‘Phantom Phinale’ went the oft-used description in 1992, as the RAF prepared to retire its Phantom FGR2 fleet. But, behind the scenes, there was a plan to retain this great fighter’s capabilities
It may now be nearly three decades since the former RAF Wattisham was handed over to the Army Air Corps, but in the foyer of the officers’ mess, one framed print still takes pride of place above all others. Covered in signatures, it provides a lasting record of those who were there on 3 October 1992 to celebrate an era ending. Just two days earlier, No 74 Squadron had stood down as the RAF’s last Phantom operator. Now the Suffolk station staged a ‘Phinal Phantom Phling’, setting the seal on its commitment to the UK’s air defences. The party was well-deserved.