August 2018

Hawker Hunter T7 assembly

In the last week of January 2018 the Hawker Hunter T7 was delivered from the Lake District / Midlands on two lorries.

A compilation of photos of transport and delivery on 22/23 and 24 January and the assembly of the first large parts in the Astra can be seen here.

Hawker Hunter T7

30. December 2017


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:

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.The Squadron has been in almost continuous existence for the last 100 years, and still exists today in its home in Marham in the UK.The Royal Air Force left Laarbruch eighteen years ago but a museum ensures they are not forgotten.Air Commodore Paddy Teakle has opened the new permanent exhibition in celebration of his old squadron."The Squadron itself has a pretty illustrious history," he said."It was formed in India and for the best part of 85 years served overseas, of which Germany was the rump of that."31 Squadron flew the Canberra from RAF Laarbruch between 1955 and 1971.

However, the decision to make Laarburch the main showcase of the squadron's history has not pleased everyone.

Bill Farmer, chairman of the 31 Squadron Association, said:

"Unfortunately, not all of our members were happy with the idea of coming out of Britain.

"A lot of them are getting quite elderly and travelling out here is not the easiest thing in the world for someone in their late eighties."

The 31 Squadron exhibition fills three shipping containers – appropriately 31 metres long.

At one end there is a biplane from the squadron’s beginnings in India in 1915; at the other is a nose cone representing Tornado GR4s that saw action in the Gulf and Iraq wars.

In between: a century’s worth of military history.

27 Feb 2017

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.


17 Dec 2016

United Kingdom Community 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.

30 June 2016

Extraordinairy Museums in the Lower Rhine Area

A new book from Sutton Publishers tells us about interesting and extraordinairy 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

9 June 2016

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 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. 10 Field Squadron, whose job was fast runway repair, are also to be represented.However, the star attraction is a Hawker Hunter, a single seat fighter based at another RAF base in Germany during the 1950s.The intention is for the new museum to continue to expand further, so if you know of any artefacts linked to any RAF base in Germany, they’d love to hear from you.

3 minutes on TV:

30/31 May 2016

31 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 mobiole 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.Everything went well in the end.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.

28/29 May 2016

10 Field Regiment - Royal Engineers

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

14/15 May 2016

North 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 on the left 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).

30 April 2016

Successful working weekend

On the last weekend in April, many dedicated local museum members gave the ASTRA ceiling finishing touches and other necessary works were carried out. For the work on the theater ceiling a particularly suitable working platform was hired from the company Boll, Kevelaer. Friday Morning eight am: The first members became familiar with the technical details of the machine. In changing teams Bernd Ahlbrecht, Michael Feldmann, John Goossens, Wacky Knechten, Dick Smith and Rod Hawkins worked directly on the ceiling or the floor.Meanwhile, the glider Slingsby Swallow was assembled in the open space in the cinema. After finishing the ceiling the Glider is to be fixed in the near future to the roof structure and fly above the visitors, as if it were on the landing approach.In the grounds Brian Bremner and Mark Moodie were busy on Saturday morning with the foundations for the ISO containers which will soon be arriving displaying 31 Squadron history. Bruno Schmitz and Rod Hawkins had already done the basic work the preceding week. For moral support Manfred Beckers made coffee and provided pastries on both days.The completion of the ceiling was a bit faster than expected. Thus, the platform could also be used to trim some branches off the tree in front of the museum entrance.Thanks to all the members for the work of this successful weekend.

Some pictures of the action can be seen here, some unfortunately somewhat blurred because of the lighting conditions in the cinema.

16 March 2016

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. set up by me. Some Facebook groups: "We love Laarbruch" - "Two Rivers Gliding Club" - "RAF Laarbruch - BFPO 43"

29 February 2016

Canberra PR7 - WH773 - Update

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

25 January 2016

Canberra PR7 - WH773 - returns to Laarbruch

Canberra PR7 - WH773 – once again and for the last time in the air above Laarbruch before being grounded permanently.

Monday, January 25, 2016: At half past 9 the first of two trucks with the vintage aircraft arrived at Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch. Shortly afterwards the mobile crane arrived, and the engineering team led by Konrad Josten took on the job. Several Museum members had come to help or to watch.

First, the two guns (the Bofors and the Iraqi ZPU) had to be moved a few metres. The vacant space between the museum building and Astra cinema was the position for the Canberra.

The assembly of the wings with their enormous wingspan of 20 metres will have to wait awhile, as we’re in need of the space for further improvements.

So about 13:00 hrs the job was done. Even without the wings, the Canberra is an eye-catcher.

Konrad Josten and his men have done a great job. And we know they will continue to work successfully with the assembly of the wings in a few weeks’ time.

more photos here

About the English Electric Canberra PR7 with the serial number WH773

The reconnaissance aircraft (PR = photo reconnaissance) has quite a history. It was the first PR7 built. This aircraft’s first tasking was to take part in the specially formed New Zealand Air Race Flight whilst attached to 540 Sqn at RAF Wyton. The flight was headed up by Wg Cdr Lewis Hodges, and Sqn Ldr Bob Currie was the senior navigator for the RAF Canberra crews.

