Thunderous cheers and applause greeted the heroes of RAF Marham’s II (AC) Squadron this afternoon as they returned home from their latest tour of Afghanistan.

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Families and friends flocked in their hundreds to the West Norfolk base for an emotional reunion with their husbands, wives, parents and children.

Affectionately known as Shiny Two, the reconnaissance squadron has spent a demanding four months in Afghanistan where it has played a crucial role in Operation Herrick.

Wing Commander Nick Tucker-Lowe, commanding officer of II (AC) Squadron, said: “It’s been a great homecoming for everyone - we had such a wonderfully warm welcome.

“We have been been incredibly well-supported by our family and friends and all our neighbours in Norfolk while in Afghanistan.

“It’s been a tremendously successful deployment and we have conducted hundreds of close air support reconnaissance missions across the length and breadth of of Afghanistan, supporting UK troops, our coalition partners and Afghans alike.

“There is a real team spirit building across the whole of Afghanistan.”

Alongside their day-to-day duties in Afghanistan, members managed to raise nearly £5,000 for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports the children of servicemen and women killed while serving with the armed forces.

The II squadron formed in May, 1912 and members set themselves a gruelling sponsored challenge as part of series of events held to commemorate its centenary.

One of its first flights was from Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire to Montrose in Scotland and in honour of that historic flight, personnel completed the same distance every day for 100 days.

Using treadmills and exercise bikes, rowing machines and cross trainers, the squadron covered 100,000km in 100 days while on deployment, raising £4,800 for the King’s Lynn-based charity.

Wng Cmdr Tucker-Lowe, who took command of the squadron in January last year, added: “Everyone put in a huge amount of effort and it really parallels and reflects what every serviceman and women put in to the deployment.”

For even more pictures and tales of emotional reunions, see tomorrow’s EDP.

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