Residents and councillors gave three cheers for military staff at the former RAF Lyneham base when they said a final goodbye.

Around 2,500 staff made the move from Lyneham to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire last year, making space for a new Defence Technical Training College.

Only a handful of staff stayed at the base to take charge of a final clear-out and, on Monday, they spent their last day there.

Squadron leader Rob Connolley, Master Aircrew Chris Bogg, Flight Sergeant Peter Willbraham and Senior Aircraftman Steve Kingdon, were the final four military members stationed at the base.

They took part in flag lowering ceremony signalling the end of an RAF presence there. The short ceremony was watched by local civilians, including pupils from Lyneham Primary School.

Sqn Ldr Connolley also gave a speech reflecting on changes at the base since the final four Hercules planes left in July 2011.

He said: “Lyneham opened on May 18, 1940, with four officers, one other rank, 15 civilians, nine vehicles and no aircraft, which is quite similar to what we have today – there’s not many left behind.

“The occasion is a thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years and a thank you to all those who have turned up today. A lot of the people who have come today are ex-RAF and it’s a sad time for them as the village’s association with the unit goes.”

Although the flag has been lowered, the unit will still be owned by the RAF until December 31.

After this it will be handed over the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which manages all grounds on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

The new Defence Technical Training College will be fully established by 2020, with 1,950 students and staff there by 2015, rising to 4,300 when training is fully established.

Demolition work at the air base will start this month, beginning with some of the most derelict buildings on the site.

Coun Ron Glover, chairman of Lyneham and Bradenstoke Parish Council, was in the RAF for 30 years and worked at Lyneham for four years as a Corporal at the start of his career.

He said: “The community of Lyneham have come together today to say a fond farewell to our friend and neighbour, the Royal Air Force.

“As neighbours do, they are moving to a new home and we in Lyneham and Bradenstoke will be wondering, just as Brize Norton have done, about the new people moving in.Will they be better or worse than the neighbours before?

“Most probably, as with any neighbour, they will be much the same. The friendships will only develop over time when we feel comfortable in each other’s company.

“For now, Lyneham and Bradenstoke will be vigilant and watch over this empty base until our new neighbours are ready to move in.”