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RAF's only bomb disposal squadron to be disbanded

File photo dated 27/08/11 of Red Arrows planes after landing at RAF Scampton, as the base in Lincolnshire is to be sold by the MoD in a bid to save millions in running costs, according to media reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 24, 2018. Opened in 1916, the base is famous for being the headquarters of 617 Squadron as they prepared for the Dambusters mission and is now home to the Red Arrows. See PA story DEFENCE Spending. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

By Sam Russell, Press Association

The RAF's only bomb disposal squadron, formed 75 years ago to deal with unexploded German bombs, is to be disbanded, with the Army taking over its duties.

A spokesman for RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, where 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron is based, said there will be "no change to public safety" and no redundancies as a result of the change.

The squadron will be phased out by April 2020.

All members of the squadron had first trained as weapons technicians and will be redeployed across the RAF, the spokesman said.

The squadron was formed in 1943 and by 1945 it had made safe 176,000 weapons.

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 said the squadron had served the country with "bravery, honour and distinction" and he was "grateful to squadron personnel, past and present, for all that they have given in the past 75 years".