Air show helps tell how airfield stepped up to help British pilots during WWII

By BRIAN ELLEDGE | The Dallas Morning News (Tribune News Service) | Published: September 24, 2017

Dozens of faces atop strained necks watched as the North American AT-6 -- named "Miss Texas" by its pilot --rolled in the air, smoke billowing out of its tail. As the pilot pulled the WWII-era aircraft out of the maneuver, the engine roared and the crowd cheered.

On the ground, kids of all ages wandered through a WWII B-25 bomber, some taking turns inside the gun turret, imagining enemy planes approaching.

Saturday marked the 10th annual Flights of Our Fathers Air Show and Fly-In, which benefits the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum.

The museum, tucked away in a small hangar just off the runway, tells the main reason the Terrell Municipal Airport exists, according to museum president Rudy Bowling.

During WW II, England's Royal Air Force needed a place to train pilots safely away from the war. The United States government opened several schools run by private companies to help train them. The No. 1 British Flying Training School was opened in Terrell after the airport was built to support it.

From June 1941 until September 1945, about 2,200 British pilots trained for war there.  Some of the pilots came back to Texas and lived out their lives. A group of them started the museum so that their story would not be forgotten.

The museum features preserved uniforms, manuals, hundreds of pictures and other items that showcase just one way Terrell contributed toward the Allied forces' victory during WW II.

(c) 2017 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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