WH773 was collected by Wg Cdr Hodges and Sqn Ldr Currie from the English Electric Factory at Salmesbury on 11 Sep 1953 and taken to Wyton. Hodges and 773 arrived at London Airport on 3 Oct 1953 for the build up to the air race. WH773 was to be Canberra Number 1 of 5.

WH773 set off on the air race at 1735 on 8 Oct 1953 heading for their first fuel stop at Shaiba, and then on to Negombo. They set an official speed record for the London to Colombo leg of 10hrs 25 mins (836.004 kmh/520 mph/452 kts).

They then pressed on to Perth and were well in the lead, but sadly a double generator failure cost them precious time. They eventually reached Christchurch New Zealand in the early hours of 10 Oct 1953 and were placed fourth, though they had the fastest flying time of 22 hrs 22mins from London to Christchurch New Zealand. The winning Canberra PR3 was crewed by Flt Lt Burton and Flt Lt Gannon – that aircraft - WE139 is in the Hendon Museum. WE139 was stationed at RAF Laarbruch as well (69 Sqn).

Late 50s, early 60s Canberra WH773 joined 31 Squadron stationed at Laarbruch from 1955 to 1971. In Germany, WH773 would have been flying low-level tactical recce missions. In 1972 Canberra’s were phased out. New aircraft types were to take their place.

After several other stations WH773 was sat at Gatwick Aviation Museum, just south of London for a number of years. This museum had to restructure its collection and had to dispose of this Canberra.

Thanks to all the sponsors whose donations made it possible for Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch to move the aircraft to Laarbruch.

28 November 2015

Bagpipes for Peace

Pietro Malaguti, an Italian Piper and photografer, asked all pipers worldwide via Facebook to blow the song Amazing Grace at 15 hrs GMT (16 hrs German time). He said: After the tragic Paris facts, against all wars, against violence, against terrorism, hatred. Turn your "instrument of war" into an "instrument of peace" for a while!! Saturday 28th November 2015 at 15:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) pick up and blow your pipes, wherever you are, and play all together AMAZING GRACE, a hymn to peace and love. It has been written for salvation and hope.

Facebook shows what happened:

Dietmar Schmitz, member of Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch Weeze and successful piper, known as Firefighterpiper, really wanted to take part in this worldwide happening.

On Saturday he was on duty in the museum. That way he could use the Anglican church as an appropriate location for the tune.

More than 500 pipers worldwide have turned this into a very successful event. Documented with numerous texts, photos and videos on Facebook. Plans are to repeat this performance every year at the same date and time.

Firefighter Piper Dietmar Schmitz

13 October 2015

Unusual visitors at Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch

It's not an everyday job when a group of 13 Chinese visit Royal Air Force Museum.

Background was the visit of a Chinese military delegation at the Lower Rhine. After the arrival of the Chinese Air Force Boeing 737 at Airport Weeze the high ranking members of the delegation were taken by bus to their destination at the German Luftwaffe Kalkar.

The 11 crew, among them two nice stewardesses, used their spare time for a guided tour at Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch.

Not all of the visitors could speak and understand English. An interpreter was able to help in most cases.

The guestbook was signed with strange Chinese letters.

A plaque of "China Air Force" was presented the museum at the end of the visit.

11 October 2015

2016 Calendar now on sale

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.

6 September 2015

Relatives of Canberra Crash Victims visit Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch

On October 5th, 1971, a few minutes before 11 a.m., Canberra B(i)8 fighterbombers of 16 Squadron, RAF Laarbruch, were flying towards Xanten along the Rhine River. Heading for Lüttingen, WT366 stalled. The pilot bunted the Canberra to avoid a crash in the middle of the village. The aircrew deliberately choose the consequences knowing they would not be able to escape.The aircraft crashed 150 metres behind the last houses of Lüttingen. Both aircrew lost their lives.

In 2011 the Heimat und Bürgerverein Lüttingen had put up a memorial to honour the crew: Pilot Flying Officer Keith R. "Sonny" Holmes and his Navigator Flight Lieutenant Christopher W. King of RAF Laarbruch.

On 4 September 2015, nearly 44 years after the crash, relatives of the victims were able to visit the memorial. Wendy Holmes from Canada(pilot's sister) was there with her husband. Lorna Marsh und Patricia Young, sisters of the navigator, had come from the UK. Together with Ludger Rodermond (member of HBV Lüttingen and Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch) they unveiled the newly designed memorial. Photos of the two victims had been put on the plaque.

Vanessa und Steve Freienstein (photographer) had asked the relatives to visit Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch. So Wendy, Lorna and Patricia were once again at the base where their brothers had started their mission. After the crash they had been invited to the funeral and the remembrance service.

