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RAF: Dambusters exemplified our ideals

Prince Andrew took the salute today at the final parade by the Dambusters squadron.

The famous squadron will be temporarily disbanded later this month as their Tornado aircraft are being withdrawn from service. They practised their daring World War Two raid over Ladybower reservoir.

617 Squadron were founded at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and this was one of many tributes.

Air Vice Marshall Stuart Atha says they are a great example of the RAF:


Dambusters back in UK before temporary disbandment

The iconic RAF squadron - made famous by the Dambusters raids - has returned to the UK following it's final mission before being disbanded.

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617 Squadron - which was manned by airmen from Lincolnshire for the heroic bouncing bomb missions during World War Two - has just completed it's final mission as a Tornado unit.

It will reform in 2016 - flying the new Lightning II fighter jets.

Dambusters in final touchdown - for now

The Dambusters squadron will touch down today on the completion of its last mission before it temporarily disbands.

The famous Lancaster bombers

Created during the Second World War, 617 Squadron carried out the "bouncing bomb" raid to destroy dams in Nazi Germany.

The unit is being disbanded on April 1 as part of the planned draw down of the Tornado GR4 force, but it will reform in 2016, taking delivery of the "highly advanced" Lightning II.

The squadron left for Afghanistan in October on its final deployment to provide aerial reconnaissance for Afghan-led ground forces.

It is arguably the most famous squadron in the RAF, created in 1943 to carry out attacks with a level of accuracy then unprecedented.

The aircraft they flew carried drum-shaped bombs that bounced over water and exploded at the base of dam walls.

It gained its epithet after its first raid, for which it was initially formed, to destroy dams in the Ruhr valley in Nazi Germany.

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Credit:

Today, RAF pilots fly at least 250ft above ground, but the original Dambusters flew at only 60ft, often at night.

The squadron has twice been disbanded and reformed as it has moved from operating the Lancaster to the Vulcan to the Tornado, in a process that is usual for all RAF squadrons.

When it reforms in 2016, it will be stationed at RAF Marham in Norfolk and have both RAF and Royal Navy personnel.

There are about 175 personnel in 617, who will transfer to other Tornado squadrons, retrain on the Typhoon aircraft, or move to another part of the organisation.

The disbandment opens the way for the move of Typhoon squadrons from Leuchars in Fife to Lossiemouth, with about 350 service personnel moving to the Moray station later this year.

A Lancaster bomber in full flight

Lightning IIs will be operated from the Royal Navy's two new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, the first of which is nearing completion at Rosyth, in Fife.

A group of airmen from the Dambusters squadron prepared for their final deployment by completing a 700-mile charity run in a week.

They raised thousands of pounds for Leonard Cheshire Disability, a charity founded by Group Captain Leonard Cheshire who commanded the squadron during the Second World War.

The 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid was marked in May last year with a service at Lincoln Cathedral and a series of flypasts by Lancaster bombers.


Dambusters complete last flight before temporary disbanding

The RAF's 617 Squadron, or "Dambusters" as it's better known, has flown for the last time in Afghanistan, before it temporarily disbands.

The famous Lancaster bombers

The famous squadron was based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and took part in raids over Germany in World War Two.

Today was its final mission using Tornado GR4 fighter jets. But it will reform in 2016 with new personnel and becomes the UK’s first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron .

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Credit:

The Lockheed Martin Lightning II will be one of the RAF's most advanced fighter jets for the next decade.

Dambusters musical event

The anniversary of the Dambusters Raids was marked at the Royal Albert Hall last night. A special musical event was held. It is seventy years since the raids which set out from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Six hundred youngsters including the Lincoln Massed Ensemble took part in the presence of the last surviving member of the British Dambuster Squadron Squadron Leader George 'Johnny' Johnson.

Dambusters squadron 70th anniversary re-union

Members of the famous Dambusters squadron have been back to their former base in Lincolnshire at RAF Scampton to mark 70 years since the famous raids in Germany.

Current members are taking part in a gruelling running challenge to raise awareness of disability in the UK, before they're deployed to Afghanistan in a few weeks' time as Grace Melody-Gardner has been finding out.

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