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The Lightning - Wattisham Station Heritage Airfield Museum

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The Lightning

Airfield History
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In 1960 both 56 and 111 Sqn’s  relinquished their Hunters and moved on to the English Electric Lightning F1A. In 1963 56 Squadron formed a display team, known as the “firebirds”, and were led by Squadron Leader David Steard. In 1965 they were replaced by 111 Squadron led by Wg Commander George Black.This was the era when many Lightning's painted their tail fins in bold solid colours from their squadron colours, with a large squadron badge in the centre. At the beginning of 1965 both squadrons had replaced their F1A’s for the F3. In 1966 a Target Facilities Flight was formed using old F1’s and F1A’s.

In 1967, 56 Squadron left for Cyprus and in the May, 29 Squadron arrived after swapping in their Javelin FAW9R’s for the Lightning F3.In 1973 the Target Facility Flight was disbanded. In September 1974, 111 Squadron moved north to Leuchars to retrain and re-equip with the Phantom FG1. In December 1974, 29 Squadron departed for Coningsby to start training on the Phantom FGR2. In January 1975, 56 Squadron moved back to Wattisham from Cypres re-equipped with the last Lightning version the F6. In May 1975 23 Squadron joined 56 Sqn at Wattisham, the last two front line Squadrons to fly Lightning’s from Wattisham. The Lightning era came to an end in early 1976 when both 56 and 23 Squadrons converted to the Phantom FGR2

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