Service pays tribute to air station’s fallen heroes
Remembrance ceremony for personnel who died at RFC/RAF Montrose
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”.
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.