Film plan to honourGrangemouth fliers

A wartime flying accident in which two Grangemouth-based Spitfire pilots died is to be recalled in a special 75th anniversary documentary.

But the enthusiasts involved need as much help as possible from the public to make it happen.

The long-closed RAF Grangemouth was a key training base for fighter pilots during the Second World War, including fliers from countries including Canada, Poland and Czecholslovakia.

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Around 80 died on practice manoeuvres launched from Grangemouth, the result of high-risk exercises in often treacherous conditions.

But amid the other horrors of war one incident particularly struck home, when three Spitfires flying out of Grangemouth on January 18, 1943, were involved in a tragic accident.

Two pilots died outright while a third, Canadian Vin Daly, spent two days on the freezing hillside.

He finally managed to drag himself to safety despite serious injuries and frostbite.

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The tragedy is recalled in a monument at the site of the crash at King’s Seat, Dollar, but a group of amateur historians want to make the story more widely known in time for its 75th anniversary, which will be on January 16, 2018.

Their hoped-for documentary would also highlight to a new generation the crucial role played by the Grangemouth airfield during the darkest days of the war.

The story of the Grangemouth Spitfires was commemmorated in 2013 with the unveiling of a full-size replica of one of the famous machines at a purpose-built site on Bo’ness Road.

It was made possible by the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust (GSMT) and the 1333 Air Cadets, while VIPs present on the day included former Grangemouth Aerodrome engineer John ‘Dinger’ Bell.

Now the film-making group hope to use the story of the two pilots who died in January 1943 to illustrate the extent of these young fliers’ sacrifice.