The RAF’s “Dambuster” squadron, based at Lossiemouth in Moray, has been disbanded as its Tornado aircraft are withdrawn from service.
The famous 617 Squadron will be reformed in 2016, at its new location, RAF Marham in Norfolk, where it will become the first RAF squadron to fly a new stealth fighter, known as the Lightning II.
The Dambusters raid during World War Two was carried out by 133 airmen, flying 19 Lancaster bombers armed with the “bouncing bombs” designed by Sir Barnes Wallis, who was born in Ripley.
The aircraft will be operated jointly by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilots.
The squadron completed its final operational tour with Tornado aircraft in Afghanistan during February.
Barnes Wallis was born at Cromer House in Butterley Hill, Ripley on 26 September 1887 the second son of Charles Wallis and Edith Ashby. His father was the local doctor. The family moved from Ripley to London when he was three years old.
He was a prolific inventor and engineer working on the R100 airship, inventing the ‘bouncing bombs used during the Second World War against the Ruhr Dams, the geodesic frame of the Wellington Bomber, the design for the swing wing aircraft, Barnes also invented the non-misting, glassless mirror which is made out of unbreakable and non-flammable polyester. He was awarded a knighthood in 1968.
The 125th anniversary of his birth was marked with an exhibition, lecture and tree planting ceremony in Ripley in 2012, when his daughter Mary Stopes-Rowe joined members of the Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust to talk about his life
Speaking in September 2012 she said: “The family moved away from Ripley when he was just over three but I think Ripley was very important and relevant in his later development.”
“I like to think his legacy is one of uplifting the position of engineering, which has always been looked down on in some ways.”
As well as designing the bouncing bomb, Mr Wallis pioneered airship, bomber aircraft and other bomb designs.
The anniversary of the raid was marked in 2013.