Lancelot McFayden – A life of love and loyalty

From Smithville, Jamaica to Eastwood Road, Boston, Lincolnshire Lancelot McFayden  - 3rd December 1926 - 10th  December 2021

The story of Lancelot McFayden, Mac to his friends, family and RAF colleagues, is a unique story connecting two rural landscapes – the Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, and the County of Lincolnshire, England. Mac was one of over 500,000 West Indian men and woman who left their Caribbean islands in the 40s and 50s in response to Britain’s call for assistance in both fighting in World War II and subsequently helping to put their so-called ‘Mother Country’ back on her feet.

For the first time, Mac’s story is told by his daughter, Dawn Walters as part of cultural solutions UK’s commitment in highlighting the cultural links between Lincolnshire and the Caribbean.

Alongside three of his friends, and still only 17 years of age, Lancelot McFayden left his small rural village of Smithville, Jamaica, and sailed halfway around the globe to train and then serve in His Majesty’s RAF in 1944.

Mac arrived in Scotland and was then stationed at Filey, Yorkshire (where he was hospitalised with a serious bout of flu), before eventually being stationed at RAF Metheringham, Lincolnshire, where his new life began.

cultural solutions UK has produced a 21 minute film, alongside a suite of film shorts telling Mac’s story from his early sense of pride at signing up in Frankfield, Jamaica, to the seasick crossing and subsequent time in the RAF including being ‘adopted’ by the Dickinson family from Metheringham; his socialising across country with other Caribbean recruits, and meeting the love of his life, Boston-born Molly and their marriage.

Through Dawn’s recollections, photographs and readings of Mac’s letters (he was a prolific letter writer having carbon-copied hundreds) the films reveal the story of a thoughtful, loving and loyal husband, father and RAF serviceman who answered the call.

David Lambert, Executive Producer of the Windrush Lincoln project said, “The name Windrush is now familiar with the majority of British people, whereas the 5,500 West Indians who travelled to assist in the war effort alongside their British ‘cousins’ in WW2 is not so well-known. Hundreds of men and women from the Caribbean were stationed in Lincolnshire and settled in the county after the war. Mac’s story is both a family story and a Lincolnshire story and we are blessed and richer for Dawn and her family sharing it with the world.”

Dawn Walters said, “Dad travelled all over the world with the RAF, and my mum, brother and I were lucky to travel with him. Lincolnshire was always a place we kept returning to though. Dad devoted 37yrs of his life to the RAF and was very committed. He’d tell us stories of cycling through the Lincolnshire landscape causing quite a stir with the locals, and how he met and fell in love with mum at the Boston Glyderdrome.  Being able to record some of my dad’s life at Metheringham Airfield, where he was stationed; walking in the same buildings as he did was a very special and emotional day for me. I hope people young and not so young find the films of interest. They are stories of a Lincolnshire family, my family.”