Albany trained World War II RAF pilots from England

The RAF Albany Committee wants to keep the history of Albany's WWII involvement alive for the coming years

/ Sarah Bleau

During World War II, Albany played a role in training British pilots during the Arnold Scheme. It's a fact those with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Albany Committee want more people in the city to know.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau received a photo compilation from the RAF Albany Committee on Friday.

During the war, 5,000 RAF pilots were trained in Albany at the two U.S. Army Air Force Bases: Darr Aero Tech and Turner Field. Bob Drake with the RAF Albany Committee says at any given time there were between 800 and 900 young British pilots in Albany.

"The town just adopted them. They mothered them, they fathered them and they kept up contact for years afterwards. Some of them got letters from their parents in Britton that their son had been killed in combat and they just had very fond memories of Albany," says Drake. He says in 1991 for the 50th anniversary of the events, nearly 150 people from England showed up to commemorate the milestone.

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