RAF

RAF Marham Gate Guardian Scrapped

The Cold War-era Victor jet was previously offered out for free as RAF Marham said it could not afford to repair it.

RAF Marham's gate guardian has been dismantled and scrapped after no new owner able to take on the aircraft was found.

The Cold War-era Victor jet was offered out for free last year to anyone prepared to remove, rehome and restore it as the Norfolk base could not afford the repairs needed.

An assessment found the aircraft was "suffering from structural weaknesses".

There was some interest in the Victor, including from comedian Johnny Vegas, but he later pulled out of the running after a "huge reality check", tweeting: "Sorry all but I couldn't even squeeze it into my front & backyard."

Specialist Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel from Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron - JARTS - were called in to help remove the gate guardian.

It took roughly two weeks to complete the removal of the 35-metre long aircraft.

Victor Gate Guardian at RAF Marham
In 1982, the Victor aircraft took part in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War (Picture: RAF Marham).

Recovery Mechanics from 7 Aviation Close Support Battalion, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, also assisted.

In September, RAF Marham confirmed the jet was to be scrapped and a small event was held at the base in October to allow those who had an affiliation with the aircraft to see her one last time.

Due to COVID-19, the number of people able to see the jet was limited.

RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain James Beck, said: "Whilst it was sad to see the Victor gate guardian go the decision to remove her had to be made.

"Despite the fantastic efforts of a team of volunteers who tried to maintain her the aircraft was in very poor condition. We didn’t have the time, funds or indeed the expertise to keep her in a safe condition.

RAF Marham Victor gate guardian is dismantled DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT RAF MARHAM
It took about two weeks to complete the removal process of the jet (Picture: RAF Marham).

"The Victor will not be forgotten though as there are plans to commemorate the V Force within the area where the Victor stood when the aircraft is replaced by a Tornado GR4."

The Victor, produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company, was a British jet-powered strategic bomber.

It was the third and final V-bomber to be operated by the RAF.

They were later converted to tankers and in 1982, Victor aircraft from RAF Marham - including the gate guardian - took part in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War – the long-range mission by a Vulcan to bomb Argentine forces at Port Stanley airport.