A memorial is to be created to honour a Second World War pilot who died after his aircraft crashed at Loch Doon, one of the area's councillors has revealed.

Councillor Drew Filson met delegates from the Czech Ministry of Defence at Loch Doon to discuss how best to pay tribute to Czech Spitfire pilot, Frantisek Hekl, whose Spitfire plane crashed into the loch in October 1941.

The memorial is set to be erected next year, with help from East Ayrshire Council and Forestry and Land Scotland.

Ayr Advertiser: Loch Doon Ranger Alan McDowall was also present.Loch Doon Ranger Alan McDowall was also present. (Image: Drew Filson for the Doon Valley)

Born in 1915 in Nemojany, in the Moravian region of what was then Czechoslovakia, Hekl, whose story is told in full at the website of the Dumfries Aviation Museum, crossed the border into Poland when Nazi troops occupied his homeland in March 1939.

He joined the Polish Air Force and fought against a Luftwaffe air attack in September of that year, before being caught by the Russian army as he and a group of fellow Czech airmen headed for Romania.

He escaped on a train out of Russia in July 1940 and eventually reached Britain, via Turkey, Egypt and India, before enlisting with the RAF Volunteer Reserve in November of that year and joining the 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, based at RAF Ayr, next to Prestwick Airport, in 1941. 

On the morning of October 25, 1941, aged just 26, Hekl took off from RAF Ayr and headed towards Loch Doon, where he flew fast and low over the water - but his wingtip struck the surface and the plane was instantly submerged, with eyewitnesses reporting that the only trace of what had happened once the water had settled being a light oil slick on the surface.

Cllr Filson shared the story of how Hekl's plane was recovered and brought to the surface in 1982. However, his body was never found.

He said: "Myself and Loch Doon ranger Alan McDowall met with a delegation from the Czech Ministry of Defence at Loch Doon to discuss the erection of a memorial in memory of the Czech Spitfire pilot, Frantisek Hekl, who crashed at Loch Doon on October 25th 1941.

"The memorial will be erected next year. 

"Kevin Roberts, local monumental sculpture in Patna, has been commissioned by the Czech Ministry of Defence to make the monument.

"[The design] illustrates the Spitfire wing tip that struck the water as the plane banked away after flying low over the loch, causing the crash. Frantisek was never found."

The Spitfire is now on display at the Dumfries Air Museum 35 years after its recovery.

Councillor Filson has a particular interest in the story as he was present when the wreckage of the plane was recovered 41 years after the crash.