The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition)
Film grows wings at air base
Montrose Air Station welcomed a film crew for a shoot combining fact and fiction ahead of the Angus attraction’s planned reopening to visitors later this month.
The Broomfield base – site of Britain’s first operational military air station – was the setting for scenes for the short film, Otto, being created by Mearns filmmaker JJ Mcgechan.
His Talisman Media production tells the story of a young Second World War German pilot shot down in Scotland, and the human side of conflict.
During research for the film, however, JJ discovered the factual WWII parallels between his story and the Angus station.
“The story follows a young Luftwaffe pilot downed on Scottish farmland who has to navigate his way to safety, while being afraid and merely a young person,” he said.
“It tries to convey the seriousness of war and the impact it had on youth, regardless of what side they were on.”
Although he had previously visited the Angus attraction many times, the filmmaker only learned while working on the film script of the shooting down of a German bomber close to Montrose in the summer of 1941.
The Junkers 88 was downed by an RAF fighter at St Cyrus, with wreckage spread across the dunes of the now popular national nature reserve there.
All four crew were killed and the bodies of the Luftwaffe airmen taken to RAF Montrose just a few miles south. They were buried in a military funeral at the town’s Sleepyhillock cemetery.
However, there were local protests about the coffins being draped with the Nazi flag.
Their bodies lay there for two decades before the German airmen were then reburied at Cannock Chase military cemetery in Staffordshire.
JJ added: “I never knew the story, but it fits in with the one we are trying to tell through the film.”
He approached Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre over the possibility of filming there and was given access to the attraction for a closed shoot, using the station’s 1940s living room as the setting for the farmhouse scenes.
The film is due for completion in early summer.