A MEMORIAL stone and plaque commemorating a tragic plane crash which saw two men killed in the Lammermuir Hills has been unveiled.

Pilot Harry Kenneth Lillington Rice and navigator Aubrey John Clarke, both from New Zealand, were killed in the crash on May 3, 1945 in the Eastern Lammermuirs.

Nearly 75 years later, a plaque was unveiled on Anzac Day last Thursday in a poignant ceremony.

The tribute was organised byCommunity Windpower, the operator of Aikengall Windfarm, where the ceremony took place.

East Lothian Provost John McMillan was among those in attendance.

He said: “It was so moving and so still up there. The weather was kind but it was cold and just so quiet and still.

“The Community Windpower people did a terrific job of having the stone engraved.

“It was just a tremendously moving, very solemn and fitting way to commemorate the two young men who died.”

Also in attendance were representatives of Dunbar Community Council, as well as Sir Neil McIntosh, New Zealand Honorary Consul, and Ben Macpherson MSP.

There was a flypast by a Second World War Harvard (on which the pilot would have trained) and by a 6 Squadron Typhoon from RAF Lossiemouth.

Afterwards there was a buffet lunch at the BeGreen shop in Dunbar.

The plaque reads: “Their aircraft took off from RAF East Fortune just before midnight on May 2, 1945, for a navigational exercise over Berwickshire.

“Three hours later, the aircraft was heard calling the base, but when the base responded, no reply was heard.

“The Beaufighter had struck high ground rising to around 396m (1,300ft) above sea level, approximately 16km (10 miles) north west of Abbey St Bathans.

“It is believed that the radio equipment had failed and the crew were lost. It was while they were descending through cloud in order to pinpoint their position that the accident occurred.

“The pilot and navigator were from New Zealand and served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“Sadly, both men lost their lives in the plane crash on May 3, 1945.

“After a long search in blizzard conditions, not far from where you are stood right now, the aircraft was eventually found on high ground on the boundary between Middle Monynut and Stottencleugh farms. Community Windpower have installed this plaque in memory of the lost crew.”