A major event which will commemorate the start of World War One will be held at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre this summer.
The two-day event on Saturday, August 2, and Sunday, August 3, is being organised by the team of volunteers at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre (MASHC), with close involvement from the RAF and the Western Front Association.
The commemorations include the unveiling of a replica BE2 piloted by a lieutenant based at Montrose and a battle of the skies between replica aircraft above the air base.
Alan Doe, chairman of MASHC, said: “On August 2, 1914, No 2 Squadron left Montrose Air Station to lead the Royal Flying Corps to war.
“The subsequent landing of the first British aircraft in France - a BE2 piloted by No 2 Squadron’s Lieutenant Harvey-Kelly – inspired our First in France Project, which is to be launched on the weekend of August 2 and 3 and which features the establishment of a new centre dedicated to the history of aviation during World War 1, the Lt. J Ross Robertson Building.”
Dr Dan Paton, curator of MASHC, revealed that many of the No 2 Squadron pilots who had been based at Montrose Air Station before the outbreak of war, including Lt Harvey-Kelly, lost their lives in the battle in the air between Germany and Great Britain.
“Our First In France launch event will commemorate the start of World War One and, most importantly, honour the pilots from Montrose and all the other member of the armed forces who lost their lives from 1914-1918,” he said.
Entry to the centre will be free on August 2.
“The theme of the day will be ‘Children of today and the legacy of the First World War’ so families and young people will be especially welcome,” said Dan.
At 3.30 p.m. visitors will experience a World War One dogfight, when replica SE5 aircraft will battle it out in the skies above the air base.
In remembrance of Montrose Air Station’s First World War pilots, youngsters will lay flowers on the graves of airmen who lost their lives when flying from Montrose from 1914 to 1918.
“Youngsters are also involved in developing our Digital Roll of Honour. Local primary school pupils are trying to identify and discover more about Montrose Air Station’s World War One casualties and there will be a display about their fascinating efforts to date at the First in France Event on August 2,” continued Dan.
On the Sunday, the First In France 1914 Project will be officially launched by the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osborne, at a private reception.
“We would like to invite as many families of the men who served Montrose Air Station during the First World War to this reception as possible. If one of your relatives was based at Montrose Air Station from 1914 to 1918, please contact me,” said Dan.
To get in touch, e-mail email@example.com or call 01674 678222.