RAF Lossiemouth personnel in homecoming parade

Image caption,
Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the parade

RAF Lossiemouth personnel back from duty in Afghanistan have paraded through the streets of Elgin.

Thousands of people watched the homecoming march, which followed a route through the centre of the Moray town and back to its town hall.

There was also an RAF Tornado flypast with four GR4s flying in formation.

Moray Council deputy convener Allan Wright said the event was a public display of what RAF Lossiemouth, and RAF Kinloss, meant to the area.

He told BBC Scotland: "The two bases are very deeply integrated into the communities of Moray.

"We are very proud of them."

A decision on the future of RAF Lossiemouth, and that of RAF Leuchars in Fife, will be announced after the Scottish elections in May.

The airfield at RAF Kinloss will cease to operate after 31 July.

Surveillance mission

The closure came after new Nimrod orders were cancelled after a review last year.

The Ministry of Defence has suggested that Kinloss may still have a future as a military establishment.

Image caption,
The Tornado's support allowed ground troops to secure a Taliban compound

It could house British troops being withdrawn from bases in Germany but no decisions have yet been made.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that a Tornado from RAF Lossiemouth, on a surveillance mission over Afghanistan, was diverted to attack Taliban fighters who had launched an ambush.

The GR4 crew, from the base's 14 Squadron, were on their first mission in Helmand.

Ground troops called in an air strike after they were pinned down.

The aircraft launched a machine gun attack, allowing the UK troops to regroup, and later secure a weapons haul and bomb-making equipment.

GR4 pilot Sqn Ldr Tom Hill and weapons systems operator Flt Lt Ben Dempster were involved in the operation.

The exact date of the recent incident has not been revealed.

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