East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’ Society held the latest talk in its Winter programme, when Gerard Lohan presented ‘The Amazing Strutter Project’.

Through his illustrated and amusing talk, Mr Lohan outlined the history of aircraft development during the First World War, which led to the designing of the game-changing Sopwith 1½ Strutter in 1915.

With its machine-gun synchronised to fire through the arc of the propeller, the Strutter was a fighter plane used to protect East Lothian and Edinburgh from Zeppelin raids and defend the Firth of Forth from u-boats.

Twenty-two years ago, a group of retired men took on the task of building a brand-new, authentic, full-size, working Sopwith Strutter in East Lothian, which is now almost ready to take off on its maiden flight.

Once airborne, the Strutter will be the only full-size flying First World War aircraft in Scotland.

Even with the Strutter complete, the project, based near East Fortune, does not end there.

Mr Lohan outlined plans to build a series of flying First World War aircraft and establish in East Lothian the ‘Hangar 32’ visitor attraction: a fully active First World War airfield with hangars, workshops and officers’ mess.

An important aim of the project is to pass on skills, experience and comradeship across the wider community, involving the young, old, disadvantaged and marginalised.

The project continues to seek volunteers with a range of skills.

More information can be found at strutteraviation.com

The next talk in the Antiquarians’ programme is on February 25, when Dr Fraser Hunter from National Museums of Scotland will present on the Traprain Treasure, the hoard of buried Roman silver discovered on Traprain Law in 1919. The talk is open to non-members and takes place in Maitlandfield House Hotel, Haddington.

More information about the society, including upcoming events, can be found at eastlothianantiquarians.org.uk