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Officers' mess reopens following spider scare

A bar and an officers' mess at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk have re-opened after a scare over deadly black widow spiders.

A female black widow spider Credit: PA/Alex Brandon

Two spiders were captured in the bar yesterday and the area was sealed off and fumigated.

A colony of black widows was reportedly found on the base last month in a crate flown in from California.

The two arachnids found yesterday were later found not to be black widows, whose bite can be fatal.

They were reportedly confined to one hanger while a pest control agency was drafted in. Prince Harry is normally based at Wattisham but is currently serving in Afghanistan.

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Apache Officer wins Queen's Commendation

Major Mike Neville Credit: Ministry of Defence

A Suffolk based Army officer is to receive a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for his leadership and bravery.

Major Mike Neville, who is 38, was the Officer Commanding 656 Squadron, of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps. He commanded Apache attack helicopter missions over Libya.

Despite the risks Major Neville encouraged his aircrews to attack a well-equipped enemy armed with 20,000 surface-to-air missiles.

The Ministry of Defence says the threat to him and his Wattisham based crew was unprecedented. Senior officers say his actions set the standard throughout the tour.

Phantom returns to Suffolk airbase

Phanton XT914 returns to Wattisham Credit: Ministry of Defence

A Phantom warplane has returned to a Suffolk airbase 20 years after the last aircraft thundered down the runway.

XT914 was one of the last RAF planes to be based at Wattisham before the station was handed over to the Army in 1993.

The aircraft had stood as a gate guardian at RAF Brampton in Cambridgeshrie but with the station’s closure in 2013 it has returned to Wattisham for refurbishment.

Once it's been restored it will go on display at the Wattisham Heritage Museum.

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