It’s time to bid a fond farewell to 12 (Bomber) Squadron as it lodges its standard at RAF College Cranwell after 25 years of Tornado Operations.
Its final flight took place on December 14, 2017, in the skies over Iraq and Syria, as a pair of Tornado GR4 aircraft successfully completed an armed reconnaissance mission over Iraq.
Wing Commander Nikki Thomas, who took part in the mission, said:
"It was very poignant for us to deliver the Squadron's final flight as an operational mission because, since it's reformation at RAF Marham in January 2015, 12 Squadron has been at the very forefront of UK operations to defeat Daesh."
12 Sqn has been regularly deployed as part of Operation Shader - the name given to the British Forces’ fight against the so-called Islamic State, over the last three years.
The squadron has completed over 1000 missions, including numerous armed reconnaissance flights to gather vital intelligence in addition to strike missions in support of the coalition campaign.
Wing Commander Nikki Thomas added:
“I am immensely proud of all the Squadron has achieved over these last three years and fully believe it showcases the Royal Air Force at its best; reacting swiftly and decisively to world events, to protect the interests of the UK and our Allies."
The squadron has operated the Panavia Tornado during the last 25 years and, as the rumble of 12 Sqn Tornado engines filled the evening air for the final time, it was announced that it would reform as a Typhoon Squadron based at RAF Coningsby.
Personnel have now been reassigned to IX Bomber Sqn and 31 Sqn, allowing the Tornado Force to keep up its vital operations.
To celebrate the squadron’s proud heritage, its standard was displayed before Her Majesty, The Queen on February 2, 2018.
Here, the standard will remain lodged until 12 Sqn reforms as a Typhoon Squadron, ready to deliver on their motto 'leads the field' once more.