RAF Laarbruch Station Crest


The history of RAF Laarbruch from 1945 - 1999

LAARBRUCH was the last station in Royal Air Force Germany to be built using war-time reparation funds. Opened in 1954, the Station operated Meteors, Canberras and Javelins before its long association with the Buccaneer which began in 1971.
In 1984, re-equipment with Tornado saw the Laarbruch wing comprise three strike/attack Tornado GR1 squadrons; Nos XV, 16, 20, and ll(AC) Squadron operating the Jaguar in the reconnaissance and attack roles. II(AC) Squadron re-equipped with Tornado GRIA in the late 1980s.

By late 1992, the Force reductions in Germany saw the disbandment of all the Tornado squadrons at Laarbruch and the relocation to Laarbruch of Nos 3(F) and IV(AC) Squadrons operating the Harrier GR7, and No 18(B) Squadron operating the Puma and Chinook.

The Station crest indicates our location between the Maas and Rhine rivers in the Niederrhein region. The surrounding area is predominantly farmland and forest, and the nearest town, Weeze, is located three kilometres to the north of the Station, approximately half-way between the larger towns of Goch and Kevelaer.

Laarbruch enjoyed exceedingly good relations with the neighbouring communities.

In 1945 the hope for a permanent peace was shared by all nations who enshrined their hopes in the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation. Events in Europe immediately after the Second World War, culminating in the creation of the "Iron Curtain', led the free nations of the west to look for alternative ways of guaranteeing world peace. The result was the formation of regional alliances, one of which was called the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This Treaty was signed in 1949 by like-minded nations of Western Europe who wished to preserve freedom and 'the rule of law' against the possibility of further aggression from the east.

Since the signing of the treaty. RAF Laarbruch with its operational squadrons has been part of the United Kingdom's contribution to this important defensive alliance. Its tasks are to contribute to the NATO deterrent forces and also to undertake whatever operational task National Policy shall, from time to time, demand. Despite the changes caused by the collapse of communism, the Station, together with the RAF Units at Brüggen, Gatow and Wegberg, continues to fulfil this vitally important task, and now forms part of No 2 Group Strike Command, with headquarters at Rheindahlen, about forty miles to the south.

RAF Laarbruch history - taken from "The Buccaneer Aviation Group." (click/tap button above)

The Complete Laarbruch History Articles and Links



Laarbruch Squadrons

541 Squadron Crest


28.10.1954 - 07.11.1955 Gloster Meteor PR10
306 NL Squadron Crest

306 NL

08.11.1954 - 15.01.1958 Republic F 84E (1954-1956) / RT 33 / T6
(1955) - RF 84F (ab 1956)
79 Squadron Crest


08.11.1954 - 14.11.1958 Gloster Meteor FR9
69 Squadron Crest


13.12.1954 - 01.04.1958 English Electric Canberra PR3
31 Squadron Crest


01.03.1955 - 31.03.1971 English Electric Canberra PR7 / T4
80 Squadron Crest


01.08.1955 - 11.06.1957 English Electric Canberra PR7
68 Squadron Crest


22.07.1957 - 21.01.1959 Gloster Meteor NF11 / T7
16 Squadron Crest


Work in Progress
New Page
(google link)

01.03.1958 - 11.09.1991 English Electric Canberra B(i)8 / T4 (1958 – 1972)
Blackburn Buccaneer S2B /
Hawker Hunter T7 (1972 – 1984)
Panavia Tornado GR1 (1984 – 1991)
5 Squadron Crest


Work in Progress
New Page
(google link)

21.01.1959 - 11.12.1962 Gloster Meteor NF11 / T7(1959)
Gloster Javelin FAW5 / T3(1960 – 1962)
3 Squadron Crest

3 (F)

Work in Progress
New Page
(google link)

15.01.1968 - 31.12.1971 English Electric Canberra B(i)8 / T4
25 sqn crest


07.05.1970 - 01.03.1983 Bristol Bloodhound
XV Squadron Crest


Work in Progress
New Page
(google link)

11.01.1971 - 10.12.1971 Blackburn Buccaneer S2B (1971 - 1983)/
Hawker Hunter T7A (1971 – 1973
Panavia Tornado GR1 (1983 – 1991)
2 (AC) Squadron Crest

2 (AC)

Work in Progress
New Page
(google link)

31.05.1971 - 03.12.1991 McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 (1971 – 1976
Sepecat Jaguar GR1A / T2 (1976 – 1988)
Panavia Tornado GR1A (1988 – 1991)
20 Squadron Crest


01.04.1984 - 01.09.1992 Panavia Tornado GR1
4 (AC) Squadron Crest

4 (AC)

27.11.1992 - 13.04.1999 BAE Harrier GR7 / T10
18 Squadron Crest


09.12.1992 - 01.08.1997 Boeing Chinook HC2 /
Westland Puma HC1
Gazelle HT3
Regiment Squadron Crest

RAF Regiment

08.1970 - 1998 Light Armoured CVY(T)
Rapier System
RAF Laarbruch Station Crest

Station Flight

Laarbruch Squadrons

10.1954 - 1999 See page
RAF Germany Crest

Further Units

01.10.1954 - onwards miscellaneous



Crashes/fatal crashes 1954 - 1999


Aircraft Incident
Canberra T4

26.02.1955: Pilot Flt Lt Dalziel, flying a Canberra T4 - WJ858 - on a familiarisation exercise, was forced to make a wheels up landing when his aircraft developed undercarriage trouble. The landing which was made on the snow covered grass area of the airfield was achieved with a minimum of damage.

