2020 British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony
October 17, 2020 @ 10:30 am
The City of Miami G.A.R. Cemetery will host its annual British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday, October 17, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. on the cemetery grounds. This event is being held to honor the fifteen Royal Air Force cadets that are interred in the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Cemetery who were killed in training accidents while attending Spartan School of Aeronautics, Miami B.F.T.S. #3 during WWII in the early 1940s.
During WWII, the community of Miami, Oklahoma welcomed over 2,100 British Cadets. Many families, invited the cadets to Sunday dinner and other family activities with them, resulting in lifelong friendships and some have continued to carry-on through the generations. These young men were far from their homelands where war was ravaging, and rations were a way of life. They were in a very different place than they were used to, and Miami won the young men’s hearts.
LAC Kenneth Frere stated the following in the September 1942 issue of the Spartan News: “… the first and most lasting impression we get is the real value of American hospitality. It seems that you can’t do enough for us – in everything we do there is someone to help us and make us feel at home.” “We enjoy all our time here and we thoroughly appreciate how helpful you all are to us – for the rest of our lives, Miami and No. 3 BFTS will be a bright spot in our memories. We’re glad it was Miami they chose for us.”
We here at G.A.R. Cemetery, strive to continue to keep this part of Miami’s history alive. By holding our annual British Flyers Remembrance Ceremony, we do that, as well as making sure that the lives lost by the 15 brave British Cadets that are interred here at G.A.R. Cemetery so far from their families and homelands, are never forgotten.
Lastly, We can’t speak of our Cadets without telling the story of Mrs. Frances Hill. Mrs. Hill devoted 40 years of her life to care for these 15 graves and received “The King’s Medal” for her unselfish actions. At her request, Mrs. Hill, along with her husband are laid to rest by her “British Boys”.