RAF Marham

Badge for RAF Marham


RAF Marham in Norfolk is home to the frontline squadrons of the RAF’s Tornado Force, ready for operations across the globe. Tornados from RAF Marham have been involved in operations in the Middle East for over 25 years and are currently supporting the fight against Daesh in the skies over Iraq and Syria.

The Station is also home to a range of engineering support functions from maintenance to frontline support. Over 3600 Service Personnel, civil servants and contractors work at RAF Marham.

Extensive infrastructure changes are underway across the base in preparation for the arrival of the F-35 Lightning in 2018. The F-35 Lightning is a 5th Generation, multi-role, stealth fighter.


Portrait of Group Captain Ian Townsend ADC MA RAF

Group Captain Ian Townsend ADC MA RAF

Group Captain Townsend took command of RAF Marham on 1 August 2017 after three years in the Lightning Force HQ filling the roles of Chief of Staff, Deputy Force Commander and Force Commander.

He joined the RAF in 1992 and trained on the Harrier GR7 which he flew until it went out of service in 2010. He switched to flying the Typhoon in 2012 taking command of Number 3 (Fighter) Squadron.

Group Captain Townsend added a further aircraft to his flying log book when he took command of RAF Marham and trained on the Tornado GR4.


RAF Marham, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE33 9NP.

Council: Kings Lynn and West Norfolk

Who's based here

  • 12 Squadron
  • 617 Squadron
  • 2620 Squadron RAuxAF Regiment


  • 1916 - Marham opened as a training establishment and night landing ground.
  • 1937 - RAF Marham re-opened as a heavy bomber unit.
  • 1957 - The Atom Bomb arrived at RAF Marham.
  • 1977 - Her Majesty the Queen became the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Marham. 
  • 1982 - Victor aircraft from RAF Marham took part in the Operation BLACK BUCK.
  • 1990 - Tornado aircraft deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation GRANBY.


RAF Marham was first opened in 1916 to defend Norfolk from raids by the German Zeppelin airships during World War One.

After being mothballed between the wars, Marham re-opened as the RAF began expanding in 1937. By the time war broke out in 1939, it was home to a fleet of Wellington bombers, which flew on some of the first raids of the war.

Twin-engine Mosquitos and Stirling heavy bombers were also based at Marham during the war. Through the 1950s and 1960s, it was home to a succession of flying tanker units, as the RAF pioneered air-to-air refuelling.

During the Falklands conflict, a Vulcan bomber was re-fuelled in-flight on its way to bomb Port Stanley airfield to deny it to the Argentines.

In 1990 the Tornado Squadrons of RAF Marham deployed to the Middle East in what was the start of over 25 years of continuous operations in the region.

In March 2011, Tornado aircraft flew direct from Marham to attack Col Gaddafi's air defences, as the Libyan conflict flared. 

Today the Tornado Squadrons of RAF Marham continue to operate in the skies over Iraq and Syria in the fight against Daesh. 

Connect with RAF Marham

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