Girls of Flight City by Lorraine Heath

April 2022




Have you ever learned a tidbit of history and think, this is so fascinating. I can't believe I haven't seen a movie about this? I have thought that about the Ghost Army, where they used inflatable tanks and more during WWII. Now, Lorraine Heath has introduced me to another piece of WWII history that is equally intriguing.

Were you aware that Britain sent men to America during WWII to train to be pilots? I wasn't, and Lorraine Heath has written a fascinating Historical Fiction novel that delves into that piece of history. Below is information from her newsletter regarding her interest in this subject, and is followed by some answers to questions I asked eager for additional information.

Ms Heath: This story has been with me for nearly 30 years, after I read an article in the Dallas Morning News in 1991 about a woman who tended to the British cemetery in Terrell, TX. It was then that I learned that British pilots came to Texas (and 5 other flight schools across the southern U.S.) to learn how to fly planes for the RAF. One of the aspects of this history that fascinated me was that so many women were involved in their training, serving as instructors, flight simulator operators, mechanics, control tower operators, and more.

KRC: After 30 years, what made you decide now was the right time for this story?

Ms Heath: I've seen and read so many WWII historical fiction novels of late that I thought if I was ever going to write this story that had been running through my mind for 30 years that now was the time. The more I researched the British coming over here for training and the involvement of women, the more fascinated I became. I really wanted to share this little known bit of history.

KRC: Have you had the opportunity to attend the ceremony at the BFTS Museum?

Ms Heath: I have not had the opportunity to attend the ceremony. By the time I discovered they occurred, we were isolating. I am hoping to attend a future one. I have visited the cemetery to pay my respects. It was a somber experience but at the same time it was nice to see how well cared for this section is. The headstones have their ages. They were so young.

KRC: Did you speak with anyone who either trained or worked at one of the schools? Or a family member?

Ms Heath: I did not speak with anyone who trained or worked at one of the schools or a family member. I just relied on accounts from the time, letters, and documents.

KRC: What was the most unexpected thing you learned in your research?

Ms Heath: When I first began the research, I found two things I hadn't expected. The first was that before Dec. 7, 1941, the cadets weren't allowed to wear their uniforms or discuss the war away from the school. The other was the involvement of women (see above).

KRC: What do you hope readers take away from your story.

Ms Heath: I hope readers get a sense of the tragedy of war as well as the camaraderie and appreciation for life that develops as a result of it. Lasting friendships were created. British families who lost sons during training wrote letters of gratitude for how the townspeople had welcomed and cared for their boys. The townspeople pretty much adopted the cadets, considered them part of the community. It was a challenging and frightening time but people still found time to laugh, dance, and fall in love

KRC: I believe that Ms Heath has succeeded in her hopes with Girls of Flight City. Please check out my review here






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