Aircraft

'A Sad Day': Bidding Farewell To RAF Marham's Victor Gate Guardian

A Tornado jet is to replace the Cold War-era aircraft as the Norfolk base's gate guardian.

Farewells have been paid to RAF Marham's gate guardian which is to be scrapped after falling into near disrepair.

A small event was held at the Norfolk base over the weekend, with those who have an affiliation to the Victor aircraft invited to see her one last time.

Roger Haller, who was the last Victor Crew Chief, described it as "a bit of a sad day".

"I have some fond memories of this [the aircraft], going around the world in that," the RAF veteran said.

Earlier this year, the Cold War-era jet was offered for free to anyone who could remove, rehome and restore her.

Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas was among those to express an interest in the aircraft before pulling out of the running after a "reality check", tweeting: "Sorry all but I couldn't even squeeze it into my front & backyard."

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

After finding no suitable new home for the jet, RAF Marham said it had made the "difficult decision" to dispose of it.

Station Commander Group Captain James Beck said it was "a great shame", adding the aircraft "reached the end of her life as a gate guardian" because of "fatigue of the metal". 

"These particular platforms were never designed just to sit here. They were meant to be flown and then have significant maintenance," he said.

Group Captain Beck added that a Tornado jet will replace the Victor as the base's gate guardian.

Stephen Parker, who was the Victor Crew Chief in 1980-1985, also attended the event and described the Victor as "the Rolls-Royce of the V bombers".

"She flew the highest, she flew the fastest and she dropped the bigger bomb load in its time," he told Forces News.

"First flown in the 1950s and it was almost Mach 1, which was the speed of Concorde. It was a unique aeroplane."

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

In 1982, Victor aircraft from RAF Marham took part in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War.

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