Miami, Memorial Celebrates, Remembers British Flyers

Monday, October 22nd 2018, 12:16 am
By: News On 6

For 100 years is how long the Royal Air Force has acted as the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force.

KOAM, the CBS affiliate in Joplin reports a ceremony, partly in celebration of that milestone, was held at the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Miami. 

It's a huge celebration for us. The air force, being an island, the air force and the navy are our two most prominently known forces, and with World War 2, it very much brought them into the spotlight," said Derek Farrell, Royal British Legion.

The number 3 British flying training school opened in Miami in 1941, and operated until 1945. 

"Miami played a really unique part in World War 2 history. We were one of only seven locations in the United States that had a British flying training school," said Kim Horn, G.A.R. Cemetery Director.

In that time, 15 student pilots died in training related accidents in and around Miami.

During World War 2, because Britain was basically under assault by the German air force, very little of the training could be done there. If you were trying to learn how to fly a plane, you were as likely to get shot down as any combat pilot," said Derek Farrell.

A 21 gun salute, and a rose at each grave of the young cadets memorialize their sacrifice. 

"We do this every year to remember these fifteen cadets because all over the world, there are people that are remembering our American cadets that are buried everywhere else," said Kim Horn.

This is the first year that organizers have been able to collect photos of all but one of the young cadets. 

This is the 9th year for the memorial service.