FLYING at Old Sarum can trace its roots back nearly 100 years to 1917 when the fledgling Royal Flying Corps took over Ford Farm and built a runway.

This picture was taken in 1965 and captured Lord Louis Mountbatten just before his retirement as chief of defence staff visiting servicemen at the Joint School of Warfare.

The school was used to train troops for joint warfare — any operation in which sea and/or air forces act in unison with ground soldiers.

It is believed the reason why Old Sarum was chosen for a military runway was its closeness to the School of Artillery at Larkhill which worked closely with the Royal Flying Corps — the forerunner to the RAF.

Flying had already taken place in the Salisbury Plain area and Ford Farm was taken over by the army to base three squadrons.

Old Sarum then became home of the School of Army co-operation before later being renamed as the Joint School of Warfare.

Following the Second World War it played a role in developing helicopters which were of interest to all three services.

In recognition of the role it played during both wars RAF Old Sarum was given freedom of the city of Salisbury on June 27, 1956. It was the first RAF station in the country to be honoured by a city. Despite playing a key training role in both world wars the school was closed in 1971 and Old Sarum ceased to be an RAF airfield eventually being sold in 1979. Lord Mountbatten was a naval officer known for being the last viceroy of British India and first governor general of independent India.

Chief of defence staff was his final role before retiring at 65 and he flew into the school — a branch of the services for which he was principally responsible — by helicopter to say a final goodbye. He stayed for lunch and met many of the officers.

“You are doing a jolly good job,” he told them before taking off again. Lord Mountbatten was uncle to Prince Philip and was killed in 1979 when IRA terrorists blew up his boat off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland.