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Final farewell to iconic aircraft at RAF Marham




Around 850 people turned up at RAF Marham yesterday afternoon (Thursday, March 14) to bid farewell to the iconic Tornado aircraft.

Guests gathered in the hangar to see a disbandment parade from the last remaining squadrons (No IX B and 31).

This involved all the aircraft and personnel that have served it.

The parade was led by Wing Commander Gatland, chief of staff of the Tornado GR Force headquarters.

After the parade, guests moved outside to witness a flypast by a single Tornado GR4 aircraft, the final scheduled flight of an RAF Tornado.

Crowds gather to bid farewell to the Tornado aircraft
Crowds gather to bid farewell to the Tornado aircraft

Squadron Leaders Ian Dornan and Stephen Beardmore had the honour of flying the final aircraft.

"The fact that we have been able to conduct these flypasts is testament to the hard work that has been put in by the engineers to ensure the jets were serviceable," Mr Dornan said.

"It was quite emotional knowing that we would be landing this amazing aircraft for the very last time. The skies over Norfolk and the UK are going to be a lot emptier without her."

The final farewell to the Tornado
The final farewell to the Tornado

It marked the celebration of an aircraft that has flown a total of 185603 hours on operations from 1990 until its final mission on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

The Tornado has been on almost continuous operations during that time having first been deployed for Operation Granby in 1991 as part of the Gulf War, which was triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Disbandment parade in the hangar at RAF Marham
Disbandment parade in the hangar at RAF Marham

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said: "Today is a time to rightly recognise the truly exceptional achievements of the people who have been the Tornado Force.

Squadrons disbandment parade
Squadrons disbandment parade

"We reflect on the courage, skill, commitment and sadly sometimes sacrifice of those who have been at the heart of the Tornado story, from its inception through to the present day.

"All have played their part to the full in the success story that is the Tornado."

Squadron disbandment parade with aircraft lined up
Squadron disbandment parade with aircraft lined up


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