Leicester

RAF flag taken down at Cottesmore for final time

The Royal Air Force flag has been taken down at RAF Cottesmore for the final time after 74 years.

The station in Rutland has been used by the RAF since it opened in 1938 but it is now being handed over to the Army.

During the 1960s Cottesmore was the base for nuclear capable Vulcan bombers and it was the home of the Harrier aircraft until 2010.

Dignitaries watched as the RAF Ensign was taken down for the last time in a ceremony on Saturday.

Councillor Joyce Lucas, mayor of Oakham, said it was a "very sad day" for people who lived nearby.

'Miss greatly'

"They are just so sad about it all but are looking forward to seeing the Army here, for economic reasons," she said.

"The freedom of entry parade is something that we will miss greatly. They used to walk through with bayonets fixed, flags flying and drums beating. We shall miss that."

Group Captain Richard Hill, station commander of RAF Cottesmore, said he was proud to see the way in which the end of the station was being marked, but sad that 74 years of history was coming to an end.

"I'm very pleased that the site will be handed over to the Army and there will continue to be a defence use for the base," he added.

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