Stashed away between Arima and Cumuto in Trinidad, there once existed the American Waller Air Force Base during World War II, which was activated on 1st September, 1941. It was named after a World War I combat pilot, Major Alfred Waller, who was killed in an air crash. The question arises now, if Trinidad and Tobago was a British colony, why was an American base established?
There had been an exchange between Britain and the United States whereby bases within British colonies would be handed over to United States forces under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement in September 1940. During World War II, as a result of the conflict between Germany and Britain, Nazi naval forces began appearing in the Caribbean Sea intending to disrupt British shipping. With the transfer of the base’s ownership, United States forces swarmed the twin island to ward off the threat of the Nazis, and it was successful. Due to airfield congestion, the base was moved to Edinburgh (Carlsen) Airfield in central Trinidad.
Though Wallerfield’s inception occurred during global unrest, the silence of its remnants still whispers the untaught history, diplomacy, zeal and bloodshed of an almost forgotten time.
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