Meteor No. 79 Squadron

14.04.1955: This Meteor T7 belly-landed near Horst (NL) during a sortie from Laarbruch. Both engines failed due to fuel mismanagement

50 year timeline

79 Squadron Meteor

24.06.1955: During a tactical reconnaissance exercise (Carte Blanche), the pilot hit obstruction. The plane caught fire and he abandoned it 2 miles SSE of Limburg. He ejected through the canopy at 200ft but seperated from his parachute and was killed. Pilot’s name: Fg. Off. A.W. Wicking.

79 Squadron Meteor

05.09.1955: The Meteor FR9 lost power and crashed in wood on approach to Eindhoven at 11:44hrs (Z). The pilot Flg Off J.P. Shreeve was killed.

79 Squadron Meteor

23.09.1955: After an engine fire the pilot belly-landed his Meteor FR9 - WL262 - at RAF Laarbruch. The pilot remained uninjured. The plane was substantially damaged.

Harvard Trainer - 306 Squadron

02.12.1955: Nothing happened to the Dutch pilot S.M. Oord during this belly landing on RAF Laarbruch's runway. The aircraft was repaired.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra T4

10.08.1956: The Canberra T4 (WT484) had almost recovered from a steep high speed dive when the starboard wing dropped and it dived into the ground at Empel, West Germany. It exploded on impact killing the three crew. Sqn Ldr R.W. Bradley Q.F.I., Pilot Flg Off C.J. Miller, Navigator Flg Off S.C. Handley


Aircraft Incident
Thunderflash 306 Squadron KLU (RNLAF)

13.08.1957: The Republic Thunderflash RF 84F (Reg. TP-14), taken over by the squadron 4. Jan. 1957, crashed near Nieuw-Bergen, NL. Royal Netherlands Air Force Pilot Lieutenant Löbker was killed.

Thunderflash 306 Squadron KLU (RNLAF)

03.10.1957: Because of problems with the hydraulic-systems, Sgt Evers received the order to leave the aircraft over an uninhabited area. After the pilot had left the machine, it continued to fly without a pilot for 45 minutes. Fighters failed to shoot down the pilotless plane. Finally it landed near Venray/NL with relatively little damage. However, as the aircraft was lifted on recovery, it slipped from the lifting crane - and then had to be scrapped.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 16 Squadron

16.02.1960: Canberra B(i)8 - WT334 - spiralled into the ground out of cloud while recovering from a bombing run on the Nordhorn Range, West Germany. Both crew, Fg Off Michael Watts and Flt Lt Graham Byford, were killed.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 31 Squadron

08.11.1961: Canberra PR7 - WT511 - hit trees five miles NW of Munster, West Germany after both engines cut while at low level due to possible fuel starvation (cause unknown). Both crew, Fg Off David Richards and M Nav Peter Sanders, were killed. (M Nav = Master Navigator)


Aircraft Incident
Javelin 5 Squadron

07.06.1962: Both crew of Javelin FAW5 - XA645 - ejected after the port engine caught fire which spread to the whole of the rear of the aircraft. It crashed 4m north-west Wesel, West Germany. Name of the crew: Flt Lt J H Adam and Flt Lt C M H Pinker DFC. They were on a Battle Flight scramble.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 31 Squadron

17.01.1964: On the night of 16th Canberra WT510 flown by Fg Off Turner crashed on landiing at base after engine trouble during the flight. No injuries were sustained, though the aircraft is considered to be Category 4.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 31 Squadron

02.05.1966: While being marshalled at Ingolstadt, West Germany, on 2/5/1966, the port wing hit a refuelling vehicle. Airframe WT515 deemed to have been damaged beyond economic repair, and struck off charge as at.5(c) on 9/5/1966. Wreckage to Laarbruch for fire practice/crash rescue training.

Canberra 16 Squadron

06.06.1966: XM270 spun into the ground during a single-engined GCA at Gutersloh, West Germany. The pilot Fg Off T D Taylor ejected but couldn’t remember the accident. The navigator Fg Off James Victor Lanfranchi was killed in the wreck. It was the first fatal accident for 16 Squadron after several years.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 3 Squadron

15.12.1970: The second of two Canberras B(i)8 - XM 267 - was caught in the slipstream of the first Canberra while landing at RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus). It crashed into the runway. 2 crew (Fg Off Roger Graham Ellis and Fg Off Roderick Colin Murray MacMillan) and a passenger (SAC Kim Colin Petty-Fitzmaurice on a "joy-ride") were killed.


