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Old 11-06-2010, 09:24 AM
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Arrow British flyers remembered

November 5, 2010 British fliers to be honored during ceremony at Miami

By Andy Ostmeyer

Joplin Globe Staff Writer

The Joplin Globe Fri Nov 05, 2010, 07:37 PM CDT
MIAMI, Okla. — Fifteen members of England’s Royal Air Force who are buried in Miami’s GAR Cemetery will be remembered during a ceremony Tuesday.

The 15 men died in training accidents during World War II, when Miami was home to the British Fliers Training School No. 3, said Kim Horn, cemetery supervisor.

More than 2,100 Royal Air Force cadets and more than 110 U.S. Army Air Corps pilots trained at the school, which opened in August 1941 and graduated its first class in October of that year.

Nearly 1,500 of the British fliers received their wings at the school, most in time to join the Allied effort during World War II.

The veterans held reunions, awarded scholarships to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M students and were active until 2005, Horn said.

“This is the first year the cemetery is sponsoring the events,” she said of the ceremony, which is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the cemetery at 2801 N. Main St.

“They (the 15 who were killed) are all in a section of the cemetery we call the British block,” Horn said. “We always fly the British flag.”

The flight school was an economic shot in the arm for Miami, she said.

“There was an individual (Harry Berkey) who was part of the Chamber of Commerce, who somehow got interested in it and really lobbied for it,” Horn said. “Lots of people in the community took them in and fed them many dinners. Lots of lifelong relationships were built.”

Tulsa Pipes and Drums will be at the ceremony, as will a representative from Spartan School of Aeronautics and members of local veterans’ groups. Also coming is Flight Lt. Sarah Vanplew, air attaché officer for the Royal Air Force, who is stationed at Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City.

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