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 RAF Brüggen
 
RAF Brüggen, Germany was until June 15, 2001 a major station of the Royal Air Force.
It was situated next to the village of Elmpt, approximately 43 km west of Düsseldorf near the German-Netherlands border. The base was named after the village of Brüggen, the nearest rail depot. Construction began in mid-1952 which involved the clearing of dense forest and draining of marshland. The station became active in 1953 during the rapid expansion of NATO forces in Europe. To read on please click here.
 
Brüggen formed part of the "Clutch" airfields with Laarbruch and Wildenrath.

 

From the opening of RAF Brüggen in July 1953 until its closure in September 2001, the station was home to the following Squadrons and Support Units:-

 

HQ, No 135 (Fighter) Wing - 1 Apr 1953-1 Jan 1960

5004 Sqn Airfield Construction Branch - 1953-1954

317 Supply and Transport Column - 1953-1954 (1)

317 Motor Transport Sqn - 1954-1960 (1)

General Equipment Park - 1953-1960 (1)

112 Sqn - 6 Jul 1953-31 May 1957 (Vampire FB5) (2)

130 Sqn - 1 Aug 1953-31 May 1957 (Sabre F Mk4) (2)

67 Sqn - 5 Jul 1955-31 May 1957 (Sabre F Mk4) (2)

71 Sqn -7 Jul 1955-31 May 1957 (Sabre F Mk4) (2)

No 85 Sqn RAF Regiment - ??-1 Jan1958

No 89 Sqn RAF Regiment - ??-1 Jan1958

80 Sqn - 11 Jun 1957-30 Sep 1969 (Canberra PR7)

87 Sqn - 2 Jul 1957-3 Jan 1961 (Meteor NF Mk11 and Javelin Mk1) (3)

213 Sqn - 22 Aug 1957-31 Dec 1969 (Canberra B(I) Mk6)

No 431 Maintenance Unit - 1 Oct 1960-31 Mar 1993 (1)

14 Sqn - 1 Jul 1970 - 12 Jan 2001 (Phantom FGR2) (4)

17 Sqn - 1 Sep 1970-31 Mar 1999 (Phantom FGR2) (5)

2 Sqn - 1 Dec 1970-30 Sep 1976 (Phantom FGR2) (6)

25 Sqn - 1 Jan 1971-1 Mar 1983 (Bloodhound SAM)

31 Sqn - 20 Jul 1971-15 Aug 2001 (Phantom FGR2) (7)

20 Sqn - 1 Mar 1977-30 Jun 1984 (Jaguar GR1) (8)

9 Sqn - 1 Oct 1986-17 Jul 2001 (Tornado GR1)

No 37 Sqn RAF Regiment - ??-?? (Rapier) (9)

No 66 Sqn RAF Regiment - ??-?? (9)


During the late 1980s up until its handover to the British Army in 2001, RAF Brüggen was home to:
 
37 Sqn RAF Regt (Rapier) 
9 Sqn (12 x Tornado GR1)
14 Sqn (12 x Tornado GR1)
17 Sqn (12 x Tornado GR1)
31 Sqn (12 x Tornado GR1)
 
Handed over to the British Army in 2002, the area was renamed Elmpt Station, Javelin Barracks.
 
(1) Arriving from RAF Uetersen, retitled 317 MT Sqn in 1954. Amalgamated into 431 Maintenance Unit in 1963. A detachment was stationed in RAF Eindhoven.
(2) These four squadrons were re-equipped in April/May 1956 with the Hunter F Mk4, and then had the dubious honour of all being disbanded on the same day - 31st May 1957.
(3) One source has 87 Squadron as disbanding in 1961 and at Wahn, another has the Squadron as being disbanded in 1970 in Brüggen. *See below
(4) Re-equipped with Jaguar GR1 in April 1975, then to Tornado GR1 in November 1985.
(5) Re-equipped with Jaguar GR1 in Jan/Feb 1976, then to Tornado GR1 in March 1985. 17 Sqn has also been quoted as using Harrier and Buccaneer aircraft. See here for details of the Sqn
(6) The Squadron number was actually in Roman Numerals - II. This was a new squadron working up on the Phantom, while the old II Squadron was still in Gutersloh with the Hunter.Re-equipped with Jaguar October 1976, there is confusion as to whether they stayed at Brüggen or moved to Laarbruch, and when.
(7) 31 Sqn was reformed at Brüggen after its predecessor had been disbanded after 16 years at Laarbruch. In January 1976 31 (Designate) Sqn began training on the Jaguar GR1, taking over the Sqn number in June 1976. In September 1984 another 31 (Designate) Sqn began training on the Tornado and became operational in November 1984.
(8) The Sqn number was handed over to 20 (Designate) Sqn in Laarbruch, equipped with the Tornado GR1, 30th June 1984.
(9) Dates are unknown at this time. There is a reference to 37 Sqn being here 1981 to 1984, and another giving them as still being here at the close.
 
87 Squadron flew Javelin Mk1s whilst at Bruggen. They definitely disbanded in 1961 as 213 Squadron moved into their hangar.
Brian Goodwin
 
 
 
Airfield construction at RAF Bruggen 1953/1954. More photographs can be found here
Photograph courtesy of Pat Honey ex Cpl 4109595 Plant Operator
 
´
31 Sqn HAS site
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 
Air Traffic Control
  Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
The STARRNET Tower
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
An army locomotive of 79 Railway Sqn
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
MT
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore 
A visiting Vulcan bomber.
  Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore

The Astra Cinema
  Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Ops Centre
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
31 Sqn PBF
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Married Quarters
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Married Quarters
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 
The above pictures are taken from inside our [ATC] tented accommodation (covertly!) and the other near the Fire Station. There was a TACEVAL exercise going on during our time there in Summer 82. Left - Lightning aircraft decoys (no working parts), there was also a Hunter decoy out of shot. Right- Luftwaffe Starfighter aircraft.
 
A Harrier belonging to 17 Sqn.  Families day, 1980.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
31 Sqn HAS Site 2. The blob above the barbed wire is in fact an E3 AWACS!
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
A Buccaneer belonging to 17 Sqn.  Families day, 1980.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Phantoms in revetment. 17 Sqn families day, shows the blast protection of the revetment.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Canberra fire dump. An area known as Hill 60 was used for fire crews to practice rescuing injured aircrew from crashes.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore

As above
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
Train: another view of 79 Railway Sqns trains that used to visit Bruggen. In addition, I remembered the site at Arsbeck, which in the 80s was used as a training area, but had previously been a petrol and ammo depot. The rail line ran through it to Brüggen. I think there was still a petrol site lurking in the woods, there was a secure compound with grassy mounds and strong night time lighting. The rail link below seems to be one of the few online references of use: http://www.eisenbahn-in-dalheim.de/Depots/e/depot_kol2.htm .
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 
A Bloodhound missile belonging to 25 Sqn.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 A squadron of visiting F 16s, unfortunately no recollection of nationality. The Hunter in the foregrond is just a ground instructional airframe done up in the markings of one of the resident squadrons that used to fly them from Singapore in the 60s.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 HAS- Hardened Aircraft Shelter (unmodified). Would accommodate 2 Jaguars.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
QRA- Quick Reaction Alert- where nuclear armed aircraft would be ready to fly at a moments notice to give WARPAC the good news. 
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore
 SHQ- Station Headquarters circa 1981.
Courtesy of Mr Simon Moore