MIAMI – This year, G.A.R. Cemetery is hosting the 8th annual British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony, honoring 15 Royal Air Force pilots who died in training accidents while attending the British Flying Training School #3, a Miami branch of the Spartan School of Aeronautics that operated in the early 1940’s. Each were interred in the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Cemetery. The youngest was 17 years old when laid to rest in Miami. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m., Oct. 21, at the G.A.R. Cemetery at 2801 N Main.
This year’s honored guest is Jill Davies, daughter of British Pilot Officer, Edward Owen “Ted” Hawkes. Hawkes trained with the Royal Air Force in Miami as part of the 24th class and went on to fly in World War II.
Jill Davies first visited Miami in the spring of 2015. She made her first trip to the United States on a journey that took her from Colorado to Miami, Oklahoma. Her purpose was for work in Colorado, but she visited Miami to “Follow in her Father’s Footsteps” and visit the place that her father spoke so dearly of many times during his life. He would fondly remember the citizens of Miami where he and his fellow Cadets were welcomed with open arms by families to join them for family gatherings, outings, Church, and Sunday dinners.
“I feel that our British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony is inspiring,” said Nancy Bro, G.A.R. Cemetery office manager and an organizer of the event. “It is always an honor for us to have so many individuals and organizations join us as we commemorate the cadets that lost their lives while training and have been laid to rest here at the G.A.R. Cemetery.”
Local veterans from the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Marine Corps League will participate in this year’s remembrance ceremony as will the City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums who will perform a musical tribute to honor the British flyers. Representatives of the Royal Air Force, Royal British Legion, and the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology also plan to attend the ceremony this year.
“The cadets interred at G.A.R. Cemetery have become part of the G.A.R. and City of Miami family,” said cemetery director Kim Horn. “We continue to hold the yearly ceremonies to honor and remember them and the many other British and American Cadets that trained in Miami. Our community played an important part in the history of WWII and the sacrifices of the military personnel who trained at B.F.T.S. #3 are not forgotten.”
Anyone wishing to learn more about the ceremony can contact the City of Miami G.A.R. Cemetery at (918) 541-2288. More information about the ceremony is also available at www.miamiokla.net.