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.

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

In december 1962 no 5sqn moved to RAF Geilenkirchen.

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

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

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

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.

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

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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