RAF LAARBRUCH


RAF Laarbruch crest

At this page about Royal Air Force Station Laarbruch, we take a look a the history of this base. At present date the base is reconstructed in to a civil airfield, Airport Niederrhein. But the ghosts of the past aren't completelely gone... Shelters are still there and look if a buccaneer can taxi out any moment....

Laarbruch "Through the years":

1953    Construction begins.
1954 69sqn Nov-Dec

79sqn Nov-Dec

541sqn Nov-Dec

306(RNLAF)sqn Nov

 69sqn - Canberra PR.3 Arrived from Gutersloh during Nov-Dec

 79sqn - Meteor FR.9 Arrived from Gutersloh during Nov-Dec

 541sqn - Meteor PR.10 Arrived from Gutersloh during Nov-Dec

 306(RNLAF)sqn - F-84E

1955 69sqn

79sqn Untill Nov

541sqn Untill Nov

31sqn arrived March-Aug

214sqn arr. March-Aug

306(RNLAF)sqn

 69sqn - Canberra PR.3

 79sqn - Meteor FR.9  Moved to RAF Wunstorf in November

 541sqn - Meteor PR.10 Moved to RAF Wunstorf in November

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 Arrived

 214sqn - ??? Arrived but was renumbered to 80sqn in August - Canberra PR.7

 306sqn - F-84E / RT-33 / T-6 Harvard

1956 31sqn

69sqn

80sqn

306(RNLAF)sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 69sqn - Canberra PR.3

 80sqn - Canberra PR.7

 306sqn - F-84E / RT-33  conversion from F-84E to RF-84F in April.

1957 31sqn

69sqn

80sqn Untill Juli

68sqn arr Juli

306sqn Untill Dec.

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 69sqn - Canberra PR.3

 80sqn - Canberra PR.7 Moved to RAF Bruggen in Juli

 68sqn - Meteor NF.11

 306sqn - RF-84F / RT-33 moved to Deelen(NL) in December.

1958 31sqn

69sqn Untill April

68sqn

16sqn Arr March

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 69sqn - Moved to RAF Luqa (Malta)

 68sqn - Meteor NF.11

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8

1959 31sqn

5sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 5sqn - Meteor NF.11  (68sqn was renumbered to 5sqn)

 16sqn - Canbera B(I).8

1960 31sqn

5sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 5sqn - Javelin FAW.5 (The Meteors where replaced by Javelin's in Januar)

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8

1961 31sqn

5sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 5sqn - Javelin FAW.5

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8

1962 31sqn

5sqn Untill December

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 5sqn - Javelin FAW.5 moved to Geilenkirchen in December

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8

1963 31sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8

1964 31sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1965 31sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1966 31sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1967 31sqn

16sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4 

1968 31sqn

16sqn

3sqn Arrived

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4 

 3sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1969 31sqn

16sqn

3sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4 

 3sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1970 31sqn

16sqn

3sqn

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4 

 3sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4

1971 31sqn Untill march

16sqn

3sqn untill december

15sqn arrived in Jan

2sqn arrived in May

 31sqn - Canberra PR.7 / T.4 Moved to Bruggen in March.

 16sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4 

 3sqn - Canberra B(I)8 / T.4  3sqn was disbanded in december.

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2

1972 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Canberra B(I).8  conversion to Buccaneer oktober - januar'73

1973 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1974 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1975 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1976 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Phantom FGR.2  started conversion to Jaguar GR.1A

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1977 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1978 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1979 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1980 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1981 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1982 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 5sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1983 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 15sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B   conversion to Tornado GR.1 in sept.

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B / Hunter T.7B

1984 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn arrived in Jun

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Buccaneer S.2B conversion to Tornado GR1 in March.

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1985 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1986 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1987 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1988 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Jaguar GR.1A/T.2 conversion to Tornado GR.1A end '88.

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1989 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Tornado GR.1A

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1990 2sqn

15sqn

16sqn

20sqn

 2sqn - Tornado GR.1A

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1991 2sqn Until 3 Dec.

15sqn Until 18 Dec.

16sqn Until 11 Sept.

20sqn

 2sqn - Tornado GR.1A

 15sqn - Tornado GR.1

 16sqn - Tornado GR.1

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

1992 20sqn Until May

3sqn Arrived in Nov.

4sqn Arrived in Nov.

18sqn Arrived in Dec.

 20sqn - Tornado GR.1

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.1 / Puma HC.1

1993 3sqn

4sqn

18sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.1 / Puma HC.1

1994 3sqn

4sqn

18sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.1 / Puma HC.1

1995 3sqn

4sqn

18sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.2 / Puma HC.1 / Gazelle HT.3

1996 3sqn

4sqn

18sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.2 / Puma HC.1 / Gazelle HT.3

1996 3sqn

4sqn

18sqn untill june

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 18sqn - Chinook HC.2 / Puma HC.1 / Gazelle HT.3 moved to RAF Odiham.

