Final over and out at historic base
By Lisa CleverdonOVER and out was announced for the final time at an air base when veteran air traffic controller Ron Pearson made the last transmission from an old control tower.
By Lisa Cleverdon
OVER and out was announced for the final time at an air base when veteran air traffic controller Ron Pearson made the last transmission from an old control tower.
The broadcast was made yesterday afternoon to a pilot in a Lancaster bomber as it flew above the heads of spectators at RAF Mildenhall.
Mr Pearson, 75, was invited to make the final transmission to mark the end of the tower, which will be demolished on July 19 to make way for a new traffic control tower complex.
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At the end of the broadcast, Mr Pearson said: "This is RAF Mildenhall tower signing out after 70 years of service. We salute the men and women who have served our nations for the cause of freedom. RAF Mildenhall tower building 662 is over and out."
The former traffic controller, from Haverhill, spent a year at RAF Mildenhall just after the Second World War.
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"I feel vastly honoured to be invited here back to Mildenhall for the broadcast. My thoughts are with all those people who have done the job I did and who are still doing it," he added.
"Being able to make the final transmission is just out of this world and it is really lovely to come back to Mildenhall after all this time."
The Lancaster bomber, a Spitfire and a Hurricane circled the airfield to mark the final transmission and flew past the control tower before making their way to France.
Councillors, former servicemen and their families watched the historic planes from the ground, before being joined by Mr Pearson as he made his way from the old tower for the final time.
Colonel Richard Devereaux, commander of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing, said: "The new tower is loaded with cutting-edge technology, including six touch-screen consoles that give fingertip access to 24 different radios.
"This is a drastic contrast to the old facility, of which we are very fond of, bud now sadly we must say farewell.
"Today is about concentrating on saying goodbye to the old tower and remembering all the great achievements of the era in which it served.
"We are witnessing the final episode in the history of the old control tower at Mildenhall. Let's attempt to capture its memories and transfer its spirit to the new building."
The air base will be holding its annual D-Day commemorative reunion next weekend for former RAF personnel.