The Law Firm of Gabriel J. Christian & Associates, LLC sponsors the website Caribbean Aircrew which is dedicated to telling the story of the thousands of British West Indians who served in The Law Firm of Gabriel J. Christian & Associates, LLC sponsors the website Caribbean Aircrew which is dedicated to telling the story of the thousands of British West Indians who served in the Royal Air Force, including those who served in ground crew. This site was the brainchild of Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Cy Grant of then British Guiana and Hans Klootwijk, author of Lancaster W4827: Failed to Return. That book recounts the fate of Grant and his fellow airmen after their plane was shot down over the Netherlands in 1943. It is based on research carried out by Klootwijk's father, Joost Klootwijk, who was 11 when Grant’s Lancaster bomber was shot down and crashed into a farmhouse in his village. Cy Grant collaborated with Gabriel J. Christian in the production of “For King & Country – The Service and Sacrifice of the British West Indian Military (Gabriel J. Christian, Irving W. Andre, Pont Casse Press, 2009).” Grant was honored, in absentia, during the Caribbean Glory tribute at Andrews Air Force Base held on June 19, 2009, as he was too ill to attend in person. Regrettably Flight Lieutenant Cy Grant passed away in 2010; he was posthumously honored at the British House of Lords. This site aims to provide a permanent archive of the volunteers from the West Indies who flew for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, or served as ground crew. The world’s public is scarcely aware of the heroic effort by Caribbean air crew from what are relatively small islands in the air war over Europe during the period 1940-1945, when they rushed to the defense of freedom’s cause. In 1940, no so-called "men of colour" could have joined the Royal Air Force; but by the end of the war in 1945, there were a total of around seven thousand British West Indian volunteers – with about a thousand serving as air crew during World War II in integrated Royal Air Force units. About one hundred of those who served were commissioned and one hundred and three received decorations. Yet these facts are not generally known even to the present Black British population in Britain, persons in the Caribbean, or the wider world.
They Served in Freedom's Vanguard: A group of British West Indian Royal Air Force (RAF) officers in London, 1945. Front row, third from right, is Squadron Leader Phillip Louis Ulric Cross, DSO, DFC (1917-2013) of Trinidad. A distinguished diplomat and jurist, he was a guest of our law firm at its June 20, 2009 Community Reception for the honorees of Caribbean Glory - others in attendance were Baroness Patricia Scotland of Ashtal, Attorney General of England, alongside World War II veterans RAF Flight Lieutenant, Dudley Thompson of Jamaica and British Army, South Caribbean Forces soldier Wendell M. Christian, of Dominica.