An Angus heritage site will host one of the first national events to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.
Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre will launch First in France next month, a project remembering the forgotten vanguard of that conflict.
The station was established by the Royal Flying Corps’ II (AC) Squadron in 1913 and its first crop of pilots and biplanes took to the skies 18 months later, en route to France.
Aviation historian and centre curator Dan Paton said those pilots left for France on August 3 1914 the day before Britain declared war on Germany.
Dr Paton said: “Their biplanes had no armament and no parachute as their intended role was reconnaissance, providing the army with vital information about the German army’s movements.”
Some 10 days later the squadron met the other three RFC Squadrons at Dover and flew to Amiens, where Lieutenant Harvey Kelly became the first British pilot to land on French soil after hostilities commenced.
Commanding Officer Major Charles Burke wrote in his diary: “As I was gliding down, I sawanother machine Harvey Kelly.”
The RFC’s reconnaissance role soon expanded to combat and Lt Kelly was also the first pilot to down an enemy aircraft over thefields of France, two weeks later.
But Lt Kelly did not come home, along with many of the men who had been based at Montrose.
First In France has been organised in partnership with the RAF and the Western Front Association and will begin with a day of special events.
Entry is free on August 2 and the full programme can be viewed at www.rafmontrose.org.uk.
Children’s activities will highlight the war’s legacy, with a vintage aircraft display and a re-enactment of a dogfight by replica biplanes similar to those flown by II (AC) Squadron pilots in 1914.