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Prince William makes flying visit to RAF base to mark 100th anniversary

Prince William took a flight in a Chipmunk aircraft with Squadron Leader Duncan Mason. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Prince William took a flight in a Chipmunk training aircraft as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the 29th Squadron at RAF Coningsby.

The Duke of Cambdige, who is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire where the squadron is based, joined Squadron Leader Duncan Mason in the cockpit for the flight.

William trained with the RAF, flying as a helicopter pilot with the service's search and rescue unit before joining the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Earlier, the second in line to the throne honoured the squadron, with a flying history dating back to the First World War, by taking the royal salute.

He sat with a large group of family members and veterans of the squadron on the station's tarmac as he observed the 100th anniversary parade.

William received the royal salute from the servicemen and women and a flypast of four Typhoons roared overhead.

A military band entertained the guests with popular tunes like the theme from The Great Escape and Thunderbirds.

Prince William observed an air display at the RAF base. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The squadron was formed in November 1915 and by the following March was deployed to France with its pilots seeing action during the Battle of the Somme.

During the Second World War, Flight Lieutenant Guy Gibson, later to earn global fame as the leader of the Dambusters, joined the squadron, and more than 60 years later in the Falklands conflict the unit deployed to Stanley to provide air defence.

By the late 1980s the squadron became the first operational unit to be equipped with the Tornado F3 and it deployed to Saudi Arabia after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, participating in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Today it not only trains Typhoon pilots but is one of a number of squadrons that help defend the skies above the UK.

Typhoons have been scrambled from Coningsby a number of times this year after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK air space.