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Marham’s future

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Marham’s future

Old 16th Oct 2018, 18:54
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OK, joking aside, they won’t close Marham, we all know that would be absurd, even if Williamson doesn’t, !

However just what required the spending of 250m Gbp. (HAS perhaps but what else? )

When I was at Marham we had four squadrons of Valiants, 3 bomber plus a tanker unit, large numbers of “ special weapons” both U.K. and American. Enormous facilities.

So so what was all this money spent on for these little jets ?
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Old 16th Oct 2018, 19:02
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I could guess very sophisticated simulator facilities, which don’t come cheap, for a start.
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Old 16th Oct 2018, 19:02
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Runways that don't melt when the snow blow blows?
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Old 16th Oct 2018, 20:42
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General Schwarzkopf relates in his biography the time, as a junior officer, he was sent to explain to a state senator all the very good reasons an army base in the state would be closed. After the presentation the senator thanked Norman for coming and explaining so well. He then gave his reply 'son, over my dead fu**king body'.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 08:16
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Stop fretting folks!

When 'The man of the People' gets into power, he will close all of them anyway.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 09:37
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
OK, joking aside, they won’t close Marham, we all know that would be absurd, even if Williamson doesn’t, !

However just what required the spending of 250m Gbp. (HAS perhaps but what else? )

When I was at Marham we had four squadrons of Valiants, 3 bomber plus a tanker unit, large numbers of “ special weapons” both U.K. and American. Enormous facilities.

So so what was all this money spent on for these little jets ?
Sticking my neck out, it may be that things have needed refurbishing since the 'recent' departure of the Valiants...
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:27
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They've got a nice Victor K2 sitting on the parade square. I'd put in a bid for that if I could move it down to Cornwall!
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:34
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Originally Posted by Bing View Post
Sticking my neck out, it may be that things have needed refurbishing since the 'recent' departure of the Valiants...
Yes, of course, it’s a long time, 53 years, since the Valiants went, BUT, Marham has been in continuous use since then as very large base for squadrons of Victor tankers and the Tornado.

So, just wondering what the new money has been spent on in preparation for the Lightning 2.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:35
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Have they rebuilt the NAAFI, that was a sure sign a base was going to close, plus runway resurfacing, oh hang on a minute didn't they recently do just that ?.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 10:36
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...those jets do need a fairly fast broadband connection and that doesn't come cheap!
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 11:50
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
I could guess very sophisticated simulator facilities, which don’t come cheap, for a start.

Ha ha nice one...
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 12:33
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post


Yes, of course, it’s a long time, 53 years, since the Valiants went, BUT, Marham has been in continuous use since then as very large base for squadrons of Victor tankers and the Tornado.

So, just wondering what the new money has been spent on in preparation for the Lightning 2.
https://www.forces.net/news/raf-marh...5-stealth-jets

Runways, buildings, and maintenance facilities. I'd guess a lot of it was work that needed to be done if the base was going to stay open post Tornado, but no-one was willing to invest until that decision was made.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 14:37
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
Yes, of course, it’s a long time, 53 years, since the Valiants went,


Time flies!

I was demobbed from 214 @ Marham as the Valiants were scrapped.

February 1965
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 15:21
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On the 8th December 1964, shortly after we had left our refuelling drogue on a Lightning from Leconfield. we touched down at Marham in Valiant XD815 and found that the aircraft had been grounded.

We then drove down to Honington, our home base, which was having the runway resurfaced.

I believe that this was the last Valiant tanker operation and there was probably a grateful Lightning pilot for that.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 16:07
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
On the 8th December 1964, shortly after we had left our refuelling drogue on a Lightning from Leconfield. we touched down at Marham in Valiant XD815 and found that the aircraft had been grounded.

We then drove down to Honington, our home base, which was having the runway resurfaced.

I believe that this was the last Valiant tanker operation and there was probably a grateful Lightning pilot for that.
Interesting comment!


I thought the last Valiant sortie was on. Dec 9th, after we were recalled from a hilohi in 865 of 207 sqn.

Perhaps the tankers were were grounded before the bombers with our SACEUR commitment.

Indeed time does fly, or at least it did for me for another 33 years !




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Old 17th Oct 2018, 16:10
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Woops, , wrong button!

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Old 17th Oct 2018, 16:51
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
Perhaps the tankers were were grounded before the bombers with our SACEUR commitment.
IIRC the Valiants remained with a nuclear, read-only, role for some weeks after the grounding.

Regarding refurbishment of a base. Apart from refurbishment and closure, a role change is the traditional excuse for a refurb. It goes like this:

A unit is posted on to an existing facility but the facility needs essential changes to make it fit for purpose, things like carpets and a new doorway for the bosses office. Some years later, say 2, the new boss wants but can't have as there is no money. A couple of decades later the original is still in use as it was OK for the previous X years. Come a new role and it is clearly totally unsuitable so . . .
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 17:15
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I thought the last Valiant sortie was on. Dec 9th, after we were recalled from a hilohi in 865 of 207 sqn.
There is the possibility that my log book has the wrong date and it was the 9th.

What I remember was that as we crossed the threshold there were the lights of the Station Commander's car stopped in front of a Valiant that was approaching the holding point. We heard that he had driven in front of it because he could not contact Air Traffic to stop it taking off when he was told that they were grounded.

About 30 minutes after we landed a bomber landed and that was that.

It was in the dark at about 19.00hrs so does that tie up with your memories.
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 18:33
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To be honest, after a couple of G and Ts and ny advancing years I can’t remember !

However we did stand QRA for some time after the grounding. I recall getting back to Marham on Xmas night for QRA duty only to be told I was no longer required !

That said, I did a couple of years on Victor 1 tankers after the Valiant, after that the only time I went back to Marham was with a Canberra with a near total electrical failure.

El Aden with grass is a bit unfair, quite a nice station really, with the delights of Swaffham and Norwich (Whites !) close by !
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Old 17th Oct 2018, 23:13
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I was stationed at Marham as Assistant ATC from spring of 67 until early 69 and I'm sure I saw a Valiant from Boscombe Down doing a flypast. I recall it was white as well. I wonder if Boscombe Down would still have a have a record ?
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