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Victor Gate Guard at RAF Marham being removed (Read 213 times)
Roger Whitcomb
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Victor Gate Guard at RAF Marham being removed
Feb 15th, 2021 at 4:46pm
Video of the Victor being removed

The disposal of the Victor Gate Guardian at RAF Marham took place towards the end of 2020. Unfortunately, the Victor aircraft was in a poor condition and the decision to remove her had been made in the Spring of 2020. Potential purchasers had initially been invited to submit bids to take on the aircraft but, due to the size of the Victor and the complexities in removing and maintaining her, along with the associated costs, no-one was able to take on this project.

The removal of the aircraft was a massive task and required specialists to undertake the job. The Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron (JARTS) were approached to see if they could assist. JARTS, based at MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, is made up of personnel from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy who are dedicated to the safe recovery and transportation of crashed aircraft in the UK and overseas.

JARTS enlisted the help of Recovery Mechanics from 7 Aviation Close Support Battalion REME, based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk. They supported with the preparation of the ground ready and used their MAN SVR Recovery vehicles to pull the Victor aircraft from her position on a gravel area, onto the hardstanding of the Station car park before dismantling could commence.

Following months of planning, made even more complicated with the additional Covid-19 precautions that had to be put in place, and after the bird nesting season, the work to dismantle the aircraft was finally underway. The whole removal process took approximately two weeks with the team working into the night on occasions to get the job done.
Chief Petty Officer Burton, the Project Manager from JARTS said “When we were asked to assist with the disposal of the Victor Gate Guardian we jumped at the chance. We don’t get tasked to deal with the recovery of a large aircraft such as this very often, so this was a fantastic training opportunity for the team. There were added challenges with the removal as we had to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines were adhered to and, with the proud history of the Victor, we had to dismantle her in a sensitive manner. I am really proud of the way the JARTS team and Recovery Mechanics from 7 Aviation Close Support Battalion REME worked together to achieve this.

RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Beck said, “Whilst it was sad to see the Victor Gate Guardian go the decision to remove her had to be made. Despite the fantastic efforts of a team of volunteers who tried to maintain her the aircraft was in very poor condition. We didn’t have the time, funds or indeed the expertise to keep her in a safe condition. The Victor will not be forgotten though as there are plans to commemorate the V Force within the area where the Victor stood when the aircraft is replaced by a Tornado GR4.”

Victor aircraft can still be seen at the Royal Air Force Museum and the Imperial War Museum collection at Duxford where they are maintained by skilled and professional teams. The story of the Victor fleet and those who flew and supported it is preserved for perpetuity in both museums for the Nation and the national collection
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