RAF Marham Aviation Heritage Centre and RAF Marham Tour 28th Feb 2017
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Starting at Longwater Retail Park some members went to RAF Marham by car while six members went by minibus at 12:00. Those who live north of RAF Marham met everyone else at the RAF Marham Aviation Heritage Centre in the village. When we were nearly at Marham, a Puma arrived and landed which was a good start to our trip and things to come. After a quick snack we met Warrant Officer Mo Howard who gave a talk at last November's meeting and Warrant Officer Steve Roberts MBE Retired who is the Curator of the Heritage Centre Museum. Mr Roberts took us around the museum starting with the World War 1 section of Neatishead and Marham, followed by World War II, the Bomber Offensive section and Mosquito Wing with display cabinets. We then moved onto the Cold War and Valiants, missing the Interactive Learning Area, Rememberance Area and Royal Display due to the time factor, which we can perhaps include in a future trip. It was then onto the Victor and Canberra, Tornado, Falklands War, Gulf War Operations, Modern Day operations and finally The Future with the building of RAF/Royal Navy's Marham's F-35 Lightning II. We thanked Steve Roberts for showing us around the museum. Some of us then had a quick look in the shop before Mr Mo Howard gave us all our ID cards and we boarded a bus to take us around the RAF Marham base. We passed the Tornado and Victor Gate Guards before going round the Blue Bull roundabout, which had the RAF Marham Station's Crest on and which was re-dedicated in 2016 commemorating 100 years of the RAF Station. Later we saw a Canberra PR9 (XH169) with special tail markings on. This was on display further on our tour and so we could not take photos of it. We saw the four main hangers for maintenance and the new hangers which are being built for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Halfway along our tour we passed the old Cold War nuclear bunkers and where they train the guard dogs just the other side of the nuclear buildings. Near the runway we stopped to watch a few Tornados and also a RAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster II from Number 99 Squadron, Brize Norton, which swooped down before climbing and circling around. Further on we passed the Hardened Aircraft Shelters where the Tornados' were sitting amongst some trees. At the end of the tour we were able to take photos of the Victor K2 (XH673) Gate Guard, which had special 100 Anniversary markings on the tail and refuelling pod which were painted on in 2016. Later we had a look at the Panavia Tornado GR1B (ZA407) with its 100 Anniversary markings on the fuel tanks and tail. Around this aircrft there was a reconnaissance pod and a few weapons scattered around. We had a group photo taken before we all formed into an arrow in front of the Tornado for a further group photo. We then were able to take photos around it ourselves. It was then back onto the bus and back to the museum where we thanked Warrant Officer Mo Howard for an interesting and enjoyable time spent at the Base. Many thanks to Peter who organised the trip. Can't wait to go again!

By Andrew Elphick

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