Aircraft Incident
Canberra 31 Squadron

25.02.1971: Declared a write off on 25/02/1971 after landing at Laarbruch following a bird strike to the canopy and nose over West Germany. Not repaired, struck off charge as Cat.5(G/I) on 11/03/1971: to ground instructional use as 8135M at Laarbruch. Scrapped 1976 after use for fire fighting/crash rescue training.

Buccaneer XV Squadron

25.03.1971: Buccaneer S2B - XW532 - crashed near Wanssum, NL, after the pilot became disorientated when the aircraft entered cloud immediately after take off from Laarbruch, West Germany. Both crew were killed.

Operator: RAF - Registration: XW532 - Fatalities: 2 - Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair). Location: nr Wanssum, Limburg - Netherlands - Departure airport: RAF Laarbruch - Destination airport: Gilze Rijen AB
Crew were Wg Cdr David J. H. Collins (OC XV Squadron) and his navigator, Flt Lt Paul Anthony Kelly.


28.05.1971: While practising for a low level display for the rally, the Dornier crashed in the middle of the airfield, killing Flt Lt Graham R. Chilvers and his passenger Fg Off Gerry Kingwell, a fellow pilot on No 16 Squadron. Graham, a popular and highly effective CFI (Certified Flying Instructor), left a wife and two very young children.

Canberra 16 Squadron

05.10.1971: Shortly before 11am Canberra B(i)8 fighter-bomber of No 16 RAF Squadron flew from Xanten to the Rhine river. The pilot lost control of "WT366" and tried to avoid a crash in the middle of the village. He was then unable to eject. The aircraft crashed 150 meters behind the last houses.
Name of the crew: Pilot Fg Off Keith (Sonny) Holmes and Navigator Flt Lt Christopher W. King.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer 16 Squadron

24.01.1973: Control was lost after the pilot of XW535 took evasive action to avoid a collision during a low-level NAVEX. The crew ejected and it crashed at Minden, West Germany.
Type: Blackburn Buccaneer S2B - Operator: Royal Air Force (RAF), 16 Squadron - Registration: XW535
Fatalities: 0 - Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Minden, 11 miles E of Gütersloh (NRW) - Germany - Departure airport: RAF Laarbruch
Crew named as Flt. Lt. J. A. N. McEvoy (pilot) and Fg. Off. Mike Wood (navigator): both crew were from 16 Squadron.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer 16 Squadron

16.06.1975: XW536 (Flt Lts Shaw und Haynes) crashed into the North Sea after colliding with XW528 (which landed safely - Sqn Ldr Pearce / Fg Off Pringle) during a sortie from Karup, Denmark. The crew ejected safely.
Registration: XW536 - Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: in sea off Jutland coast, Denmark - Departure airport: Karup, DK (Homebase RAF Laarbruch)


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer XV Squadron

03.03.1976: Buccaneer S2B stalled and crashed while on approach to Honington, Suffolk. Both crew ejected safely.
Registration: XV166 - Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Honington, Suffolk - United Kingdom (Homebase RAF Laarbruch)
Crew later named as Fg Off G. Bowerman (pilot) and Flt LT C. Davies (navigator).

Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

14.12.1976: The Jaguar GR1A - XZ102 - lost No.2 engine and began rolling and yawing uncontrollably - Flt Lt Langworthy timed his low level ejection to ensure correct orientation of aircraft. It was Langworthy's 2nd ejection. Nearly one year later he survived a third ejection.
The plane crashed ten miles NE of the base next to a hospital. The tailplane powered control units had not been reconnected following the refitting of No. 2 engine.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer XV Squadron

17.01.1977: Navigator Sqn Ldr R L Hollett ejected from the back seat of a Buccaneer – XW537 at low level, into the Ijsselmeer south of Vliehors Range. The aircraft was subsequently recovered to RNLAF Leeuwarden by the pilot, Flt Lt A J Carolan.

Buccaneer 16 Squadron

03.02.1977: XW548 crashed during a low-level NAVEX near Volkel, Netherlands following in-flight fire. Both crew - Flt Lt M. W. Brown (pilot) and Flt Lt R. P. Kemp (navigator) - ejected safely.

Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

25.02.1977: Jaguar GR1 - XZ120 – was No 2 in a four aircraft formation on a bombing sortie to the Nordhorn Ranges. After the attack No 2 was flying on the wing of No 4 when they flew through a patch of cloud and lost contact with each other. XZ120 crashed 2 miles south of Nordhorn Range. The pilot, Flt Lt Douglas Graham Stein, was killed. This was the first fatal accident with a II Squadron Jaguar.

Buccaneer XV Squadron

18.08.1977: Buccaneer S2B - XX890 - crashed while in the circuit at Laarbruch, West Germany after the crew ejected following loss of control due to an engine fire caused by turbine failure.
Crew later named as Flt Lt K.I. Mackenzie (pilot) and Flt Lt R.A. Pittaway (navigator).

Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

15.11.1977: Very low level ejection, belly landing, on the runway at RAF Laarbruch, Germany. Jaguar T2 - XX845 - Crew: Bill Langworthy and Co Pilot Flt Lt Knight

(Additional information: Sqn Ldr Bill Langworthy died on 1st January 2006 aged 70.)


Aircraft Incident
Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

31.08.1978: On an "Ample Gain" sortie Flt Lt Des Sheen (former Red Arrows pilot) landed "wheels up" on 31 August at RNAF De Peel. The Jaguar - XZ108 - and its reconnaissance pod were extensively damaged, but Flt Lt Sheen was uninjured. A Board of Inquiry was convened.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer XV Squadron

12.07.1979: XW 526 - XV Squadron suffered structural failure of a wing and crashed near Osnabruck, West Germany, killing both crew.
The plane was flown by a No 16 Squadron crew: Flt Lt Alan Colvin and Sqn Ldr David R. Coupland.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer XV Squadron

07.02.1980: The aircraft crashed on the Nellis Ranges, about 20 miles north of Beatty, Nevada, during a Red Flag exercise. After a violent manoeuver the starboard outer wing separated from the airframe. Because of this accident all Buccaneers were grounded and couldn't return to Laarbruch for some months.
Sqn Ldr Kenneth J. Tait (pilot) ejected but did not survive. Flt Lt Charles Robert "Rusty" Ruston (WSO) did not eject before the aircraft collided with the ground. Both were members of XV Squadron, based at RAF Laarbruch, in Germany.


Aircraft Incident
Buccaneer XV Squadron

18.03.1982: Buccaneer S2B - XN 977 -suffered an engine explosion while using the Nordhorn Range, West Germany. The pilot managed to to land the aircraft at GAF Hopsten but the aircraft was found to be damaged beyond repair. Flt Lts G.N. Flack and G.K. Pipe were formally handed their "Green Endorsements" in June.

Buccaneer 16 Squadron

20.09.1982: Buccaneer S2B - XV 160 - stalled after pulling up sharply and crashed into cliffs after carrying out a bombing run on the Capo Frasca Range, Sardinia. Both crew - Pilot Flt Lt Branthwaite and Navigator Flt Lt Major - ejected.

Additional info: XV160 was one of the Buccaneers which took part in the bombing of the 118,000-ton supertanker 'Torrey Canyon' that had run aground on the Seven Stones Reef 28 Mar 1967.


Aircraft Incident
Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

16.06.1983: On 16 June 1983 XZ105 and XZ110 collided at Goose Bay, Canada during a break to land. Both pilots ejected, the aircraft crashing into water surrounding the airfield. Steve Dalton and Brian Robinson were the pilots.

Buccaneer 16 Squadron

11.08.1983: 16 Squadron Buccaneer - XX891 - stalled at 200ft while on approach to Laarbruch, West Germany. Both crew ejected at low altitude but the navigator was killed on impact with the ground. The dead navigator's name: Flt Lt Anthony St. Dakin


Aircraft Incident
Tornado XV Squadron

06.02.1984: The right hand underwing fuel tank of a Tornado GR1 - ZA 451 - was struck by lightning during a night sortie. The pilot was unable to release the tank due to the release switch being set at "safe." Before he could re-select it he saw a yellow glow and it was considered that the aircraft was in immediate danger of exploding and so both crew ejected: Pilot Sqn Ldr Trevors Smith, Nav Flt Lt P. Smith, both with back injuries. The aircraft crashed near Jever, West Germany. Releasing the underwing tank would have saved the aircraft.

27 Squadron Tornado

08.11.1984: A 27 Squadron Tornado – detached to RAF Laarbruch (home base RAF Marham) - crashed near Schweinfurt following a near miss with an A 10 Thunderbolt (USAF). Both crew ejected and survived. Pilot Flt Lt Ed Smith, Navigator Sqn Ldr Garreth Williams.


Aircraft Incident
Jaguar II (AC) Squadron

09.07.1985: Jaguar GR1 - XZ365 - struck trees on the top of a 2,450ft hill (Bastenberg) near Meschede, east of Dortmund, West Germany. The pilot (Fg Off I. J. Baston) maintained control of the aircraft but ejected when a fire started in the cockpit.


Aircraft Incident
Tornado 20 Squadron

17.06.1987: The Tornado - ZA493 – No 1 in a two aircraft formation, was in a left hand turn around Dod Grag in the Borrowdale Valley near Keswick, Cumbria. The starboard wing struck the cockpit area of the Jaguar which was flying in the opposite direction killing the pilot instantly. The second Tornado had to pull up hard to avoid the subsequent fireball. The Tornado crew ejected safely. Pilot: Flt Lt N. J.Campion, Navigator: Flt Lt J. S. Head.

