Royal Air Force 100th Anniversary to be recognized at G.A.R. Cemetery, British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the conception of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. G.A.R. Cemetery will recognize this special occasion at their 9th annual British Flyers
Remembrance Ceremony, while honoring the 15 Royal Air Force pilots interred at G.A.R. Cemetery who died in training accidents while attending the No. 3 British Flying Training
School that operated during WWII. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m., October 20th at the G.A.R. Cemetery located at 2801 N Main.

This year our honored guest is NEO A&M Alumni and history enthusiast, Curt Penland. Curt was born and raised in Phoenix, Az just 10 miles from Falcon, Field where the No. 4 British Flying Training School was located. This was 15 years after the school had closed, but the community continued to often speak of the British Cadets that trained there and their
encounters much like ours here in Miami, Oklahoma.

After graduating high school, Curt moved to Miami and received his associate degree at NEO A&M College. He then moved to Joplin, Mo to attend MSSU and earned his bachelor’s degree, and finally on to Pittsburg State University for his master’s degree in American and English History. His professional career led him into the insurance industry for 32 years, but he states, “History has always been an interesting hobby” for him, and he is “pleased to be able to share interesting details of the British Cadet’s journey to Miami.”

This year’s participants in the remembrance ceremony will be our local American Legion Post #147 and the Marine Corps League, Veteran’s organizations; The Royal British Legion; The City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums; Joe Sipos, Technical Services Officer (Horticulture) Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Canadian Agency, from Ontario, Canada; Roger Meyer, Bugles Across America; Cpt. Albert Amos, City of Miami, Police Department Chaplin; Sophia Smith will be laying the roses, accompanied by her mother, Brandy Smith, Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce; and Blake Frisbie, Baxter Springs High School Junior, and grandson of Nancy Bro, G.A.R. Cemetery Office Manager, will be singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

Cemetery Director Kim Horn states, “The cadets interred at G.A.R. Cemetery have become part of the G.A.R. and City of Miami family. We continue to hold the yearly ceremonies to honor and remember them and the many other British and American Cadets that trained in Miami. This year marks the 100th Year Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, and our theme for this year’s ceremony will be the path the British Flyers took on their “Road to 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.”

Immediately following the British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony, will be an ‘English Tea’ reception catered by Sodexo of NEO A&M at The Coleman Beautiful Ballroom. Curt Penland will speak about the British Cadet’s “Road to Miami”, and have a Q&A session following his presentation. Then everyone will be invited into The Coleman Beautiful Theatre as we show the Special Presentation KOTV-NewsOn6 “Silver Wings in Prairie Skies”, that was produced in 1995, and hosted by Scott Thompson… “so the story wouldn’t be forgotten of the boys that grew into men here, who earned “Silver Wings in Prairie Skies””.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the ceremony can contact the City of Miami G.A.R. Cemetery at (918) 541-2288.