British, Canadian and American pilots who lost their lives training in Fort Worth for military service in World War I, were honored in ceremonies at the Fort Worth Royal Flying Corps Cemetery in Greenwood Memorial Park, on Memorial Day.
The Remembrance Service honored the 39 pilots who were killed in flight training between November 1917 and April 1918 at the three airfields in Tarrant County where 1500 pilots won their wings.
The Honorable Douglas George, acting consul general of Canada, reminded the 150 in attendance that “the U.S. and Canada have always been friends, partners and allies throughout our history.”
A total 67,000 flying hours were logged at the three Tarrant County airfields in the 17 months after the U.S., British and Canadian governments entered into a reciprocal agreement to train military pilots for combat duty.
Foreign troops trained in Texas during the winter and in Canada in the summer.
“Royal Flying Corps expertise and skilled instructors enabled large numbers of Americans to receive excellent flight training in a short time,” reads the Texas Historic Marker at the cemetery.
Of the 39 killed in flight school, 11 are buried here. Another veteran who trained in Fort Worth and went on to fly in World War I, requested burial with his friends when he died in 1975.
Wreaths were presented Monday at the monument erected at the site, and children placed flowers on each of the 12 graves.
Highlights of the service included both a biplane flyover and an F-16 flyover by the 301st Fighter Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserves, N.A.S. Joint Reserve Base.
Special bagpipe music was presented by Jim Gibson, pipe major with the Texas Scottish Pipes and Drums.
Friends of the Royal Flying Corps Cemetery and Greenwood Memorial Park hosted the Remembrance Service, which is held in Fort Worth every two years.