History & Mission

Celebrating Cooperation Between the United States and Great Britain

During World War II thousands of British cadets learned to fly at six civilian training schools across the southern United States. The first and largest of the schools was in Terrell, Texas. More than 2,200 Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Corps cadets earned their wings over North Texas between 1941 and 1945.

The museum celebrates this little-known chapter of World War II history with an archive that contains the most extensive record of the No. 1 British Flying Training Schools in existence.

The collection includes hundreds of historical items: log books, training materials, WWII memorabilia, uniforms, and much more. Perhaps more importantly, the museum explores many fascinating “personal stories” behind the artifacts. These stories will give you insight into the cadets’ backgrounds, their training, and the lives they led after leaving Terrell.

Our Mission

  • To celebrate the spirit and sacrifices made by those men both British and American who trained to be pilots at the Number 1 British Flying Training School (1BFTS);
  • To educate all ages of all nationalities as to the history and importance of the cooperation between the British Commonwealth and American Government in both war and peace;
  • To honor the strong bonds of friendship formed between the cadets and the community of Terrell and the North Texas area.

Why Terrell, Texas?

Even before the outbreak of war, UK officials recognized the need to train aircrews outside its borders. Reasons for this were numerous, not the least of which was infamously bad English weather. With roughly the same landmass as Michigan, the British Isles are also limited in size, which meant friendly airspace was in short supply. With the Luftwaffe ready to strike from just across the Channel, pilots-in-training were under the very real threat of enemy attack.

In contrast, southern U.S. locales like Terrell offered wide-open, friendly skies over sparsely-populated farmland––perfect flying conditions for aircrews-in-training. Terrell’s citizens welcomed the student pilots into their homes and their community, forging many life-long bonds. It is because of these bonds the museum exists. The No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum in Terrell was started by cadets to celebrate their friendships and to remember the twenty men who died in training.

Did you know?

It is roughly the same distance by plane from Terrell to Houston as it is from London to Paris.

Visit the museum to discover how this fact impacted flight training for war in Europe.

The Seas Divide, But The Skies Unite

Celebrating cooperation between the United States and Great Britain
Plan your visit today!

We are currently OPEN during our regular business hours!  We are continuing our Wednesday – Saturday operating hours from 10 am to 4 pm. Needless to say, we’re excited about welcoming you back to the Museum!  We’ve missed you!

 We will be following the state-wide and local COVID-19 guidelines for museum re-opening that includes everyone wearing masks (except young children), maintaining social distancing, and constant cleaning. Please bring your own mask and hand sanitizer. 

Look forward to seeing you!

Rudy Bowling
Executive Director