Two Rivers Gliding Club

16.08.1987: Two Rivers Gliding Club Laarbruch - Phoenix Gliding Club Brüggen

A glider that had started from Laarbruch crashed next to Weeze gardener Wienrich on this Sunday around 3 p.m. The experienced female pilot (Sue Cavener, 29, Phoenix GC, RAF Brüggen) was killed in the crash. She was flying in a mini competition from Laarbruch.


Aircraft Incident
XV Squadron Tornado

30.03.1988: The Tornado GR1 - ZA448 - crashed on the Nellis Ranges in the Nevada Desert, USA during a 'Green Flag' exercise. The pilot had lost control after taking avoiding action due to a SAM contact. Both crew ejected safely 100ft above the ground.


Aircraft Incident
Tornado XV Squadron

20.07.1989: After take off from Laarbruch, West Germany for a ferry flight to St. Athan the nose wheel failed to retract. The pilot reduced power so as not to exceed airspeed with the wheel down but inadvertently selected idle. He selected full power and then reheat but the engines failed to respond. The crew ejected at 230 ft and the aircraft crashed near Bergen, Netherlands.


Aircraft Incident
Tornado II (AC) Squadron

09.01.1990: The port wing of the Jaguar struck the tail fin of the Tornado after they approached each other head on at Spadeadam weapons range in Northumberland, both pilots being unaware of each others presence. The Tornado crew (Pilot Ian MacLean, Navigator Neil Johnston) ejected after being unable to control the violently rolling aircraft and it crashed near Hexham. The Jaguar pilot managed to correct his rolling aircraft and made an emergency landing at Leeming.

XV Squadron Tornado

30.04.1990: Whilst flying an Operational Low Flying sortie 60 miles south of Goose Bay, Canada, the aircraft experienced an engine failure which resulted in a right hand engine fire; this engine was subsequently shut down. These problems gave rise to other engine and flight control difficulties. These resulted in the crew losing control of the aircraft during the recovery to Goose Bay. The crew successfully ejected from the aircraft.

Tornado 20 Squadron

14.08.1990: Two Tornado GR1 aircraft collided while low-flying 10 nm north-east of Spurn Head. Although visibility was in excess of 10 km and no cloud below 5000 ft, the weather in the area was hazy. The accident involved one Tornado from RAF Honington and one – ZA464 - of a pair of aircraft from RAF Laarbruch. The crew of the Honington aircraft – ZA545 - (Pilot Major Dennis Wise, USAF and Navigator Flt Lt John "Stan" Bowles – former 16 Squadron member) were killed and, although the Laarbruch crew ejected, only the pilot survived. Navigator Sqn Ldr Gordon Graham was killed.

Tornado 16 Squadron

18.10.1990: The crew of ZA466 were part of a formation which took off for an Operation Granby night training mission from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. The aircraft experienced technical difficulties and had to return to the homebase. The undercarriage of ZA466 caught the barrier when on approach to Tabuk after it had been raised by mistake. The aircraft slammed onto the runway and caught fire. Both crew ejected safely. It was returned to the UK for spares recovery and was later allocated to the BDRF at St. Athan.
(Pilot - Sqn Ldr Ivor Walker - Navigator - Sqn Ldr Bobby Anderson).


Aircraft Incident
XV Squadron Tornado

17.01.1991: The Tornado GR1 - ZD791 - of No 14 Sqn was probably hit by a SAM whilst recovering after an unsuccessful loft attack on the air base there. Crew Flt Lts John Peters and John Nichol were taken prisoner of war.

Tornado XV Squadron

17/18.01.1991: On the following night (17/18 January) a second Muharraq Tornado GR1 - ZA392 - was lost after a four-ship JP233 attack on Shaibah AB. Wg Cdr Nigel Elsdon and his navigator, Flt Lt Max Collier (RAF Marham Crew), were killed.

Tornado 20 Squadron

19.01.1991: Both crew ejected after the Tornado GR.1 - ZA396 - was hit by a SAM while on a low level ground attack mission on Tallil airfield, Iraq. They evaded capture for three days before being taken prisoner. They were released at the end of hostilities.

XV Squadron Tornado

20.01.1991: 9 Squadron Tornado GR 1 - ZD893 - suffered a technical failure on take off from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia for a ground attack mission. 20 Squadron crew Pilot Sqn Ldr Peter Battson and Navigator Wg Cdr Mike Heath ejected successfully . (Clip from 2:30)

16 Squadron Tornado

21/22.01.1991: ZA467 - Tornado GR1 of 16 Squadron flew into the ground during a low level loft attack mission on Ar Rutbah radar site, Iraq. Both crew were killed.
As Sqn Ldrs Gary K.S. Lennox and Kevin P. Weeks failed to check in after the attack, the leader realised that the explosion he had seen after the attack was probably caused by their aircraft crashing.

Tornado XV Squadron

14.02.1991: During the conflict, a 17 Sqn aircraft - ZD717/C - crewed by XV Squadron personnel was shot down on 14 Feb, resulting in the loss of navigator Flt Lt Stephen Hicks and the capture of pilot Flt Lt Rupert Clark.
(Additional info: 2 Feb 1991 saw the first ever Buccaneer/Tornado attack using laser-guided bombs.)

