Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY

Sunday, 7 February 2016

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY - AFRO-JAMAICAN " ROBBIE CLARKE " WAS THE FIRST BLACK PILOT IN THE BRITISH FLYING CROPS. A VERY BRAVE BLACK MAN - GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

                                                      BLACK     SOCIAL    HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


































































WILLIAM ROBINSON CLARKE
                                                                                                                                                                    First Black Pilot in the
British Flying Corps
© Royal Aero Club Trust
Off to war
‘Robbie’ Clarke was born in Kingston,
Jamaica in 1895. The Gleaner reported on the
young man’s interest in automobiles, and his
departure to England to support the war
effort
Now and again Robbie sent accounts of his
exploits in France to The Gleaner. The
following was published on 7 September
1917:
His experience
‘Things were very hot when I was in France.
Oh! The suffering the fellows have to bear. It
is indescribable. I got my ‘packet’ over the
Ypres front about five miles on the German
side. I was photographing, and after taking the
photos, was looking out for a nice place to
give Fritz a couple of pills (bombs).
‘We were so taken up looking for a good
target, that we forgot to look out for enemy
scouts. The first thing I knew was hearing the
rat-a-tat-tat of his machine guns, and glancing
back, saw about five of them diving for me,
and I could not get away in time.
“I was hit almost at the start of the scrap. The
machine was riddled. A very uncommon,
though not unusual, thing happened just
previously. One of our shells passed right
between our planes. Both observer and
myself heard it touch one of the wires. Thank
goodness it did not touch the engine. When I
was hit I was about 5,000 feet up. 
TRENCH BROTHERS: WILLIAM ROBINSON CLARKE 
“It was my second scrap and I fared worse
than the first one. We are not quite sure, but
we believe we did get one in the first scrap
which took place a couple of days before, as
we saw him go down as though he was hit.”
Remembrance
When Robbie died in 1981, A. S. Phillips,
Professor of the University of the West
Indies, paid tribute to him at his funeral and
described some of his achievements: “I may
say that Robbie Clarke’s exploits as a flyer
may justly be termed legendary. I remember
my awe and admiration when I discovered
that he actually flew with the Royal Flying
Corps, the predecessor of the Royal Air
Force. The episode in 1917 in which Pilot
Clarke while on an operational flight was
attacked by German fighters in the air, and
though severely wounded, nevertheless
managed to fly his R.E.8 aeroplane back to a
relatively safe crash-landing behind the allied
lines, places him in that special category of
the genuine war hero.”