RAF Marham bids farewell to XIII Squadron in style

Six Tornado crews from RAF Marham's XIII Squadron roared over the base today for the final time.

Around 100 people, including family members, fellow squadron members and the media, gathered at 1.13pm to watch the Tornado jets fly in a perfect dagger-like formation 1,000ft over the base.

The Tornado jets then headed to two of the squadron's former bases at RAF Honington and RAF Wyton, in Cambridgeshire, before returning to Marham for an airfield attack demonstration from 100ft – much to the delight of the crowd.

The squadron is being disbanded as part the government's cuts to the defence budget.

Karen Bury, whose husband Nick was in the leading Tornado, brought her six-month-old daughter Isabel to see the squadron's farewell performance.

She said: 'It is a sad that the squadron is being disbanded and that this is their last fly past.

'But we are immensely proud of everyone in the squadron and of everything they have achieved.'

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The six GR4 aircraft landed just after 2pm and crews waved to the cheering spectators as a Lancaster Bomber then appeared on the horizon and flew over the base to pay tribute to the squadron.

Wing Commander Howie Edwards, commanding officer for XIII Squadron, was the last to disembark and was greeted by RAF Marham station commander Pete Rochelle and a glass of champagne.

Wng Cdr Edwards said: 'I have mixed emotions really but it is a very significant day and one of the most poignant in the squadron's history.

'We have had a very busy last few months so we are really pleased to be going out on a high.'

The squadron will be officially disbanded in June 1 with aircraft from XIII and most of the squadron's personnel being transferred to other squadrons.

The Tornados from Marham are still currently playing a leading role in Coalition operations in Libya.

The future of RAF Marham is also expected to be announced in the next few weeks when the government reveals if the base, or RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, will be the home for Tornados.

*See tomorrow's EDP for the pictures and full reaction to today's event.

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