National Guard to honor Dutch fliers

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A memorial ceremony is scheduled for May 10 at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Jackson, where a plot was given to the government of The Netherlands for the graves of 30 Dutch fliers who died in training accidents in the United States in World War II.

The 10 a.m. memorial event is hosted by the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum and the Mississippi National Guard.

About 900 or so Dutch pilots, aircrew and ground crew trained at Hawkins Field, a city airport which was designated Jackson Army Air Base in 1941, the same year it was named after a city commissioner.

The Dutch flying school was founded in 1942 after Japan invaded the Dutch East Indies. Germany had invaded the Netherlands two years earlier, and what was left of the Dutch forces retreated to Australia.

The U.S., Australian and British governments worked together to create the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School, which trained both Dutch military and police personnel and Indonesian military personnel serving in the Dutch military.

Most of its graduates served with the Royal Australian Air Force, some with Canadian defense forces and a few were sent as replacements to the British Royal Air Force’s 322nd Fighter Squadron of Dutch volunteer pilots.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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