To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One a special wreath will be flown from Montrose Air Station to a war memorial in Northern France this weekend.
On Sunday (August 3) the wreath will be flown from Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, which was the first UK military airbase, to a war memorial in Amiens, Northern France, to mark the 100 years since the beginning of World War One and remember those who served in the RFC and the RAF in both world wars.
On August 3, 1914, the pilots of Royal Flying Corps’ II (AC) Squadron flew from Montrose Air Station in their biplanes for the final time.
After months of perfecting their aviation skills in the skies above Montrose, their destination was Northern France, where, alongside the other RFC Squadrons, they would play a vital role in the course of World War One.
“Following a dedication by the chaplain of RAF Leuchars, and watched by relatives of men who served at the base from 1913–1918, the wreath will take to the skies in a replica SE5, very similar to those flown by II (AC) Squadron during World War One,” said Alan Doe, chairman of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, who explained that the SE5 will fly to RAF Leuchars.
He continued: “The wreath will then be flown to Devon by one of II (AC) Squadron’s Tornados and the last leg of the wreath’s poignant journey – to Amiens – will be in a replica BE2.”
The first part of the commemorative wreath’s flight will take place during a private reception to launch Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre’s First in France 1914 project.
The Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osborne, will formally launch the project and will be joined by invited guests, including senior officers of the RAF, local dignitaries, officers and men of No 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, supporters, sponsors and members of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, as well as the families of men who served at Montrose Air Station during World War One.
“People with relatives who were based at Montrose Air Station from 1913-1918 are travelling from across the country to attend this high profile, nationally-significant event,” revealed Alan.
“To our delight, the grandson of Major Burke, the squadron leader who led Montrose’s II (AC) Squadron to war, is one of those who will be attending.
“As well as the departure of the Commemorative Wreath, we have a programme of special events planned for our guests, including a thrilling re-enactment of a First World War dog fight,” he continued.
“I would encourage everyone in the Montrose area to look to the skies at 12 noon on Sunday as there should be two bi-planes battling it out overhead,” Alan concluded.
The start of World War One will also be commemorated at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre on Saturday (August 2) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Entry will be free with a range of things to see and do, including the debut of play.