RAF Wittering bomb disposal squadron to be disbanded

Bomb disposal squad called to Stokesay Court, Longthorpe EMN-160621-211934009
Bomb disposal squad called to Stokesay Court, Longthorpe EMN-160621-211934009

The bomb disposal squadron based at RAF Wittering is set to be disbanded.

This afternoon a spokesman for the Peterborough base said 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron would be disbanded by April 2020, with bomb disposal services transferred to the British Army.

Group Captain Tony Keeling said: “Everyone at RAF Wittering and across the wider Royal Air Force will be deeply saddened by the disbandment of 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron. For 75 years the Squadron has lived by its motto, to make the harmful harmless, in their operational role and the countless occasions in which they have assisted the civilian authorities to maintain public safety.”

He continued: “5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron has served this country with bravery, honour and distinction and has maintained the best traditions of the Royal Air force throughout its history. We are very grateful to Squadron personnel, past and present, for all that they have given in the past 75 years.”

The base spokesman said there would be no redundancies - either military or civilian as a result of the move, as members of the squadron were armourers or engineers, and they would be able to continue in other roles in the RAF.

It is thought the specialist equipment used by the squadron, which was formed in 1943 to defuse German bombs in the Second World War, will be placed into the equipment pool, with the possibility it will be transferred to the Army.

The spokesman for Wittering said the move would not have any impact on public safety.

The nearest bomb disposal teams will be based at the Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire and at Colchester in Essex.