top of page

A Never Ending Tradition!

By Matthew Clark

Starting in late 1917 many pilots serving in the United States Naval Air Force, Foreign Service, started a tradition which continues to this day. Operating in England out of the Great Yarmouth Naval Air Base, American maritime pilots flew anti-submarine patrols against German U-Boats in the North Sea. At another naval air base, Killingholme, Americans flew more anti- U-Boat patrols over the Atlantic Ocean. During the course of the last year of the Great War the U.S. naval aviators executed at least 30 attacks against German submarines, with at least 10 being partially successful.

Flying patrols over the Atlantic, or the North Sea, was a precarious venture. This was an age without radar, as well as a time of primitive (by contemporary standards) location instruments. Many pilots were lost at sea without any combat having occurred.

Those World War I naval pilots were starting an American tradition which continues to this day. What is that tradition? It is America military airmen/women, based in the U.K., fighting, and often losing their lives, to protect Brits and Europeans!

After a brief sabbatical in the 1920's, and 30's, the Americans returned to Albion during World War Two. Pilots of the U.S. Army Air Force flew literally thousands of missions, both fighter and bomber, against Axis Power (Germany, Italy, supported by their Hungarian, Romanian, and Bulgarian allies) forces. The cost of these flights were heavy. History.Navy.Mil. on it's website, estimates that 70% of WWII U.S. airmen in Europe had a chance of injury, or death! 51% of aircrews were killed on operations!

After the 2nd Great War the American pilots remained in Britain. Over the decades pilots of the United States Air Force, (created September 18, 1947) have flown thousands of missions from the airfields of Britannia, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Alliance. Many accidents have occurred, occasionally fatal ones. Billions of United States taxpayer dollars have been spent, protecting British and European citizens. As of the summer of 2023 there is no sign that American military Air Force personnel will ever leave the United Kingdom. They will remain in perpetuity! Whether the inhabitants of Britain, or the United States taxpayer, wants them there or not, is irrelevant.

Was this a tradition which those American Naval Air pilots back in 1917 thought they were starting? Is it time to end this particular tradition? These are questions which should be addressed to the "governed" of both nations.

7 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

By Matthew Clark In the winter of 1943-1944, as allied servicemen in Great Britain trained for the Longest (D) Day, Dieppe veteran Canadian Denis Whitaker took a break from the arduous routine of prep

By Matthew Clark At the present moment (September 2023) it appears that the counter offensive by the Ukraine military against Russian armed forces has failed. During the winter, and spring of 2022, Ru

by Matthew Clark During the 1960 Presidential campaign, a group of Protestant Ministers in Georgia put their names to an advertisement declaring that they could not vote for John F. Kennedy because he

bottom of page