RAF Gütersloh

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RAF Gütersloh
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Part of British Forces Germany
Near Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany
A No. 4 Squadron BAe Harrier at RAF Gütersloh during 1987.
A No. 4 Squadron BAe Harrier at RAF Gütersloh during 1987.
RAF Gütersloh is located in Germany
RAF Gütersloh
RAF Gütersloh
Shown within Germany
Coordinates 51°55′31.4″N 8°18′23.3″E / 51.925389°N 8.306472°E / 51.925389; 8.306472Coordinates: 51°55′31.4″N 8°18′23.3″E / 51.925389°N 8.306472°E / 51.925389; 8.306472
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Operator Royal Air Force
Condition Closed
Site history
Built 1935
In use 27 June 1945 (1945-06-27) – 30 June 1993 (1993-06-30)
Fate Transferred to British Army to become Princess Royal Barracks.
Airfield information
Identifiers IATA: GUT, ICAO: ETUO, WMO: 10320
Elevation 72 metres (236 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
09/27 2,252 metres (7,388 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Station Gütersloh, more commonly known as RAF Gütersloh, was a Royal Air Force Germany military airfield, the nearest Royal Air Force airfield to the East/West German border, in the vicinity of the town of Gütersloh. It was constructed by the Germans prior to World War II. The station was captured by the Americans in April 1945 and was handed over to the RAF in June 1945 as Headquarters No. 2 Group RAF.


Its early history is largely undetermined. It is known that construction began in 1935, and the station was active in 1944–45 with Ju-88 Nightfighters of 5./NJG 2 (Nachtjagdgeschwader 2) as part of the Defense of the Reich defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe.

The tower of the Officers' Mess contains a room known as Göring's Room. Legend has it that Hermann Göring used this room to relive his wartime exploits with the new generation of flyers. Reportedly a favourite expression of his was "If I should lie, may the beam above my head crack". In response to this a junior officer arranged that the beam be sawn through and, by a system of pulleys, that the beam should appear to crack in response to the Reichmarschall's challenge. The restored mechanics still allow the 'trick' to be employed and we certainly know that the original pre-dates British occupancy. No evidence has yet established the veracity of the story but it certainly deserves to be true. Certainly the story was popular with the Luftwaffe officers of World War II. (Although an article appearing in the aviation magazine FLIGHT in 1946 has the same story with "an elderly station commander" featuring in the Göring role). From interviews with Luftwaffe personnel of the period, it appears that Göring made a number of visits to the station both before and during the war. A photograph of the Reichmarschall supposedly at Gütersloh is displayed in the Officers' Mess.[1] Despite the date on which the airfield was established, throughout a large part of 1955–1956, an authentic looking sign not far from the main gate, stated that 'The Red Baron' and his squadron operated from this base during the 1914–18 war.

The station was captured by the Americans in April 1945 and designated as "Advanced Landing Ground Y-99". The Americans laid down a 4,000' SMT hardened runway and the Ninth Air Force operated F-4 Lightning and F-5 Mustang reconnaissance aircraft of the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group in late April. Also the P-38 Lightning-equipped 370th Fighter Group operated from Gütersloh until the German Capitulation on 8 May 1945. The 370th remained until the airfield was turned over to the RAF as part of the formation of the British Occupation Zone of Germany on 27 June 1945.

RAF Control[edit]

The RAF established Headquarters No. 2 Group RAF after the Americans moved south. From 1958 RAF Gütersloh fell under the operational command of 2d ATAF, like all other RAFG stations. The RAF initially built a 1,830 metres/meter long runway, which was later lengthened to 2,252 metres/meters

During its history as an RAF station, it was home to two squadrons of the English Electric Lightning F2/F2A – No. 92 Squadron RAF and No. 19 Squadron RAF from 1968 to 1976. These provided two aircraft for the Quick Response Alert, able to scramble within minutes. It then became home to No. 3 Squadron RAF and No. 4 Squadron RAF which flew successive variants of the BAe Harrier. After the Harriers departed, the RAF continued to operate helicopters, No. 18 Squadron RAF with the Boeing Chinook and No. 230 Squadron RAF with the Puma HC1.

RAF Gütersloh closed and was transferred to the British Army on 30 June 1993.[2]

RAF units and aircraft[edit]

English Electric Lightning in the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune, Scotland. It is displayed in the colours of No 92 Squadron, located at RAF Gutersloh with whom it served until 1977.
Unit Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
No. 2 Squadron RAF 1952–1953
Gloster Meteor
Hawker Hunter
No. 3 Squadron RAF 1948–1952
de Havilland Vampire
Hawker Siddeley Harrier
FB.1, FB.4
GR.3, GR.5, GR.7
No. 4 Squadron RAF 1961–1970
Hawker Hunter
Hawker Siddeley Harrier
GR.3, GR.5, GR.7
No. 14 Squadron RAF 1958–1962 Hawker Hunter F.4
No. 16 Squadron RAF 1947
Hawker Tempest F.2
No. 18 Squadron RAF 1965–1968
Westland Wessex
Westland Wessex
Boeing Chinook
1992/1993 also with Puma HC.1
No. 19 Squadron RAF 1965–1976 English Electric Lightning F.2, F.2A
No. 20 Squadron RAF 1958–1960 Hawker Hunter F.6
No. 21 Squadron RAF 1945
de Havilland Mosquito VI Based three times in 1946
No. 26 Squadron RAF 1947
Hawker Tempest
Hawker Tempest
Hawker Hunter
Based three times in 1948
No. 33 Squadron RAF 1947
Hawker Tempest F2
No. 59 Squadron RAF 1956–1957 English Electric Canberra B.2, B(I).8
No. 67 Squadron RAF 1950–1952 de Havilland Vampire FB.5
No. 69 Squadron RAF 1954 English Electric Canberra PR.3
No. 71 Squadron RAF 1950–1952 de Havilland Vampire FB.5
No. 79 Squadron RAF 1951–1954
Gloster Meteor
Supermarine Swift
No. 80 Squadron RAF 1948 Supermarine Spitfire F.24 Based twice
No. 92 Squadron RAF 1968–1977 English Electric Lightning F.2, F.2A
No. 102 Squadron RAF 1954–1956 English Electric Canberra B.2
No. 103 Squadron RAF 1954–1956 English Electric Canberra B.2
No. 104 Squadron RAF 1955–1956 English Electric Canberra B.2
No. 107 Squadron RAF 1945
de Havilland Mosquito VI Based three times in 1947
No. 149 Squadron RAF 1954–1956 English Electric Canberra B.2
No. 230 Squadron RAF 1963–1964
Westland Whirlwind
Westland Puma
No. 541 Squadron RAF 1952
Gloster Meteor
Gloster Meteor

Gütersloh today[edit]

Following the withdrawal by the Royal Air Force in 1993, the base became a British Army Garrison, called the Princess Royal Barracks, Gütersloh, a base for British Army helicopters, and Royal Logistic Corps Regiments.

In September 2016 the final Soldiers left Princess Royal Barracks for the last time. The barracks are now empty with no clear plan for its future.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ 'Flugplatz Gütersloh 1937–1987 A Short History' by Gerry Lewis
  2. ^ March, Peter R. (1998). Brace by Wire to Fly-By-Wire – 80 Years of the Royal Air Force 1918–1998. RAF Fairford: Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises. p. 160. ISBN 1-899808-06-X. 
  3. ^ British Army: Gütersloh Garrison Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ 1 Regt Army Air Corps Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ 6 Regt Royal Logistic Corps

External links[edit]