Ser­vice pays trib­ute to air sta­tion’s fallen he­roes

Remembrance cer­e­mony for per­son­nel who died at RFC/RAF Mon­trose

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - GRAEME STRA­CHAN

The “prom­ise of youth un­ful­filled” was marked in an emo­tional ser­vice at Mon­trose Air Sta­tion yes­ter­day.

A remembrance ser­vice was held for all per­son­nel who died in fly­ing train­ing, through en­emy ac­tion or nat­u­ral causes, while serv­ing at RFC/ RAF Mon­trose from 1913 to 1945.

Their iden­ti­ties were dis­cov­ered through a re­search project to cre­ate a Roll of Hon­our and keep the mem­o­ries of the war­time dead alive.

Dan Pa­ton, cu­ra­tor of Mon­trose Air Sta­tion Her­itage Cen­tre, said: “Most war memo­ri­als are lists of names.

“We wanted more and it is sur­pris­ing what can be found even at this dis­tance in time.

“The centenary of the First World War raised pub­lic aware­ness and in­ter­est and gave a new im­pe­tus to the project.

“In­creas­ing vis­i­tor num­bers and many more in­quiries from fam­i­lies brought in more in­for­ma­tion.

“The aim now is to cre­ate a Roll of Hon­our book with a page for each ca­su­alty giv­ing brief bio­graph­i­cal de­tails and a pho­to­graph.”

Yes­ter­day’s event was the first oc­ca­sion in which the re­sults of this ef­fort was made pub­lic in the form of a dis­play of poppy crosses.

Each cross bears the name of a per­son who died while serv­ing at RFC/ RAF Mon­trose and the vast ma­jor­ity were killed in fly­ing ac­ci­dents in the fields and hills of An­gus.

Mr Pa­ton said: “The names of most of those killed by en­emy bombs have not yet been found.

“Those who suc­cess­fully com­pleted fly­ing train­ing at Mon­trose and got their wings went to op­er­a­tional squadrons.

“Find­ing their iden­ti­ties and what hap­pened to them is an even greater chal­lenge but it is one that we will not shirk.

“This is not dry his­tor­i­cal re­search. It stirs the emo­tions.”

A re­stored replica of the most suc­cess­ful and fa­mous Bri­tish fighter air­craft of the First World War pro­vided a dra­matic back­drop.

The Sop­with Camel has long been one of the star at­trac­tions at Mon­trose Air Sta­tion Her­itage Cen­tre.

Made by RAF ap­pren­tices at

St Athan in 1962, it had started to look tired and shabby, so the de­ci­sion was made to carry out a restora­tion.

The replica was stripped back to its frame and the team re­stored it and fin­ished it in the mark­ings of the air­craft flown by Cap­tain John Todd from Falkirk who was known as the Scot­tish “Camel Ace”.

Pic­tures: Paul Reid/Gareth Jen­nings.

Right: A lively remembrance event at Sto­ryville House, Kir­riemuir.Mid­dle left: The replica Sop­with Camel that was re­stored by Mon­trose Air Sta­tion vol­un­teers. Dr John Oven­stone Todd, from Keith, with the air­craft mod­elled on the plane flown by his grand­fa­ther, Cap­tain John Todd, in the First World War; Mid­dle cen­tre: Ma­jor Ron­nie Proc­tor, Provost of An­gus and sec­re­tary of the Black Watch As­so­ci­a­tion, un­veils a me­mo­rial cre­ated by Dundee and An­gus Col­lege so­cial science and en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents at RM Con­dor, near Ar­broath; Mid­dle right: Mon­trose Academy Pot­tery Club made ce­ramic pop­pies to dis­play at the school’s war me­mo­rial for the Remembrance Day as­sem­bly. Head teacher Mal­colm Smart with prin­ci­pal teacher Pamela Man­ley and pupils in­volved in the cre­ation.Bot­tom left: Three stan­dard bear­ers at the Heather Cot­tage Craft shop in Ar­broath. From left: Dougie Reid, Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Ar­broath branch; Fiona Laing from the shop; Steve Mil­lan, Royal Marine Riders North rep­re­sen­ta­tive; and John Glen, The Black Watch.

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