Montrose Air Station will host a unique ‘War In The Air’ event in August to mark the airfield’s role in the Great War and the completion of their ‘First In France’ project.
Montrose was Britain’s first operational air base and was originally home to the Royal Flying Corps No. 2 Squadron and it was used to train pilots, carry out reconnaissance flights and defend against enemy aircraft.
Dr Dan Paton, curator of Montrose Air Station said: “On August 3, 1914, Lt Harvey Kelly of No. 2 Squadron flew from Montrose to the France in a BE2 aircraft. When Lt Harvey Kelly landed in a field on the other side of the channel, he was hailed as ‘The First In France’ and, in honour of his historic flight, two years ago, we launched our First In France Project.
“This project involved establishing a new centre dedicated to the history of aviation during World War 1, the Lt J Ross Robertson Building, which has been open for a year, and building a replica of the aircraft flown by Lt Harvey Kelly.”
Dr Paton revealed that, after hundreds of hours of work by volunteers from Montrose Air Station, the replica BE2 is complete and will be unveiled before an invited audience on Friday, August 12. The unveiling will be carried out by Air Marshal Sir David Walker, Honorary President of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, and amongst the invited guests will be relatives of men who flew from Montrose Air Station during World War One and serving members of today’s No. 2 Squadron.
Alan Doe, chair of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, explained that, after leaving Montrose Air Station in 1913, No. 2 Squadron only returned in 2013, as part of the celebrations surrounding the centenary of Montrose Air Station. “It will be wonderful to once again welcome No. 2 Squadron to Montrose Air Station and show them our replica of the BE2 flown 103 years ago by fellow No. 2 Squadron pilot, Lt. Harvey Kelly,” said Alan.
“Many members of the Royal Flying Corps, which became the Royal Air Force, lost their lives in the War In The Air, including Lt. Harvey Kelly. The BE2 is a way of remembering the brave pilots from No. 2 Squadron and all the other squadrons and pilots who spent time at Montrose Air Station during World War One.”
Following the unveiling ceremony, free entry will be available to Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre’s War In The Air event on both Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13. Over these two days, a packed programme will include activities for all ages, chances to view the Heritage Centre’s excellent exhibits and unmissable opportunities to see vintage aircraft.