The deaths of two service personnel in an air crash exactly 40 years ago were marked today in Moray.
On November 17, 1980, a Nimrod MR2 took off from RAF Kinloss in semi-darkness just before 7.30am.
Shortly afterwards, at an estimated height of 20ft, the plane flew through a dense flock of sea birds.
Almost simultaneously three of its four engines were badly damaged, leaving it with very little thrust.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Noel Anthony, was on exchange duties from the Royal Australian Air Force.
He endeavoured to maintain what little height and speed he had by ordering full power on the live engine and raising the undercarriage.
However, he was soon faced with no alternative but to attempt a controlled crash landing.
Some 27 seconds after take-off the plane came down on the relatively soft tree tops of a forest about 1300 yards from the end of the runway.
It was quickly engulfed in flames.
Tragically both Flt Lt Anthony and his co-pilot, Flying Officer Steve Belcher from the RAF, were killed.
However their skill, professionalism and presence of mind saved the lives of 18 crew members who managed to evacuate the wrecked aircraft.
Although all suffered from smoke inhalation, only five were injured.
For their actions that day Flt Lt Anthony was awarded a posthumous Air Force Cross and Fg Off Belcher the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
The aviation museum’s chairman Mark Mair said: “Moray has long been the home to maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
“Since the centre opened it has been a long-term project to create a memorial area to all those who have tragically lost their lives in the service of Her Majesty while operating from the Moray bases.
“Today’s ceremony is one small part on that journey, working alongside widows as well as 120 Squadron Association.
“Morayvia hopes to have such a memorial in position for next year when hopefully a more normal opening will be possible and people can come more easily to remember.
“Even in these challenging and difficult times Morayvia have been kindly offered the services of 39 Engineer Regiment to clear an area of land on our site for the construction of a memorial area, which would be done as part of regular training exercises.
“The memorial service today remembers those who gave their lives that morning and pays tribute to their piloting skills which saw many others saved.
“At a time of national remembrance many will not know about the loss of XV256, nor remember it, with four decades now having past.
“But from all at Morayvia, we will remember them.”