New exhibit at Armed Forces Museum honors Dutch flyers

CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - A new exhibit at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby honors hundreds of Dutch flyers who trained in the Magnolia State during World War II. The display tells the story of the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School, which was housed at the Jackson Army Air Base from 1942-1945.

Nearly 900 Dutch flyers trained as bomber pilots. Among them was Jan Helfrich, the father of Forrest County Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich.

"I think the exhibit is great," said Judge Helfrich. "It's a very important part of Mississippi armed forces history," he said.

"While these Dutchmen were in Mississippi, many of them actually married ladies from Mississippi and we have many families in the state that are actually descendents of these Dutchmen who were here in World War II," said Chad Daniels, museum director.

Nearly 30 of the pilots were killed while training in Jackson.

They are buried at the city's Cedar Lawn Cemetery.

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