Hundreds of airmen were killed on training flights in Scotland before they ever saw combat during the Second World War.
The 70th anniversary of one such ill-fated flight which crashed in the hills near Braemar, in Royal Deeside, was marked on Thursday.
Local man Andy Brown, who traced the wreckage, made it his life long mission to honour those who lost their lives in the crash and others like it.
The Wellington Bomber left RAF Lossiemouth on a training flight with eight crew on board on January 19, 1942 during heavy snow.
The aircraft never returned and was officially listed by the RAF as lost at sea.
Mr Brown, from Braemar, was 15 when his great uncle spotted something glistening in the hills just south of Glenshee a few weeks after the plane went missing.
He said: "We got as near as possible to the site. We had another good look with binoculars and telescope and discovered that it was definitely a plane.
"The RAF couldn't believe that aircraft had gone all the way from the North Sea to where it crashed. They couldn't understand that at all."
The remains of the fallen airmen were buried at Old Dyce cemetery in Aberdeen.
After the war ended Mr Brown pledged to turn part of the plane wreckage into a memorial in Braemar, but the crash site lay at the bottom of a steep ravine.
It was not until 1998 when his campaign began in earnest and caught the imagination of the local community.
Twenty Argyll and Sutherland troops were enlisted to recover the wreckage which was then airlifted off the mountain.
The memorial, made from one of the plane's engines, weighing half a tonne each, was officially unveiled in 2003.
Seventy years since the crash in the Aberdeenshire hills, Mr Brown says he is "proud" to have fought for the names of the lost men to be remembered.