Fatal crashes - RAF Laarbruch

Photos (in Lokalkompass) by Steve

August 2015

Siedlerbund (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)

30 July 2015

New church window in St. Peter's - now Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch

When the Royal Air Force closed in 1999 in the Church of England church were three leaded windows. One window, the choir window donated in 1990, was lost and the museum had no idea where it went despite enquiry. An English sponsor offered to pay for a new window to be made and it is now finished and fitted. The motive of St Peter is in the top left corner and in the bottom right corner is a harp.

20 June 2015

The Canberra PR7 with the serial WH773 now belongs to Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch (permanent loan).

Thanks to the generosity of a British donor (31 Sqn Association Member) Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch now has this historic aircraft.

For the time being the reconnaissance aircraft is still at its previous location at the museum Gatwick / Southern England.

The aircraft has to be dismantled and transported to its former base Laarbruch.

Dismantling, transport and reconstruction will be a complicated and lengthy procedure.

Our schedule is to transport the aircraft by the end of November, beginning of December to Laarbruch.

As soon as possible the Canberra is to be assembled at its future location between ASTRA and Museum building.

In spring club member Martin Kunz will begin the painting of the Canberra in the original painting scheme of 31 squadron.

End of this week we will start with the preparatory work, e.g. the fence will have to be moved a few meters. Helpers are always needed and welcome.

In addition, we are still working on the project "Hawker Hunter". It would be a shame to miss this opportunity. This aircraft is still at the Luftwaffenmuseum Gatow near Berlin and Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch is supposed to get it as permanent loan. We have to organize and finance the transport. To house the Hunter (as well as the glider “Swallow”) the ASTRA-cinema needs to be prepared. A lot of work!

Therefore, we depend on financial support of many donors. Several museum friends have already expressed their willingness to help with donations. (Some already have.)

We would very much appreciate any other donations.

We now ask you to transfer the promised amounts to the Museum account (purpose of payment: Canberra).

British donors please use the UK bank:

RAF Laarbruch Museum

Lloyds Bank Canterbury

Sorting Code:- 30-64-57

Account no.:- 36287368

30 June 2015

New access control at Airport Weeze

How to get to Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch?

In case you want to visit Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch you might ask yourself: How do I get there?

Do I have to pay the 2 Euro parking fee?

NO - you don't have to.

The Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch has an agreement with the airport: Our visitors may use the parking lot behind building No 7, now "Cova" building.

See photos:

There are four lanes leading to the barriers and the pay automats.Those who want to go to the museum, take the left lane. It's a bit confusing as it says "EXIT".

But this lane leads straight through the roundabout.

Then turn right immediately behind the white COVA-building, Nr 7.

Park your car. Only a few steps across the road and you're at the museum.

For the visitor who might be a bit handicapped and even the few steps across the road are too much: Pay 2 Euros like every visitor to the airport does.You are then allowed to park directly in front of the museum.

The 1 h parking time limit doesn't apply to you.

Motorbikers and cyclers don't have any problems. They will know how to find the entrance.

14 June 2015

Classic Car Rally - Museum

The Friends of historic automobiles, organized together with the "General asparagus Club" from Monchengladbach, Krefeld and Dusseldorf , a classic car rally , this rally then took advantage of a well-timed pit stop / stop over by Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch. During this welcome break members of the club had the opportunity to fill in a short questionnaire. But to answer these questions , the members had to first walk through the museum and view our numerous exhibits . After the tour they had the opportunity to relax , have a light snack and enjoy just sitting around the Royal Air Force Museum .Outside the museum, our visitors where offered a magnificent image of numerous classic cars parked next to each other , classic names such as Triumph, Porsche, Fiat, Mercedes, Bentley, Citroen, lotus where present in total nearly 50 vehicles were present, thus giving off a colourful and spectacular image …. Thus an ideal opportunity to talk shop & make photos .

(English text by Mark Moodie)

May 2015

Renovation Astra Cinema

Bit by bit we are moving forward with the renovation of the ASTRA cinema. In the meantime after a lot of time and energy the foyer has now been turned into an special exhibition room showing "70 years after B.100" ,. Further all of the defective and no longer usable cinema seats have been removed to the back of the auditorium. With the removal of these seats , this new space will be used to exhibit a proposed airplane and also the glider of the Two River Gliding Club. .The company Gable & Strack had generously provided us the use of a platform (scissor lift) free of charge, with this we were able to install new ceiling panels starting at the rear of the cinema and finally covering about 2/3rd of the ceiling . Over the years the paint work on the ceiling has flaked off and thus fallen to the ground just like snow ,eventually covering all of the seats , now that all of the seats these have been removed it is now clean and tidy , the intention being that for the front section of the auditorium to return the good seats and place them back so that you have a seating section for roughly 100 persons . In this area we will show films from the Royal Air Force and other related / cultural films . (English text by Mark Moodie)

24 May 2015

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

17 May 2015

Unveiling Dambuster AJ Easy ED 927 memorial stone and German text by Dr. Bernd Rüdiger Ahlbrecht

25 March 2015

Unveiling a "Listening Stone" - Liberation Route