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Cairngarroch Bay Air Disaster Remembered

One of Scotland's worst air disasters was remembered in a memorial ceremony at Portpatrick on Tuesday.

Sixty three years ago two American Dakota planes carrying wounded D-Day survivors flew into thick fog as they approached the Rhins coast on their way to Prestwick and then the United States.

But the men in one of them never returned home, nor did the crew and one RAF man from Ayr who had hitched a lift home with his bicycle - 22 in total. For it flew too low and crashed into cliffs at Cairngarroch Bay near Portpatrick.

On Tuesday a clock, with its hands  forever frozen at the point of impact, was handed to 88-year old Lloyd Niblett, wartime Commander of  301st Airlift Squadron in a memorial ceremony in Portpatrick Harbour.

Attended by Colonel Niblett's modern counterparts, now stationed at RAF Brize Norton, the ceremony remembered  the 22 servicemen and the local community involved in the recovery of their bodies.

It was organised by the squadron, based in California, after local historian Sandy Rankin wrote a book on the accident and the recovery attempt by the local community.

A plaque thanking the community was presented by Colonel Rickert of the 301st squadron to Portpatrick Life-boat Coxswain Robert Erskine and Chairman of Portpatrick Community Council, Lesley Cerexhe.

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