Families honour servicemen who died in Hercules plane crash 30 years ago

Family and friends gathered to remember the nine servicemen who were killed in the tragedy in 1993.

RAF Hercules: Families honour servicemen who died in Perthshire plane crash 30 years ago STV News

On May 27 1993, a peaceful glen on the remote hills of Highland Perthshire became the scene of a tragedy.

Nine members of the RAF died when their Hercules aeroplane came down during a low flying training exercise.

Three decades on, the family and friends of the men who were proud to serve in the air force came back to that hillside to remember them.

Kerry McNally’s husband, flight lieutenant Stephen Paul McNally, was among the men who lost their lives that day.

The couple were just a month shy of celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

She told STV News: “When I initially was informed that there had been an air crash in Scotland my first thought was it couldn’t be a Herc… it must be a fast jet because I had only ever known fast jets to crash.

“Initially it was a bit of disbelief. I was soon told that ‘yes it was a Herc’ and I soon realised Steve must have been on that plane.

“I just said to the Station Commander ‘please don’t tell me my husband is dead.’ And he said ‘I’ve been told not to give you any hope.'”

A huge rescue and recovery operation was launched but hope faded fast with the confirmation all nine men on Hercules XV193 had died.

Those who served alongside the men say what followed was a month of funerals.

Garry Brown, a former RAF Navigator attended seven out nine services.

He said: “There were funerals that were in towns, there were funerals where police escorted crews to the funeral. We had funerals on a hillside in Scotland with the pipes.”

He was nearly on the Hercules that crashed, but at the last minute another navigator swapped places with him.

“I have Stan Muir who sadly passed in the accident to thank for being here today.

“I was on the aircraft engines running at RAF Lyneham, about to go on a three ship mission. Stan said ‘look, come back on this one tomorrow.’ It’s something that lives with me every day.

“We were stood on the aprons, the parking place for the planes, and we had that feeling something was wrong because the third aircraft didn’t come in as it should have done.

“Sometimes they divert but we heard the crash alarm at the same time. It was that hearing the crash alarm that our worst fears were confirmed.”

Garry has made it his mission to ensure none of the men who died that day are forgotten and had organised annual ceremonies to the site of the crash.

Among those who attended this year were the daughters of Stan Muir, Fiona and Kathryn.

Fiona said: “Thirty years is a long time and you reflect on what dad would have missed… getting married and having children, seeing his grandchildren and things like that.

“But he’s always a part of our lives.”

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