II (AC) Sqn 100th Anniversary, RAF Marham, 12th May 2012

    Formed on 13th May 1912 at Farnborough in Hampshire, II Sqn is one of the original Royal Flying Corps units, and has gained numerous distinguished battle honours over its 100 year history. It gained it's photo reconnaissance role during the second world war and has operated numerous types in that role.

    The current type is the Panavia Tornado, which it took into service at RAF Laarbruch in West Germany during 1988. Now upgraded to GR4 these should remain in service for a number of years yet, and are a superb and flexible platform.

    After weeks of miserable wet drought conditions in East Anglia, the day of the Centenary celebrations dawned bright with a very unusual coloured sky (blue), and this held out throughout the day. We were introduced and briefed, then allowed to wander freely around the HAS site, with just a small number of other enthusiasts meaning it was a very relaxed and informal event.

    II Sqn personnel had done a great job, with the majority of the aircraft having been towed out of the HASes and positioned well in the sunlight. The aircraft were fitted with a huge variety of weapons loads, demonstrating the huge flexibility of the type.


    A specially painted aircraft (ZA398) was positioned away from obstructions, allowing great photographic opportunities, and the taxiway had a line-up of visiting aircraft and fully marked up Tornadoes (nice to see a bit of colour).

    A treat for some of the enthusiasts was the specially arranged appearance of Tornado GR4 ZD844 on the Compass Pan, currently being serviced by CMU. This particular frame has been a cause for much gnashing of teeth for certain people due to it's apparent lack of sightings over the last few decades, so it's presence today was very much appreciated in some fields.

    Following a very relaxed wander around, and some refreshments and a perusal of the memorabilia, we were then guided round the adjacent 31 Sqn HAS site to view their aircraft too.


   All too soon, our visit was over and we said our thanks and goodbyes.

Congratulations to Paul for arranging this superb visit, kudos to all the personnel for their work in arming and positioning the aircraft, and a grateful thanks to OC II Sqn for his permission in allowing the visit to proceed.

Full list of aircraft noted:-

2 Sqn's HAS area
"347" RAF BE.2c replica (G-AWYI) Private
ZA398 Tornado GR4 Special marks 2 Sqn
ZA400 Tornado GR4 011 2 Sqn
ZD713 Tornado GR4 081 No marks
ZD716 Tornado GR4 084 No marks
ZD748 Tornado GR4 096 2 Sqn
ZD788 Tornado GR4 098 No marks
ZD792 Tornado GR4 100 No marks
ZG726 Tornado GR4 125 2 Sqn
ZJ918 Typhoon FGR4 QO-L 3 Sqn
Inside HAS 53
ZA602 Tornado GR4 No marks
ZD849 Tornado GR4 110 617 Sqn marks
Compass Pan
ZD844 Tornado GR4 107 No marks, CMU
On Flightline
XW210 Puma HC1 33/230 Sqn
661 Mirage 2000D 133-XI EC.3
ZA452 Tornado GR4 021 31 Sqn marks
ZA551 Tornado GR4 043 No marks
ZA587 Tornado GR4 055 15 Sqn marks on port side of fin only
ZD895 Tornado GR4 115 9 Sqn marks
ZE116 Tornado GR4 116 12 Sqn marks
ZG756 Tornado GR4 131 617 Sqn marks
Inside various 31 Sqn HAS's
ZA406 Tornado GR4 015 No marks
ZA472 Tornado GR4 031 31 Sqn
ZA473 Tornado GR4 032 No marks
ZA548 Tornado GR4 040 No marks
ZA607 Tornado GR4 070 31 Sqn
ZD715 Tornado GR4 083 12 Sqn marks
ZD848 Tornado GR4 109 No marks
ZD851 Tornado GR4 112 31 Sqn
ZG727 Tornado GR4 126 No marks
ZG775 Tornado GR4 134 No marks