Tornado 20/XV Squadron

19.01.1991: During a bounce manoeuvre with two other Tornados the ZA376 pilot overbanked while in the descent and control was lost. At 200 ft the pilot felt that he was regaining control but the navigator selected command ejection and exited both of them from the aircraft. It crashed near Lubberstedt, Germany.
Aircraft was on loan to 20 Squadron but flown by XV Squadron crew (Sqn Ldr Pablo Mason, Flt Lt Rob Woods).


Aircraft Incident
Harrier 3(F) Squadron

28.06.1993: Fuel from a massive leak on the starboard wing leading edge was ignited by the engine. The leak was probably caused by a bird strike. ZD430 crashed onto farmland seven miles from Sleaford, Lincolnshire after the pilot had ejected at about 3000 feet and 220 knots, following an unsuccessful attempt to make an emergency landing at RAF Coningsby.

Harrier IV (AC) Squadron

23.11.1993: While refuelling from a VC.10 during a patrol over Northern Iraq the engine surged then lost power. Due to a rise in temperature the pilot shut the engine down. He was unable to relight it and ejected. The aircraft crashed at Sirsenk, Northern Iraq. He was rescued by an American helicopter and suffered only minor injuries.


Aircraft Incident
Harrier IV (AC) Squadron

09.01.1997: During take-off the pilot wasn't able to control the Harrier GR7 - ZD377. (jet-flap impingement) The nose pitched down and the aircraft flew into the ground. The pilot (Flt Lt Daniel Stellmacher, nickname "Iceman") ejected at a height of only 50 feet and landed on the airfield suffering only a broken leg. He had to be taken to Marienhospital Kevelaer.

Puma 18 Squadron

15.02.1997: A Puma HC1 helicopter - XW225 - of No 18 Squadron with three crew and 5 passengers crashed near the village Urspring (Schongau - Bavaria). Due to heavy snow fall and the use of night vision goggles the crew lost all visual references. The pilot Flt Lt Christopher Herd (32) was killed when the trees into which his aircraft crashed, fell onto the cockpit. 2 crew and 5 passengers survived the crash.

Harrier 3(F) Squadron

03.06.1997: Harrier GR7 - ZG861 - suffered engine failure due to compressor blade failure. The pilot ejected at 700 ft and the aircraft crashed into woods five miles south east of Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway. It had been on a three aircraft sortie from Honington during Exercise Hill Foil 97/1. The pilot was taken by an 819 NAS Sea King to Newcastle hospital.


Aircraft Incident
Harrier 3(F) Squadron

07.07.1998: Harrier GR7 - ZG533 - crashed while in the circuit at Laarbruch, Germany after the pilot ejected following a bird strike. It ingested a buzzard on final.


Aircraft Incident
Harrier 3(F) Squadron

29.01.1999: Harrier GR7 - ZG856 - struck the ground belly first while under power during a five aircraft formation in a mountain range area on the Nellis Range, Nevada, USA during a Red Flag exercise. The pilot ejected 3-4 seconds before the aircraft impacted the ground and received serious injuries.

Harrier IV (AC) Squadron

04.02.1999: Sqn Ldr Wharmby, the pilot of Harrier GR7 - ZD326 - whilst carrying out a routine air test on the aircraft lost control. With insufficient height to recover, he ejected sustaining minor injuries. The aircraft crashed into open farmland near Hamb, Sonsbeck.



Press releases 2006 - 2018

News and Press Articles

News Articles: Click/press on the on the blue/yellow bars below to open and close.

For archieved press listings, click/press the link below.



