Documentary tells an unknown story of aviation during the Second World War
Son Follows Father's WWII Adventures as Churchill's Pilot in Documentary Film
Filmmaker William VanDerKloot grew up hearing his father make occasional references to Sir Winston Churchill around the supper table. It wasn't until 6th grade, when his class was asked to bring in WWII memorabilia from home that he fully understood what his father did during the war.
Captain VanDerKloot passed away just months before the Gander 60th reunion. But he had already been interviewed by his son for the documentary and had shared with him his personal collection of films of the Prime Minister in the co-pilot's seat next to him.
"I think that Ferry Command was one of the rare circumstances where you have war heroes that never fired a shot," says the filmmaker. "They were, in many ways, heroes working behind the scenes."
Shedding light on another unheralded wartime operation, pilots like Captain VanDerKloot and Kirk Kerkorian tell how they were recruited by the secretive Clayton Knight Committee, which set up offices in fine hotels across the US. They recruited American pilots for Britain before the US had even entered the war. Lured by the romance of the mission, pilots were offered a chance to fly the latest aircraft on dangerous flights across the north Atlantic and later to exotic locales, while contributing to the war effort. Over half of the civilian flyers recruited to Ferry Command were American.
Flying the Secret Sky: The Story of RAF Ferry Command weaves together first-hand accounts of this adventuresome wartime experience. Captain VanDerKloot and his surviving Canadian Flight Engineer, John Affleck, tell what it was like to fly the Prime Minister to key wartime meetings across the globe.
For Bill VanDerKloot, the film's Writer, Director and Producer, the filmmaking has had a personal resonance, as he has traced his father's footsteps and his flight paths.
A Peabody Award-winning filmmaker based in Atlanta, Georgia, Bill VanDerKloot is president of VanDerKloot Film & Television - www.vanderkloot.com.