|US NAVAL FORCES AT RAF DARRELL'S ISLAND.
An American guard watches a Martin Patrol Bomber being brought ashore as a Kingfisher floatplane patrols overhead.
| In 1941 the United States was granted 99 year leases for bases in Bermuda. Together with base rights in Newfoudland, this was a free grant, although the arrangement was appended to the seperate Lend-Lease agreement, whereby the US loaned aging destroyers in exchange for base rights in a number of British West Indian colonies (actually, a sleight-of-hand method whereby American President Rooseveldt was able to circumvent rules forbidding the neutral USA from supplying weapons to the combatant Britain).
The US took over the old military ordnance store on Ordnance Island as a submarine base for the War's duration, andbegan construction of two air bases. The US Army built a joint US Army Air Force/Royal Air Force Base at East End of the Colony, and the US Navy built a flying boat station at the West End. Both stations required considerable filling of waterways, though the US Navy station was the lesser production. Nonetheless, the US Navy had to join two islands (formerly War Office property, along with most of the islets of the Great Sound,) to an area of the mainland in Southampton and until this base was operable they began by temporarily operating along side the Royal Air Force out of Darrell's Island.
The US Navy's initial deployment was a unit of Kingfisher floatplanes. These began operating regular reconnaisance and anti-submarine patrols, replacing the ad hoc effort that had previously been made by the Royal Navy's Fleet Airr Arm Air Station on Boaz Island (this station had been tasked with supplying andmaintaining aircraft for the vessels using the dockyard, and, although it generally had a useful supply of Walrus amphibians and Swordfish floatplanes about, it had no squadron, and hence no pilots, attached. It had operated its patrols from the War's start by using such naval pilots as happened to be at the Dockyard, and RAF and civilian pilots from Darrell's Island).