The chronicle of important dates at RAF Lyneham (Gazette July 10) omitted the most prestigious period during the base's long and distinguished career.

In 1956 the runway was extended to be able to handle the long-range Comet T and C2 of No. 216 Squadron comprising 12 aircraft.

Numbers 5 and 511 air Squadrons Bristol Britannia shared 20 aircraft. These aircraft covered the RAF's long range trooping and strategic needs worldwide.

In 1957 Comets, much coveted as royal and VIP aircraft, carried the Queen on tours to Australia and South America and were the only "other" countries aircraft to carry an American President.

In 1967 the Ike Eisenhower Comet IVC was in service until 1976. Britannia and Comet aircraft kept the country supplied during the Rhodesia/Zambia oil crisis

All three Lyneham squadrons helped evacuate the British base of Aden. The Base also became tactical as the command was re-designated air support command from Air Transport.

In 1974 Comets and Britannias were involved with the Hercules in the mass evacuation of many civilians as well as service personnel and dependents from Cyprus during the Turkish invasion. More than 2,000 people were flown out of RAF Akrotiri.

Do not think the Hercules was the only major contributor to RAF Lyneham's proud history over nearly 100 years.

Many aircraft from Tiger moths, held together with wire and cloth, to the very sophisticated jet aircraft and the mighty Hercules have all helped keep this base in the headlines as it is is today.


Ex 216 Squadron

1957 1974