A FULL-SIZE replica Spitfire has been erected as a memorial to 71 pilots killed during training in the Second World War.
Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1 was unveiled by 100-year-old former aircraft mechanic John “Dinger” Bell in a public garden in Grangemouth, close to the site of a former RAF airfield.
Young pilots from around the world were based in Grangemouth during the war and 71 of them died just during training flights at the base.
The idea for the memorial came from cadets in the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron Air Training Corps. It cost £100,000, raised through campaigns led by the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust.
Chairman Iain Mitchell said: “The young men who trained at Grangemouth were among the bravest the world has ever seen, and it is a huge honour for us to commemorate their sacrifice with this stunning memorial.” The memorial aircraft is a replica of a Spitfire flown by 23-year-old Polish Sergeant Pilot Eugeniusz Lukomski who crashed and died in Polmont during a training flight in 1941.
Mr Bell said: “RAF Grangemouth was a huge success story and future generations must never forget its huge contribution in training thousands of Spitfire pilots from many different nationalities.”