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Traffic delays as hundreds gather to see RAF Tornado jets' finale flypast over Cosford

Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

The Tornados will also be flying over RAF Shawbury, Stafford and the National Memorial Arboretum.

RAF Tornadoes

Hundreds of people gathered in Shropshire and Staffordshire to see RAF Tornado jets as they mark their retirement from service with a three-day series of “finale flypasts”.

Aircraft are set to fly across the country today, tomorrow and Thursday with planned routes posted online by their home base, RAF Marham in Norfolk.

As part of today's route, the jets flew over the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire before heading to Stafford.

Traffic queuing to reach RAF Cosford

They then flew down to RAF Cosford before heading west to RAF Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, and on to RAF Valley in Anglesey.

Motorists were met with heavy traffic when trying to get to Cosford, with queues on surrounding roads and cars backed up from the museum all the way to the M54.

The RAF Museum in Cosford tweeted at just after noon today to say its car park was full.

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People travelling on public transport should be able to access the site on foot.

The Tornados were due to appear at Cosford between 1.15pm and 1.30pm, and ultimately arrived at about 1.26pm.

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Station Commander Group Captain Ian “Cab” Townsend wrote on Twitter that the flypasts, with up to three jets, would be a “superb celebration of Tornado and those who have supported her across the country”.

He earlier said routes were chosen to commemorate places that have contributed to Tornado over the years.

There will also be a nine-ship formation flight from RAF Marham on February 28, he said.

RAF Tornado
RAF Tornado jets will leave service by the end of March 2019 (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Tornado, in service since 1979 and first used in combat during the first Gulf War, will leave service before the end of March.

Eight Tornadoes, which were stationed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and used in the fight against Islamic State, returned home to RAF Marham earlier this month.

The role of the Tornadoes will be taken over by Typhoons, with new weapons systems.

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