Celebrating 100 years of RAF Marham
For the last century, planes have been taking off from the base at Marham to protect the country.
From the humble beginnings of an 80-acre grass field site, RAF Marham has grown to become the largest and busiest base in the air force.
Wooden biplanes, iconic bombers and high tech jets have taken off from the landing strips at Marham.
This year marks the base’s 100th anniversary and a host of events are being held to celebrate this milestone anniversary.
A Marham Mudder, iron-a-thon, flower planting and the Tornado trail in Lynn are among the events being planned along with a visit by the Queen and a special celebration at the Norfolk Show.
The 100 events celebrations kicked-off on Tuesday with the grand unveiling of a new emblem over one of the base’s iconic gate guardians, a Tornado GR4, followed by a 500ft flypast.
Speaking at the ceremony, Station Commander, Group Capt Rich Davies said: “The future is here. This aircraft will continue to operate until 2019 and is an important symbol of continuing 100 years of history.”
Following on from the devastating Zeppelin raids over Lynn and Snettisham during the First World War, the government responded to calls for great protection.
So Marham was founded in 1916 as a night landing ground to cover between the village and Tydd St Mary.
But once peace was declared the base was no longer needed and closed down in 1919.
As tensions mounted in Europe in the run-up to the Second World War, Marham was once more reopened and expanded.
But the base did not see the end of the Second World War as it closed in 1944 for concrete runways which brought iconic Lancaster and B17s to the base during the late 1940s.
As the relations with the Soviets cooled, the base also played its part and received nuclear capability in 1957.
Airmen based at Marham took part in the Falklands War and a Victor, which took part in the bombing of Port Stanley, acts as a gate guardian at the base.
In later years, it has taken part in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait, a Tornado will be painted in desert colours.
Group Capt Davies said it was an hour to be in charge of the station during its 100th year and is hoping the local community will join in the celebrations.
He said: “What I am hoping for is that we will get events going in the local community.
“People in Downham and Swaffham along with councillors have already approached us.
“We have a really good story to tell here.”