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Honours for RAF Marham-based II(AC) and IX(B) squadrons for daring raid on Libya

PUBLISHED: 13:13 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 11 October 2017

Tornado GR4s returning to RAF Marham from operations over Libya. Picture: Ian Burt

Tornado GR4s returning to RAF Marham from operations over Libya. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2011

Tornado squadrons from RAF Marham have been awarded special battle honours for raids on Libya.

How the mission unfolded. Graphic: Annette Hudson How the mission unfolded. Graphic: Annette Hudson

The honours, approved by the Queen, are awarded to commemorate notable battles, actions, or engagements in which squadron aircrew or RAF Regiment personnel played a memorable part.

Today the MoD announced battle honours have been approved for 27 operational flying squadrons and eight Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons for their service during operations in Iraq.

Five operational flying squadrons and three Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons have been awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

For operations in Libya, battle honours were approved for 13 operational flying squadrons with the then Marham-based II(AC) and IX(B) squadrons being awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

In March 2011 four Tornado jets from IX(B) took off from Norfolk on a 3,000 mile round trip to deliver long-range airstrikes against Libyan Regime air defences targets.

Personnel from II(AC) Squadron planned the complex mission and prepared the aircraft.

The raid was the first bombing raid carried out by aircraft based in the UK since the Second World War and involved multiple air-to-air refuelling en route to and from the target.

After the initial strikes, IX(B) Squadron deployed to Italian Air Force Base Gioia Del Colle and mounted an intensive bombing, close air support and armed reconnaissance campaign against the Libyan Regime’s mobile military forces. The unit was relieved by II(AC) Squadron a month later.

Both squadrons were also awarded battle honours for their role in operations in Iraq, along with Marham-based 31 and 12(B) Sqns.

The RAF’s deputy commander for operations, Air Marshal Stuart Atha said: “Whilst individuals are often recognised for bravery and courage, the award of a battle honour to a unit is rare, so I am delighted to hear that the fighting spirit of Royal Air Force squadrons has been recognised at the highest level by their award today.

“Those air mobility, rotary, fast jet, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance squadrons, and RAF Regiment units, whose people have contributed so much to these operations in the air and on the ground, should be hugely proud of this important addition to their legacies.”

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