Oxford

RAF 33 Squadron marks 100 years with Benson base

Royal Air Force Puma helicopter in 2004 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption No 33 Squadron personnel were among those who took part in RAF operations in Iraq

The centenary of one of the earliest military flying units has been marked at a parade in Oxfordshire.

No 33 Squadron was formed in 1916 to defend towns and cities against German airship raids.

The current RAF squadron operates Puma HC2 helicopters, most recently deployed in Afghanistan.

Seven former RAF squadron leaders and the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire were due to attend a parade and memorial service at RAF Benson.

Image caption The parade and memorial service took place at RAF Benson
Image caption There are about 150 military personnel in the squadron, which operates the Puma helicopter

Over its 100-year history, it has also seen action in North Africa, France and Germany during World War Two, as well as the two Gulf Wars and peacekeeping missions in Kosovo.

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