas town. His approach shows steady and controlled understanding of the breadth, complexity, and importance of the subject. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines and armaments - even spending time in early flight simulators. He currently teaches American history at Navarro College. The Royal Air Force in Texas relates the four-year history of the No. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.
The author outlines arrangements between the U. I think any book about a location needs a map of the place! The University of North Texas Press was founded in 1987 and published its first book in 1989. One of these elements involved the pairing of British training detachments with existing civilian flying-training facilities throughout the American South and Southwest. Killebrew then takes the reader through the end of training and shutdown of the school at war's end. Former wartime pilots--from either side of the pond--should especially appreciate this look back in time. While Killebrew did, indeed, use his master's thesis as the basis for this book, it reads more like a novel.
He lives in Erath County, Texas. Though it is the newest university press in North Texas, it has quickly become a leading press with the most titles in print more than 300 and published 15 to 18 each year. I only have two minor criticisms: First, where are the maps? Although the book offers impressive details about the administrative and structural attributes of the No. Despite its isolated shortcomings, The Royal Air Force in Texas is an impressive and effective account of the interaction of two seemingly opposite worlds brought together in the name of liberty and embodying the greatest tradition of Anglo-American cooperation. Second, the author occasionally jumps from one idea to another a bit abruptly. By early 1941, Great Britain stood alone against the aerial might of Nazi Germany and was in need of pilots. All of that changed with the coming of Lend-Lease, which opened not only more options for and availability of training aircraft but also relaxed many such restrictions and set the groundwork for the whole program in the United States.
We learn of early courses taking place at Love Field in Dallas, while the school at Terrell was under construction. For example, on just one page we learn about school utility expenses, aircraft gun cameras, cadet physical training, and school personnel assignments! Overall, the book is a worthwhile and well-written volume. Most of the early British students had never been in an airplane or even driven an automobile before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. Who could ask for more? He covers all aspects, technical, political and logistical but mostly he tells the story of a town that embraced young men from across the ocean. I think anyone with an interest in history would enjoy this book. A licensed private pilot, he served in the U. Killebrew effectively uses questionnaires to demonstrate the difficulties young trainees faced when adapting to flight training and American culture.