RAF Marham squadron to fly over East Anglia for the final time today

RAF Marham will bid farewell to XIII Squadron today as part of the government's cuts to the defence budget.

Tornado jets will fly in a six-ship formation over Marham at 1.13pm precisely before heading to two of the squadron's former bases at RAF Honington and RAF Wyton, in Cambridgeshire.

The XIII squadron was formed in Gosport on January 10, 1915 and was deployed to France in October that year as artillery observation and photographic reconnaissance. Just a few days later it suffered its first casualties when two men were shot down behind enemy lines.

During the second world war the squadron was based in Hampshire and flying Lysanders but it moved to France with a number of other squadrons to form the air component of the British Expeditionary Force.

It later moved to Oldham and north Africa before being disbanded in April 1946. The squadron was reformed as a photographic reconnaissance unit in September 1946 and operated in the Middle East with the Mosquito aircraft.

It remained in the Mediterranean for 20 years operating from both Cyprus and Malta before being disbanded again 1982 when it was based at RAF Wyton. It re-formed in 1990 at RAF Honington before moving to Marham and taking part in the first Gulf conflict.

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

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

The future of RAF Marham is 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.

Meanwhile, members of the squadron will be presented with a unique memento in tribute to their service thanks to the skills of a south Norfolk dagger maker

Rod Matless, 67, of Low Street, Crownthorpe, near Wymondham, has produced 32 hand-crafted daggers as a leaving gift for the squadron members.

Each 12-inch dagger, made of beech and mirror-polished Sheffield carbon steel, is engraved with the recipient's name, rank, duration of service and a catalogued number.

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