News 2015 - current

source article
British FlypastMuseum photo
In the latest issue of the British Flypast (February 2018, but since yesterday in trade) our museum is represented with a four-page article. Rod spared no effort to draw the editor's attention to our museum. Great article, which hopefully will bring us more visitors. Have fun reading.
Link to pdf-document: Article
Forces TVForces.net photo
From India To Germany: RAF Squadron Celebrates 100 Years Of History.
Title link- Forces.Net
A permanent exhibition telling the story of one of the Royal Air Force’s oldest squadrons has opened in Germany, because no suitable home could be found in Britain.
31 Squadron saw action in the Second World War along with more recent conflicts in Iraq.
Enthusiasts now run a museum there dedicated to the memory of RAF Laarbruch, and it is where the 31 Squadron Association has now chosen to showcase its history.
Forces TVForces.net photo
RAF Museum Laarbruch on Forces TV - The Royal Engineers Recreating 1970s Forces Social Life. The Astra Laarbruch used to be a forces cinema, but now it’s being developed as an extension of Laarbruch’s Royal Air Force Museum. Former Royal Engineers of 10 Field Squadron are to do the work. A display reflects the unit’s role at Laarbruch repairing runways and supporting Harrier jump jets.
Volunteers have kept the Laarbruch museum going for ten years and it keeps expanding.
A section devoted to 31 Squadron will open at the end of April.
A Hawker Hunter will soon be on permanent loan from a Berlin air museum and in a few months, 10 Field Squadron hope to open a recreation of the bar that existed there during the 1970s.
Link: Forces TV
UK CC GochCommunity Club Goch
20 members of the UK Community Club in Goch visited the RAF Museum Laarbruch on 17 Dec 16. Cilly and Rod Hawkins had made small refreshments and cake with tea/coffee which was greatly appreciated. The club is the social centre for the service personnel working at the NATO CAOC in Uedem and their families. Grp Capt Howie Edwards presented the museum a large donation and the museum was happy to receive. Thank you.
At the same time a large number of original plans for the Goch camp and houses were handed over for the archives. These will be sorted and viewed later.
Extraordinary MuseumsExtraordinary Museums in the Lower Rhine Area
A new book from Sutton Publishers tells us about interesting and extraordinary museums of our region..
One of these museums is the Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch.
A double page gives interesting and informative details like opening times and web address.
Photos are showing a recent photo of the newly arrived Canberra and the Bloodhound.
The book can be bought from bookshops or Amazon for 14,99 Euro.
We do have some books for sale at the museum. (Special price for members.)
ISBN 978-3-95400-697-7
Forces TVForces TV article
RAF Museum Laarbruch on Forces TV - How An RAF Museum Is Expanding And Conquering
The only Royal Air Force Museum in mainland Europe is about to get a little bigger. Royal Air Force Laarbruch may have closed 17 years ago but the memory lives on.
One of the air base's churches now houses a permament exhibition reflecting four and a half decades of RAF history. It hold a collection that until now has filled two buildings - but is about to expand significantly.
A museum housed in shipping containers has arrived from RAF Marham in Norfolk. it tells the story of 31 Squadron, which spent nearly half its 100-year existence in Germany.
It’s why 31 Squadron Association wanted Laarbruch to be the display’s permanent home.
Link: Forces TV
31 SQN Association31 Squadron Association History
On Monday 30th May, the three containers showing the 100 years of history of 31 Sqn arrived at Royal Air Force Laarbruch Museum.
They had been loaded on lorries at RAF Scampton on Friday. The lorries had used the weekend for the travel across the Channel.
On Monday morning, after the mobile crane had arrived, the unloading was accompanied by thunder and lightning and really heavy rain. The work had to be stopped for about an hour because of the dangerous thunderstorm overhead.
The rest of the day and Tuesday was used by Terence P O'Halloran, charman Bill Farmer and the other members of the association to prepare the containers for the exhibition.
An official opening will follow later this year.
10 Field RE10 Field Regiment
10 ex members of 10 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers visited the RAF Museum last weekend to create an exhibition to show that it wasn't just the RAF that were based at Laarbruch. In a corner of the former station cinema, the ASTRA, they built a "Harrier Hide" showing interesting photos, exhibits and even video footage to explain their trade.
Each and every item they transported from UK to Laarbruch. Thanks a lot.
In the photo: Pete Frost, John Hyndman, Tony Krasij, Petra Zanelli, Rick Axon, Geoff Purvor, Stephen Paddy Feenan, Tony Zanelli Goch und Edward Briggs.
More photos on Flickr
North Weald Flying GroupNorth Weald Flying Group flying Visit
Six aircraft from North Weald Flying Group, plus one aircraft from Biggin Hill, visited the museum on Saturday 14 May 16. After a lunch and fuel stop in France (no lunch available) they arrived at Weeze airport at 1500hrs. A quick refuel for aircraft and body with good handling by the airport they arrived at the museum; all 19 of them. They thought the museum was very interesting and well presented. They overnighted in Weeze with a group evening meal. (photo by Dick Smith)
After breakfast on Sunday they had a guided tour of the airport and the former military facilities before they departed to the UK; via Mitten Zeeland for fuel stop. A full trip report can be seen on their web page (once it is published).
North Weald Flying Group flying Visit
Laarbruch on FacebookRoyal Air Force Museum Laarbruch on Facebook
Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch on Facebook
There are lots of Laarbruch related groups on Facebook. Thanks to these I was able to gather lots of facts, stories and photos.
From today there is a special Facebook site Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch-Weeze e.V. museum set up by me.
Some Facebook groups:
"We love Laarbruch" We love Laarbruch
"Two Rivers Gliding Club" TRGC
"RAF Laarbruch - BFPO 43" BFPO43
Canberra PR7 - WH773Canberra PR7 - WH773
On Friday 26th Feb the wings were loaded on the lorry at Gatwick. To do so they had to be cut. On Monday they arrived at Laarbruch. A huge mobile crane lifted the parts from the lorry. The inner part of the wings with the fuselage were mounted on Monday. The rest of the work will be done till the end of the week.
15th March 2016 - The assembly of the big parts showed good progress. Details will take another few days. The painting of WH773 in ist original 31 Sqn colours will be done in the near future, weather permitting.
More news will follow
Photos here WH773
2016 Calendar2016 Calendar
The 2016 calendar has the motto "Canberras at RAF Laarbruch". It shows many photos of an aircraft that belonged to RAF Laarbruch for many years.
It was in service from 1954 till 1972 and used in different roles as reconnaissance aircraft, bomber and interdictor with various squadrons.
The calendar can be purchsed in the museumsshop for only 5 Euros.
SiedlerbundSiedlerbund (Settlers) donate for Royal Air Force Museum
A few weeks ago the Deutsche Siedlerbund Weeze visited Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch and had a guided tour.
Richard "Dick" Smith, member in both communities, had laid out a nice coffee table outdoors.
Now the chairman of the settlers, Helmut Stehr presented the museum with 100 Euros. As a surprise he even handed over a box of original English scones.
(Photo by Steve)
The Twinning-ClubThe Twinning-Club
Uniform for Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch
The Twinning-Club Weeze - Watton had a lot of visitors on Whitsuntide, and it was a nice event for Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch as well.
Robin Rose, treasurer of the Watton Club, took the opportunity to present the museum with his old RAF uniform. It's the mess dress of a Chief Technician. The rank is shown by three chevrons below a four-bladed propeller, golden in the case of a mess dress.
The uniform will be on exhibition in the museum.
More text and photos Twinning Club
Memorial StoneThe Memorial Stone
Unveiling Dambuster AJ Easy ED 927 memorial stone
Memorial Stone Photos and German text by Dr. Bernd Rüdiger Ahlbrecht lokalkompass


