#5 British Flying Training School

Clewiston, Florida

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Here is an article published in the 25th December Xmas issue of the Embry-Riddle newsletter "Fly Paper".

It gives us some idea of what the air cadets thought of Florida in 1942, when Europe was in the middle of a bitter war..

The original page images can be seen by clicking the page numbers below. The text has been reproduced below to improve readability.

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CLEWISTON comes first. For many, it was only the arch where through gleamed the magic world of Miami, but to some it was Mecca in itself. Thither we escaped from routine and from each other to evenings of quiet, comfortable streets, drug-store delights (there are tribes of Seminoles, but only one Seminole) "Somebody Something of the Navy" in twelve easy lessons, and the incomparable Inn.

It is a dignified and well-planned little town, Clewiston. North of it you can hear the pines whisper and lake water lapping in low sounds by the shore; to the south lies the greatest sugarland in the United States and one of the greatest swamps; running east is the road to the winter wonderland; and west (so far as we are concerned) is Riddle Field. Further on, a mysterious place called La Belle hides among the trees, but its only function is to serve a place you recognise on cross-country flights.

Those of us who penetrated the facade of the highway found Clewiston's churches and homes and people, and some were content to go no further.

Moorehaven comes next. Situated on the edge of the great lake it is a quiet but wonderful little town. Wonderful for those grand people who helped to make our stay one to be remembered all our lives. From the many families who "took us in" we enjoyed a hospitality that has to be shared, to be imagined. Barbecues at Fisheating Creek, cozy evenings talking, reading, and writing. Thank you, Moorehaven, for a wonderful time.

Sixty miles east lies West Palm Beach, smaller than Miami and more select, complete with Yacht Club, now a U.S.O, and the George Washington Hotel. Across Lake Worth is Palm Beach itself, where the millionaires, the diplomats, and the R.A.F. spend as much of the winter as possible; it is a place of indescribably beautiful houses, elusively beautiful ladies, of coral reefs and of real palms on the beaches. There we lived regally and carped many a noctem.

Seventy miles down the Dixie highway is Miami. The inhabitants take it all so casually that our wonder seemed naive and our superlatives a beating of air, but from our warful land of leaden skies, we thought we had come to a Garden of Eden. By day, we could drive down the spacious quiet of the Beach Avenues, lined by palm-trees, luxury shops and millionaire villas, castles in Spain like the Lord Tarleton and the Normandy Plaza - names to conjure with! and purr over a tenuous causeway, with the sun blinding the waters and Miami city shimmering in the heat.

The streets of Miami are full of prosperous men and pretty girls, the sumptuous blatancy of restaurants untouched by rationing, of manufactured amusements and air-conditioned stores. No one is old and no one is shabby; it is all rather like Babylon.

At night the footlights are on and the curtain rises. Traffic lights, supplanting stars, lumine the electric night, shark-like cars pour down Flagler and Biscayne in a streamlined spate, cacophonous nugacity oozes from a thousand radios, and the inevitable affairs of Adam and Eve are pursued in theatres, in quiet avenues, over sundaes and liqueurs. Terpsichore, goddess excellently tight, is holding court.

Strange, as you return to a room half lit with undertones of electricity, to look out over the semi-sleeping city and think of men killing each other at that moment in a gash torn across Europe. But Miami is no place for morbid reflections, and they become dreams; and dreams, after such a day, sleep.