The impetus for the Billy Fiske Foundation started as most good things do in a pub. It was the Spring of 2016 when four mates all with ties to the Royal Air Force were sitting in the Admiralty Pub off Trafalgar Square in London. The American in the group had recently visited the Battle of Britain Memorial in Folkestone and the conversation turned to Billy Fiske. It was agreed that Fiske represented everything that is good about the Special Relationship between the US and the UK, and as the evening grew on, an idea was hatched that there should be a statue of Fiske outside the new US Embassy being constructed at Nine Elms, on the south bank of the River Thames. When the fog of the previous night had lifted, the idea of the statue continued to resonate with the group and so a journey began that has led to the establishment of the Billy Fiske Foundation.
As part of the effort to maintain Fiske’s legacy, the Foundation is working in collaboration with the Royal Air Force, the United States Embassy in London, and the London Borough of Wandsworth Council to erect a statue near the Embassy. This will be a persistent reminder to those coming and going about the Embassy of the spirit of friendship that led Fiske to join with his friends to fight and ultimately die to preserve the freedom and liberty that both our nations hold as fundamental.
But more than just putting up a statue, the Foundation’s ongoing purpose is about building and strengthening the individual friendships that are fabric of the relationship that allows the Churchills and Roosevelts, and the Thatchers and Reagans to find common ground. We hope to bring school and civic groups from both nations together to form new friendships, as well as celebrate those long-standing friendships that may have grown dim with age.