Coiming events in 2019

Date Event
Saturday, 20th April - 14:00 hrs Caravan Club - v. Giesel - 12-15 persons - Mark und Piet
Saturday, 04th May 2019 - 14:00 hrs Reunion Derek Read - 10-14 persons - HW
Thursday, 09th May 2019 - 14:00 hrs Campermobiles - Jakob van der Hoogen - NL - ca 60 persons - Mark / Hal
Friday, 10th May 2019 - 09:30 hrs VHS Kleve - Cees Pot - 25 Personen - coffee - HW / Helmut
Saturday, 11th May 2019 1979 JohannesHS - 20 persons
Monday, 20th May 2019 - 13:00 hrs SPD AG 60+, PvdA ca 35 persons, Bernd
Thursday, 06th June 2019 - ? OAPs Bedburg -Hau - ca 15 persons – Bernd
Thursday, 13th June 2019 - ? Cold War Express - BAOR - ca 30 persons - Rod / Mark
Friday, 14th June 2019 - from 16:00 hrs Sonnenklar TV - group(s) - up to 150
Wednesday, 19th June 2019 - 15:15 hrs Kloster Kamp - 13 persons - HW
Thursday, 20th June 2019 – 9:30 hrs Lauers Coach Tours (Belgien) Okra Hove - +/- 35 persons – Mark und Piet
Friday, 19th July - Sunday 21st July 2019 Badger Group NL (René Westendorp) camping at museum
Thursday, 25th July 2019 – 9:30 hrs Lauers Coach Tours (Belgien) Samen op stap - +/- 35 persons – Mark und Piet
Tuesday, 27th August 2019 – afternoon Group of Dutch spotters KNVOL – 30-50 persons - ?
Thursday, 29th August 2019 - 16:30 hrs Farmers' wives - ? - ?
Wednesday, 11th September 2019 – 9:30 hrs Lauers Coach Tours (Belgien) OCMW de Haan - +/- 35 persons – Mark und Piet
Thursday, 12th September 2019 – 9:30 hrs Lauers Coach Tours (Belgien) St.-Jozef Mortsel - +/- 35 persons – Mark und Piet
Tuesday, 01st October 2019 – 14:30 hrs Lauers (Belgien) Okra Waarschoot - +/- 35 persons – (Mark und Piet?)
Sunday, 17th November 2019 - ? Kolpingsfamilie Weeze - ?


Laarbruch Listener 1971 - 1999

RAF Laarbruch Station Crest and listener banner

28 Listener years: First edition of the popular free Laarbruch Listener was handed out in June 1971, and the last edition appeared in June 1999 shortly before the final close-down of the station. In the course of the years the Laarbruch Listener had changed its appearance, had grown in size and content.
We're offering the Laarbruch Listener copies as digital flipbooks, click/tap the following link to view the archived volumes: "Laarbruch Listener"

Laarbruch listener covers

From July 1979 for some time (until August 1982) there was the category "Listener Ladies."
Before this time there was from time to time a recording of "Laarbruch Lovely," later also "Lady of the Month" with a story about the lady depicted.
These pages will also be made available on time and occasion.

Here you can browse through the pictures of all these pretty ladies. Listener Ladies

Another familiarity amongst the articles in the Listener were the cartoons by Ken Saw, otherwise known as the "Ken Zaps." Follow the link to view the Ken Zaps Flipbook.