Kind­ley, World War I hero

The Weekly Vista - - Community -

In 1917, as Amer­ica was pre­par­ing to en­ter World War I, F.W. Linebarger was fran­ti­cally work­ing to open the sum­mer re­sort he and his brothers had just pur­chased from the Baker fam­ily, ac­cord­ing to From Vi­sion to Re­al­ity by Gil­bert C. Fite. The Bak­ers had put in the dam that formed Lake Bella Vista and they had sold a few lots, but Linebarger en­vi­sioned a much big­ger re­sort.

When war was de­clared in April 1917, the area now known as Bella Vista was mostly farm­land.

Even­tu­ally 71,862 Arkansans served in the armed forces dur­ing World War I. About 3 per­cent of them did not re­turn, ac­cord­ing to

Our Arkansas by Wal­ter L. Brown.

A Cen­ten­nial His­tory of Arkansas lists dis­ease as the cause of death for 417 sol­diers. Some 292 were killed in ac­tion and 112 later died of their wounds. Oth­ers were killed by sui­cide, drown­ing, ac­ci­dents, murder and some causes were not de­ter­mined. There were also seven miss­ing and pre­sumed dead.

Ben­ton County had its own World War I hero: Field E. Kind­ley. Ac­cord­ing to the web­site www. en­cy­clo­pe­diao­farkansas.net, Kind­ley was born in a ru­ral area near Pea Ridge. He lived in Gravette and Ben­tonville, be­fore ac­cept­ing a job in Cof­feyville, Kan., where he joined the Kansas Na­tional Guard. He trans­ferred to the avi­a­tion branch of the Army Sig­nal Corps and be­came a pi­lot. He was among the first Amer­i­can pilots sent to Eng­land for flight train­ing.

He re­ceived the Bri­tish Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross and an Oak Leaf Clus­ter for the Amer­i­can Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Cross and was ranked third in num­ber of air­craft downed for the United States Army Air Ser­vice in World War I. He sur­vived the war but was killed dur­ing a de­mon­stra­tion flight in 1920.

He’s buried in Gravette, and the home he lived in there is now part of the Gravette His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum.

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