Two aircraft flew over Grangemouth last week to signal the start of the final push to bring a full scale replica Spitfire to the town.
Helped by 100-year-old John “Dinger” Bell, who served at Grangemouth Aerodrome in World War II, and planes from Tayside Aviation, members of Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust marked the start of the final phase of Grangemouth 1333 Squadron Air Cadets’ five-year mission to complete their memorial to the 71 trainee Spitfire pilots who died while serving with the town’s 58 Operational Training Unit.
Unfortunately due to late notice of last Thursday’s turf cutting ceremony at the memorial wall and garden just off Bo’ness Road, no cadets from the Squadron were able to attend the event.
However, the youngsters, who came up with the original idea for the memorial garden back in 2008, will be present when the Spitfire is finally unveiled on Thursday, May 9.
Civilian instructor Ian Pratt said: “We never thought we would see this day, but things are going according to plan now. This is still the cadets’ project – they raised the money and did the work, but it was something that required the involvement of a trust to take it further.
“The cadets will be there on the day in May and we hope it will be quite a big occasion – similar to the launch of the memorial wall a few years ago.”
Iain Mitchell, chairman of the Spitfire Memorial Trust, added: “This will be a magnificent memorial to a vital part of our history which will stand for many years to come. It will remind young people of today and tomorrow of the sacrifice made by these pilots which helped to win peace and freedom we all enjoy.”
An RAF Typhoon Eurofighter is scheduled to perform a fly past on the big day in May, which will end with a full civic reception at the nearby Inchyra Grange Hotel.
Visit www.gsmt.org.uk for more information.