G. Willis Tyson grew up in Manchester, England and came to No 5 BFTS at Riddle Field as General Manager in 1941. In the 1920’s he was a barnstormer in California for three years after his first solo flight in a Curtis “Jenny”. He later opened a flying school and trained Carl Ziler, among other Riddle trainers, before himself becoming a pilot for the Los Angeles-Caliente Air Lines.
Later he became a CAA Inspector in the New York region and in 1939 transferred to the Engineering Department. In 1941 he resigned from the CAA and at that point moved on to Embry-Riddle. His photograph is included in the 5BFTS anniversary book. In 1942 he visited England for six weeks at the invitation of the British Air Ministry. He inspected the training facilities and methods of the RAF.
G. Willis Tyson was fatally wounded on 19th August 1943 when landing at Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee when his aircraft was clipped by the wing of a landing P.47, pinning him in the cockpit. Tyson had over 5,000 hours in his log book with over eighteen year’s flying experience. His contribution to the British Flying Training School at Riddle Field is recorded in the Embry-Riddle Flypaper shortly after his death as follows:
“Selfless, loyal, and fully gifted with the greatest of all attributes, the ability to make and keep friends by the legion, G. Will Tyson will be missed not only for himself but also for the way of life he represented, because his was the complete existence, happy in its sense of accomplishment.
Throughout this world at War men are paying the supreme sacrifice every moment of every day, paying it without the concrete knowledge or actual proof of their own achievements or contribution to the common cause.
G. Willis Tyson was more fortunate. Every offensive operation carried out by the RAF and the U.S.Army Air Forces is a living, glorious tribute to the foresight, patience and understanding of him and the too few men like him. Peace and victory will come all the sooner because of them.
We here at Embry-Riddle have suffered an incredible, irreplaceable loss. So has aviation. His genius and ability helped to nurse the young sprawling industry into maturity.”
Military | Chief Ground School Instructor
Mr Cliff E Bjornsen was the Chief Ground School Instructor at 5 British Flying Training School in Florida based at Riddle Field. He was a well respected instructor and in April 1943 the Embry-Riddle Flypaper reported, " According to the latest report...
Military | Pilot
David Richard Croft Blackhall was from Diseworth, Derbyshire, UK and arrived at No 5 British Flying Training School at Clewiston with the RAF students in 1942 to join Course 13. He shared a room with William Cushner at Riddle Field, Clewiston, while...
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot
Born and raised in Kingston he received an associate degree from Bucknell Junior College. Serving 28 years with the active Air Reserve he had trained as a civilian pilot and, while training with the USAAF, Maxwell Field, Alabama, he was one of 15...
Military | Flight Lieutenant | Pilot
Eric was born in Pontefract, Yorkshire, in 1922. His father, Major Stanley Denham, was an army officer with the York and Lancaster Regiment. In 1918 he went missing as he tried to join up in Halifax but was too young and had to return home. As soon as...
Military | Link Trainer Instructor
Charles Jackson Hopkins was born in Chrisney, Indiana, on 21st September 1921. He later moved to Huntingburg, Indiana and graduated from Grade School to High School. On leaving school he was employed as a bookkeeper and then manager of a loan company....
Military | Colonel | Pilot
Born in Ohio, USA, Samuel Huston signed the 5 BFTS Anniversary book for No 5 British Flying Training School at Riddle Field, Clewiston in 1943. In a letter to William Cushner in 1992 he records the following memories:
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot / Instructor
John Jordan attended 5 BFTS (Course 13) from January-July 1943.
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
George W Morse from Massachusetts was one of the USAAF cadets who joined the RAF trainees at Riddle Field, Clewiston No 5 British Flying Training School. As he had worked for the Associated Press he was recruited as Assistant Editor for Course 13's...
Military | Wing Commander | Pilot
Captain Thomas E Persinger was First Lieutenant, Operations and Engineering officer August 1941- August 1942 . He went on to Lakeland Florida and then moved to No 5 British Flying Training School at Clewiston from the beginning of the school in...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
Fred Renshaw was a U.S. cadet at Riddle Field’s Course 12, the first course that saw American and British cadets training together. He was a contributor to Roger Out, a Course 12 publication prepared by a talented editorial committee of cadets (writers...
Units served with
The 'Arnold Scheme' (1941-43) and the British Flying Training Schools (1941-45), with the co-operation of Squadron Leader Mills DFC and President Roosevelt, enabled the setting up of flight training in the USA for RAF pilots to train alongside American...