Museum makes appeal to black RAF personnel

The RAF museum at Cosford is asking for help with a forthcoming project.

In two world wars black people from the Caribbean, Africa and from Britain volunteered to serve in the Royal Air Force. These volunteers fought, and died, for the ‘mother country’ and for freedom, and thereby helped to preserve the values and the heritage they shared with their white comrades. The tradition of service to the Crown continues today, and the RAF is proud to welcome new generations of black volunteers into its ranks.

In the exhibition Pilots of the Caribbean: Volunteers of African Heritage in the Royal Air Force the Royal Air Force Museum will tell the inspirational story of these volunteers, commemorating and celebrating their vital contribution to the defence of Britain, her Empire and the Commonwealth The exhibition will also highlight the Royal Air Force’s success in embracing diversity and also demonstrate how the rich, cosmopolitan nature of modern Britain owes much to the black men and women who wore air force blue.

Peter Dye, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum states: “From First World War pilot William Robinson Clarke, to the young volunteers of today, Afro-Caribbean men and women have played an integral part in the development of the Royal Air Force and the defence of our freedoms and liberties. In this exhibition, the Royal Air Force Museum aims to celebrate their contribution to the development of modern Britain, while providing all young people with a series of role models to inspire and guide them in realising their own ambitions and dreams.

“Although, we have a wealth of archive materials to draw from we would welcome stories and photographs from former, and serving, black Royal Air Force personnel and their families. If you are able to assist the museum with this appeal, and would like your story to be told, please email the museum’s research department at, in the first instance, or call us on 020 8358 4873.’

Pilots of the Caribbean: Volunteers of African Heritage in the Royal Air Force will open at the Royal Air Force Museum London on 1st November 2013 before transferring to the Museum’s sister site at Cosford during Summer 2014. Both sites are open daily from 10am and admission to both is free.