William Robinson Clarke , Jamaica – Caribbean Man of Influence

William Robinson Clarke

William Robinson Clarke was the first Black British pilot. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1895, and when World War I began, he paid his own way to Britain to join the Royal Flying Corps. He served as an air mechanic and a driver, but he was accepted for training as a pilot in England in 1916 and got “his wings” in 1917, as well as a promotion to the rank of Sergeant. He flew biplanes on the Western Front and while on a reconnaissance flight in July of 1917 he was attacked by the enemy and received a bullet through his spine. He recovered from the wounds and returned to Jamaica after the war to work as a builder. Active in veterans affairs, Clarke became the Life President of Jamaica’s branch of the Royal Air Forces Association. He died in 1981 and is buried in the Military Cemetery at Up Park in Jamaica.

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