Two special commemoration services are being held on Mull of Kintyre tomorrow to mark the 25th anniversary of the RAF Chinook helicopter disaster.
Relatives of the 29 people who died are expected to join members of the local community and public figures at Southend Parish Church of Scotland to honour their memories.
The helicopter was on its way from RAF Aldergrove near Belfast to a security conference in Inverness on June 2, 1994 – 25 years ago to the day – when it crashed into a remote hillside in a ball of flames, killing 25 members of Northern Ireland’s counter-terrorism intelligence community.
The four special forces crew included the pilots, Flt Lts Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, who were initially found guilty of negligence, though later cleared after a lengthy campaign by their friends and families.
However, despite this, Ann Magee, whose husband RUC Detective Inspector Kevin Magee was one of those killed, says no official cause of the crash has ever been given.
Speaking to the News Letter ahead of the anniversary, she said: “I would just like to say how difficult it still is not knowing why my husband and best friend Kevin died on a mountainside without a loved one being able to say goodbye to him. And I still don’t know how or why.
“My positive thoughts are those of gratitude and love towards the people and the clergy of Southend who were there with Kevin and his colleagues when loved ones could not be.”
Rev Stephen Fulcher, minister of Saddell and Carradale is leading both services, the first at 11.45am.
He said: “This is the 25th anniversary of a tragedy that had a huge impact on this very small rural community and remains to this day a living memory for many people.”
Following a community lunch in the village hall, a second service will be held at the memorial cairn near the crash site at 3pm.
Rev Roddy McNidder will say: “This lovingly built cairn claims the ground in remembrance of the sadness of June 2, 1994, to honour your loved ones and also yourselves, your families and friends.”
Last week, the general assembly of the Church of Scotland issued a fresh call on the Ministry of Defence to keep all records relating to the crash.
The News Letter recently confirmed that the Ministry of Defence intends to review the records closed in 1995 and 1996 “for release or alternative disposal this year”.
There are fears that the true cause of the accident will never be known if this happens.