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ON THIS DAY

23 Jun 06. Today two Canberras flew home from Operations for the last time after 55 years of service to RAF Marham. This marks the end of operational service of this venerable aircraft which first flew in 1949. The Canberra first entered operational service in 1951 with 101 Squadron at RAF Binbrook in the high-level bomber role. The PR9, flown by No 39 (1 PRU) Squadron, was introduced into service between 1958-61 to conduct photographic reconnaissance. The aircraft was built under licence by Short Brothers, Belfast and in total, 23 standard PR9s were built between 1958 and 1962. The first operational sortie by a PR9 was flown by an aircraft from No 58 Squadron in April 1960. Number 39 Squadron was formed at Hounslow on April 15th 1916, in the midst of public outcry about German Zeppelin raids on London. After little initial success, Lt W Leefe Robinson succeeded in downing an airship during the night of 3 September, and was awarded the VC – the Royal Flying Corp’s first such award. The PR9’s role is conducting photographic reconnaissance Over the last 12 years the aircraft has been active in support of operations all over the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda and the Horn of Africa. Additionally the aircraft has been used in a survey role over Kenya, Zimbabwe, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. The last non-operational flight will take place on 28 July, the date the Squadron is formally disbanded at RAF Marham. The Squadron Standard will be laid up on 30 July in St Clement Danes Church on the
Strand.

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