1997 3sqn

4sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

1998 3sqn

4sqn

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10

1999 3sqn Untill spring '99

4sqn Untill April '99

 3sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10 Base closed in November.

 4sqn - Harrier GR.7 / T.10 Base closed in November.

2000    Closed.
2001    Closed.
2002    Closed.
2003    Closed till 1 May.

Royal Air Force Laarbruch was constructed in 1953 and openened in oktober 1954, and was one of the RAF's largest air bases.  Primary task of RAF Laarbruch was a reconaissance airfield. Therefore 3squadrons arrived from RAF Gutersloh:

1954
79sqn with Meteor FR.9's for tactical low-level reconaissance.
541sqn wth Meteor PR.10's.
69sqn with Canberra PR.3 for tactical strategical reconaissance.

This Meteor crashed in my hometown on 14april1955 after a fuelleak. Both pilots survived the crash and nobody on the ground was injured.
This Meteor crashed in Horst, The Netherlands on 14april1955.


On 9 november 1954 a Netherlands Air Force squadron (306sqn) was also based at RAF Laarbruch, flying the F-84E Thunderjet. Next to the Thunderjets the squadron received 2 RT-33A's for training purposes. And a third RT-33A on 13july1957. The 306sqn turned in it's F-84E's in April1956 and the RF-84F Thunderflash was based at RAF Laarbruch. Also some Harvard aircraft where used by the dutch squadron while based at RAF Laarbruch.

During the period of march-august 1955 3 more Canberra squadrons arrived at RAF Laarbruch.
31sqn Canberra
80sqn Canberra
241sqn No Aircraft.
By the time 241sqn received aircraft it was renumberd to 80sqn.

With the arrival of the Canberra's it was far too busy at RAF Laarbruch so the Meteors of 79 and 541sqn where transferred to RAF Wunstorf in november 1955.
 

1957
After 2 years, in juli 1957, 80sqn was transferred to RAF Bruggen, and in april 1958 69sqn was transferred to RAF Luqa/Malta. The dutch 306sqn wich was still here, left RAF Laarbruch in december 1957. 31sqn was the only recon-unit left at RAF Laarbruch and stayed here until 1971!
With the withdrawal of the canberra's of 80sqn, the airfield was assigned to a new task of Air Defense with the arrival of no 68sqn's Meteor NF.11's from RAF Koln-Wahn in juli 1957. In january 1959 no 68sqn was renumbered to no 5sqn.

1958
March 1958 saw the arrival of 16sqn with it's Canberra B(I)8's.

1960
In 1960 5sqn turned in it's Meteors and received the far more modern Javelin FAW.5

Javelin FAW.5 of no 5sqn
Javelin FAW.5 XA658 in a tipical RAF Laarbruch environment


In december 1962 no 5sqn moved to RAF Geilenkirchen.

In januari 1968 3sqn arrived with Canberra B(I)8's.

3sqn Canberra 
3sqn Canberra  (foto's copyrighted by; www.bywat.co.uk)

 

This Canberra period lasted until 1972.

In 1971 3sqn was disbanded and RAF Laarbruch saw the arrival of 15sqn with Buccaneer S.2B.

XVsqn Buccaneer Buccaneer XVsqn
Buccaneers from XVsqn


In 1972 16sqn started with the conversion from Canberra to Buccaneer.

16sqn Buccaneer
16sqn Buccaneer S.2B taxiing at a (dutch?) airfield.


Both Buccaneer squadron also flew with modified Hunter T.7's. (Hunter T.7B's with cockpit layout from Buccaneers.)

After 17 years of Canberra activities at RAF Laarbruch (31sqn 1954-1971) the Canberra's of 31sqn where replaced by the Phantom FGR.2's of no 2sqn from RAF Bruggen.

2sqn Phantom
2sqn Phantom FGR.2


During a brief period in 1976 the Jaguar GR.1 was introduced to replace the Phantom.

Jaguar GR.1A


In September 1983 15sqn turned in it Buccaneers an received the Tornado GR.1
No 16sqn followed in March 1984.

In june 1984 20sqn was disbanded at RAF Bruggen and came to RAF Laarbruch receiving Tornado GR.1's.

The last Jaguar from no 2sqn departed on 27januari1989 leaving RAF laarbruch with four Tornado squadrons.

During the Gulf War in 1991 Laarbruch's tornado's squadron where deployed to Saudi Arabia, where the flew very dangerous missions over Iraq.

In this period in was very quiet at RAF Laarbruch until november 1992. At this date the Harriers of no 3 and 4sqn arrived from RAF Gutersloh that was being closed.

On 9 december 1992 the Puma HC.1's and Chinooks HC.1's from 18sqn flew in to RAF Laarbruch.

This lasted until june 1997 when the helicopters of 18sqn moved to RAF Odiham (UK).

Finally in 1999 the last Harrier left RAF Laarbruch and the base was closed.

Nowadays the airfield is scheduled to turn into a civil airfield. More information can be found at: This Page.

 

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