The skies above the north-east have been transformed into an emotive lightshow to mark the 80th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day.
September 15, 1940 was the day when RAF Fighter Command claimed what proved to be a decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe, who had been bombing towns and cities including Aberdeen.
While the brave pilots who flew in these dogfights won praise from the likes of Winston Churchill, the commemoration this year focuses on those who made it possible behind the scenes.
The RAF Benevolent Fund highlighted the work carried out by those working in positions such as engineers, armourers, air traffic controllers and radar operators.
To mark this the charity put on a tribute light show at Remote Radar Head Buchan (RRH Buchan) near Peterhead.
It featured archive footage, photography and stories of all of those who played a key role in the Battle of Britain, including female radar operative case studies and imagery of the former Chain Home radar network.
The show was also displayed at RAF Bardsey in Suffolk.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said: “We often talk of ‘The Few’, the fighter pilots who took to the skies during the Battle of Britain.
“Their contribution was exceptional, and it is important we remember them and their experiences. What we don’t reflect on enough, within the Battle of Britain story, are the lives and experiences of those who were involved on the ground during the battle.
“Particularly, the women who were behind the scenes, as radar operatives, filter room attendants serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force or members of the Royal Observer Corps.”
The display was also part of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Join the Search campaign, which calls on the public to help get RAF veterans and their partners in need of help, back on the radar so we can provide support.
The light show took place at RRH Buchan, an active radar site which is an essential component of today’s UK Air Surveillance and Control System.
It was part of RAF Buchan in Boddam, which operated from 1952 to 2004.
The projection paid homage to the giant Chain Home radar towers that once stood 360ft tall and ran all along the Coast of the UK, from Cornwall up to the Shetland Islands, and the female radar operatives and filter room assistants who played such a crucial role in receiving and reporting the information back to Fighter Command.
RRH Buchan is not where the link between Scotland and radar ends. Radar was pioneered during the Battle of Britain by Brechin-born Scotsman, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, who used radar technology to provide advance warning to airmen as far back as 1915, a year after the start of the First World War.
A graduate of Dundee University, Sir Robert’s Chain Home system of radar towers proved invaluable in detecting enemy aircraft.
The last surviving member of ‘The Few’, Battle of Britain pilot John ‘Paddy’ Hemingway, said radar was key during the dogfight.
The 101-year-old said: “In reality, the system worked so well that the time from a blip on the radar to a squadron in the air to meet it was six minutes, and the climb rates of the Hurricanes and Spitfires put the fighters at 15,000 feet within six minutes of leaving the ground.
“Time was a crucial factor in the battle. The ability to get to fighting altitude – 10,000 to 15,000 feet, usually – proved critical, and the aid of radar early warning would prove to be one of the vital British advantages in the battle.”
“I’m very happy to represent my comrades as the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates the 80th anniversary in this imaginative way. There is no doubt in my mind we should applaud all those who fought during those difficult months, not just the pilots.”
The Battle of Britain lasted from July 10 1940 until October 31 1940 with more than 3,000 fighter pilots taking to the skies.