Iconic jet is new gate guardian at Norfolk air base

This image is the final showing of the new RAF Marham Gate Guardian and memorial tributes. This is t

The new gate guardian at RAF Marham - Credit: SAC Conor Morgan

An iconic warplane now stands guard at the RAF base it flew from.

The Tornado flew from RAF Marham for almost 40 years from 1982 to 2019. The two-seater jets took part in both Gulf Wars, along with conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan.

The last fly past of the Tornado fighter jet over RAF Marham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The last fly past of the Tornado fighter jet over RAF Marham - Credit: Matthew Usher

The aircraft were retired from service in March 2019 after a spectacular final fly past over Marham. They were replaced by the F-35 Lightning stealth fighter.

Now a Tornado stands as the base's gate guardian. The aircraft has been given a new coat of paint which includes a special design on the tail and spine to commemorate the squadrons which flew it, including IX (B) and II(AC).

Images show the new Gate Guardian of RAF Marham being positioned in its new home across the road fro

The Tornado's tail art commemorates squadrons which flew the jet from RAF Marham - Credit: SAC Conor Morgan/MOD

Royal Engineers prepared the ground for it to stand on and built a special heritage wall which commemorates the aircraft that have flown from RAF Marham during its 105-year existence and the personnel who have served and supported operations at the Norfolk base. 

RAF Marham's commanding officer, Group Capt Phil Marr, said: "Having spent a large amount of my career on Tornado it was great to see the aircraft as the station’s new gate guardian when I returned to RAF Marham.

This image is the final showing of the new RAF Marham Gate Guardian and memorial tributes. This is t

The Tornado beside the heritage wall at RAF Marham - Credit: SAC Conor Morgan/MOD

"The team have put a lot of time and effort into relocating the new gate guardian into its new position and preparing the surrounding area into an area of commemoration and reflection.”

Most Read

The Tornado replaces the Cold War Victor aircraft which previously stood on the same spot near the main gate.

The Victor jet outside RAF Marham was offered for free to anyone who could remove and restore it, bu

The Victor jet outside RAF Marham was offered for free to anyone who could remove and restore it, but was scrapped after no-one with the means to do so came forward - Credit: RAF Marham

The jets were converted into flying tankers and took part in the so-called Black Buck raids, when Vulcan bombers flew 3,000 miles from Ascension Island to bomb the runway at Port Stanley airport during the 1982 Falklands War.

The RAF offered to give the Victor away to anyone who could dismantle and remove it. But the aircraft was broken up for scrap after no-one came forward to offer it a new home.

The aircraft was moved to the station car park to be dismantled

The Victor aircraft was moved to the station car park to be dismantled after no-one came forward - Credit: SAC Craig Williams

A new station flagpole has also been custom made and put in position near the Tornado. It features an F-35 Lightning weather vane at the top, while the base features various aircraft from Marham’s history. 

Images show the new Gate Guardian of RAF Marham being positioned in its new home across the road fro

The Tornado being lifted into position - Credit: LAC Natalie Adams RAF


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter