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A HISTORIC aircraft used to scatter the ashes of Scotland's most prominent peer over his ancestral Haddington home has been gifted to the National Museum of Scotland.

The Bulldog military trainer was owned by the late Duke of Hamilton of Lennoxlove House, and was the first of its kind to be built in Scotland.

 Angus Douglas-Hamilton, who passed away last year following a 10-year battle with vascular dementia, bought the plane in 1992 and

regularly performed aerobatic stunts at air shows across the country, including at nearby East Fortune.

 The plane had also been used by Angus, the 15th Duke of Hamilton, and his brother, Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, to scatter their father's ashes over Lennoxlove Estate in 1973.

 The three-seater has been donated to the country by the late duke's wife, Kay Hamilton, Dowager Duchess of Hamilton, and can now be seen hanging from the ceiling in the south hall of the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland. The Edinburgh museum opened last Friday following a £46m facelift.

 Kay, of Dirleton, said: "I know Angus would have been delighted to know his Bulldog was going to be preserved for prosperity.

 "Yes, he enjoyed flying, but, to be honest, Angus loved history so much more.

"He was very aware of the responsibilities his title brought, and it was one of Angus's last wishes that his prized aircraft be gifted in this way.

 "The plane has so much history attached to it, as it is the first ever Bulldog to be wholly built in Scotland.

 "That is why Angus and I felt it is so important for the plane to be put on display as, really, it is a piece of Scottish history."

 The duke spent 11 years in the RAF flying reconnaissance patrols for British forces in Malaya before being invalided out in 1967.

 He continued to fly, and later became a test pilot for Prestwick-based Scottish Aviation Ltd, training aspiring pilots in the company's newly acquired Bulldogs.

Built in 1971, the Bulldog T1 was flown in the duke's honour over the church at Aberlady as the honorary air commodore was laid to rest last year, and was also flown in a 'missing-man' formation during a memorial ceremony in Haddington last summer.

 Dr Gordon Rintoul, National Museums Scotland director, said: "We are very grateful to the Dowager Duchess of Hamilton for gifting us a key example of one of the most successful aircraft ever built in Scotland.

 "This Bulldog was the first one to be built and flown in Scotland and it appeared at most of the airshows at the National Museum of Flight, piloted by the duke himself."

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