RAF Leeming

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RAF Leeming
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Near Leeming, North Yorkshire in England
Station Crest
EGXE is located in North Yorkshire
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates 54°17′33″N 001°32′08″W / 54.29250°N 1.53556°W / 54.29250; -1.53556Coordinates: 54°17′33″N 001°32′08″W / 54.29250°N 1.53556°W / 54.29250; -1.53556
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Website RAF Leeming
Site history
Built 1939 (1939)
In use 1940-Present
Garrison information
Group Captain Simon Reeves RAF
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGXE, WMO: 03257
Elevation 40 metres (131 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
16/34 2,289 metres (7,510 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Leeming or RAF Leeming is a Royal Air Force station located near Leeming, North Yorkshire, England.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Leeming.



This Stirling, N3641/MG-D, seen being prepared for a flight, was the second Stirling to be delivered to No. 7 Squadron at Leeming and took part in their first raid over Rotterdam on the night of 10–11 February 1941.

The station opened in 1940 as a bomber station during the Second World War. In 1943 the station was assigned to No. 6 Group Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with a sub-station at RAF Skipton-on-Swale. The main aircraft operated were Whitley, Stirling, Halifax and Lancaster bombers.

A detachment of No. 219 Squadron RAF used the airfield between 4 October 1939 and 12 October 1940 when the main section of the squadron was at RAF Catterick flying the Bristol Blenheim IF.[1]


Following the war, the station became a night fighter base, equipped initially with Mosquito and then with Meteor and Javelin aircraft before becoming a Training Command airfield in 1961. The station was then home to No. 3 Flying Training School, equipped with the Jet Provost aircraft.[9]

There were also several other units using the airfield during the same period, these were:


Leeming functioned as a training base until 1988 when it became a front line base in the air defence role equipped with Tornado F3s. Initially it hosted Nos 11, 23, and 25(XXV) Squadrons, all flying the F3.

23 Squadron was disbanded on 1 March 1994, and was reformed at RAF Waddington in 1996 flying the Sentry E3D. This left two Tornado squadrons, which were half of the air defence fighter squadrons of the RAF. 11 Squadron was disbanded in October 2005, but it re-formed at RAF Coningsby on 29 March 2007 flying the Eurofighter Typhoon F2. The last Tornado squadron at Leeming (No XXV Squadron) disbanded on 4 April 2008.

The only remaining jets are the BAe Hawks of 100 Squadron which provides an air combat training service as well as support to the Joint Forward Air Control Training Support Unit (JFACTSU).

Leeming then began operating as a Forward Operating Base and as a Fast Jet Turnround facility. The remaining air defence bases are RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland which exchanged its Tornado F3s for Typhoons, and since June 2007 RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire which is home to Typhoon F2s. Coningsby took over from Leeming as England's main air defence base in April 2008 when 3 Sqn became fully operational. (RAF Leuchars would go on to disband its Tornado Squadrons in 2009 and was handed over the Army in 2015). Leeming is also home to No 11 Air Experience Flight and Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, with four Grob Tutor aircraft stationed there.

The future of RAF Leeming following the disbandment of its remaining Tornado squadron was not clear for a period. Under plans by the UK Ministry of Defence, Air Combat Service Support units of 2 Group along with personnel from RAF Boulmer and other stations, who had been highlighted for a possible move to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, were instead relocated to Leeming, due to problems with accommodation at Scampton.

RAF Leeming saw substantial redevelopment as a communications hub, with 90 Signals Unit being the resident unit.

Currently two flying squadrons remain, 100 Squadron and the Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, and there are no plans to disband or move either of these squadrons.

No. 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was formed at the station on 1 April 2006 and encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel. The EAW does not include the flying squadrons or any other formed units. The station commander at RAF Leeming is also the commander of the wing.

The following squadrons used RAF Leeming during the same timespan:

The station's air traffic control unit was named the best in the Royal Air Force in February 2012, winning the Raytheon Falconer Trophy.[10]

Leeming's gate guardian is now a Tornado F3,[11] commemorating its history as an air defence base, and the fact that many Tornados were scrapped/Reduced To Produce here.[12] The previous gate guardian XA634 is the world's only surviving Gloster Javelin FAW4, which spent most of its life as a testbed at the Gloster Aircraft Company and was offered for sale by tender in September 2014 by the Ministry of Defence.[13] In December 2014 it was announced that Gloucestershire Jet Age Museum had won the tender and purchased the aircraft.[14]

Current flying units[edit]

Station units[edit]

  • Base Support Wing
    • Administrative Squadron
    • Plans and Business Squadron
    • Finance Department
    • Forward Support Wing
      • Forward Support Sqn
      • Logistics Sqn
    • Operations Wing
      • Operations Squadron
      • Air Movements Squadron
      • Airfield Support Squadron

Ground lodger units[edit]



  1. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 72.
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 27.
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 26.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 54.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 37.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 48.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 90.
  8. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  9. ^ History of Airfield from RAF Leeming Noise Insulation Grant Scheme survey report
  10. ^ "Leeming's Air Traffic Control Squadron named best in RAF". Ministry of Defence. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/13327364.Fighter_jet_on_permanent_sentry_duty/
  12. ^ http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2013/09/reduced-to-produce-the-end-of-the-rafs-tornado-f3-interceptor-force/
  13. ^ "SALE OF QTY 1 GLOSTER JAVELIN FAW 4 AIRCRAFT" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Gloucestershire Jet Age Museum buys Gloster Javelin". BBC Online. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 


  • Coupland, Peter. Straight and True: A History of Royal Air Force Leeming. London: Leo Cooper, 1997. ISBN 0-85052-569-1.
  • Jefford, C.G, MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit]