“Integrated” Troops Proud of their…

“Integrated” Troops Proud of their Rescue Efforts in WWII’s Worst UK Civilian Air Disaster?

Darnella Davis, Ed.D.

Independent Scholar, NCIS

ASALH 103rd Annual Meeting and Conference
Poster Session, October 5, 2018, 10:00 – 11:45 am


“Born on St. Patrick’s Day…John had greenish grey eyes and was both serious-minded and inquisitive. He left high school to learn candy making in Bartlesville, eventually finishing a GED before heading off to Britain and World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving as an aircraft mechanic in Warton, England. John was honored for taking part in rescuing children from the Holy Trinity Church School in Freckelton, England when the buildings caught fire as a plane crashed into the primary school in bad weather. With 61 dead, it was the worst civil air disaster of the war. The rescue effort is acknowledged in an engraving commending all of the American Heroes who raced to help that day. Interestingly, the army recognized John as a member of the Cherokee Nation and placed him among a squadron of Whites and Indians, rather than with the “Negro” troops.”

From Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage, a Personal History of the Allotment Era, University of New Mexico Press, 2018.