I spent four good years at RAF Binbrook on the Lincolnshire wolds between 1983 and 1987 as an observer before being posted to RAF Kinloss. I knew the Lightning (fig 1) was to be withdrawn from service and the based closed the next year. So whilst on duty at Kinloss I always kept a close eye on the observations from WMO station 388 just to see if the inevitable had happened, and on the 1st of July 1988, almost 30 years ago now, it duly did.
As far I know the last observation at 15 UTC was completed by Haydn Morris with his usual aplomb, complete with a couple of extra 9 groups as you can see (fig 2). I’ve never worked at any station that was so prone to low stratus at 100 feet or less from any direction in just about any airmass, and so it seems to be rather fitting that one okta at 500 feet featured in the last observation!
They have made a good job of tearing up all the runways and knocking down the control tower since I left, in fact you would hardly know that there was once a 7,500 foot runway there at all, but they do seem to have left behind an old Lightning just for old times sake (fig 3), though it would have a job taking off these days if a QRA alert was called.
It’s nice to see the F6 Lightning making a final appearance in a collection of commemorative stamps for the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force (fig 4). That runway that features in the stamp isn’t the ones at RAF Binbrook, the main ones there being 210/030° and not 190°, neither is it the main runway at RAF Wattisham, another Lightning base, so therein lies a bit of a mystery.