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Tornado Adds to Montrose Air Station’s Success

Montrose Air Station has enjoyed a long and rich history stretching back to before World War 1.

It was Britain’s first operational military air station, being established by the Royal Flying Corps in February 1913.

The British government made plans for 12 air in 1912 and Montrose laid the way as it would allow aircraft from the location to protect Royal Naval bases at Rosyth, Cromarty and Scapa Flow.

The Angus airfield was busy training pilots for both world wars before RAF Montrose was closed permanently in 1952.

But the links with previous decades still live on at the Broomfield site today.

Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre shows the human side of the base’s past with a collection of old photographs, artefacts and memorabilia.

These not only tell the history of the airfield, but also the story of the men and women who served there.

The centre is a museum run entirely by volunteers.

There is something for everyone regardless of age – and a major coup was landed last month with the arrival of a Tornado jet.

Evidence of the centre’s popularity is that it gets a five-star rating on the Tripadvisor website, and is ranked number one of 22 things to do in Montrose.

One reviewer summed up their experience as a “fascinating exhibition”, adding: “An amazing tribute to the men and women who served during both world wars.

“The volunteers who run the centre are also amazing – very informative and passionate in what they do.

“The ‘icing on the cake’ was to view the recently acquired Tornado.  Well worth a return visit.”

The plane in question is a Panavia Tornado GR4, which has a remarkable RAF pedigree.

A veteran of the Gulf War, the aircraft with No2 Squadron, the unit which first formed the Broomfield base.

In 2019 it was one of the last Tornado GR4s to touch down when the multi-role combat machine retired from active RAF service.

The Tornado joins an impressive line-up of aircraft at Montrose, including a replica Red Lichtie Spitfire.

But the centre’s bosses say the Tornado is undoubtedly the collection’s greatest capture.

Chairman Stuart Archibald said the plane remained an important piece of British military aviation history.

“This will be the only GR4 on display in Scotland,” said Stuart.

“It is a major exhibit for Montrose, Angus and indeed for Scotland and we are thrilled that she is here.”

Stuart confirmed that, since reopening after the pandemic, things had been going very well at the centre.

He added: “We’ve had international visitors from Germany, France and Canada.  Things are really starting to pick up.”

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