Translate This Page

English Arabic Bulgarian Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Finnish French German Greek Hindi Italian Japanese Korean Norwegian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Spanish Swedish Catalan Filipino Hebrew Indonesian Latvian Lithuanian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Ukrainian Vietnamese Albanian Estonian Galician Hungarian Maltese Thai Turkish Persian
Home arrow Articles arrow History arrow A Short History of Abandoned and Downsized Canadian Military Bases
A Short History of Abandoned and Downsized Canadian Military Bases - Introduction Print E-mail
Written by Bruce Forsyth   
Article Index
Introduction
The Past
Pre to Post-Unification
Abandoned Bases Intro
Abandoned Bases: AB
Abandoned Bases: BC
Abandoned Bases: MB
Abandoned Bases: NB
Abandoned Bases: NL
Abandoned Bases: NT
Abandoned Bases: NS
Abandoned Bases: NU
Abandoned Bases: ON
Abandoned Bases: PE
Abandoned Bases: QC
Abandoned Bases: SK
Abandoned Bases: YT
Abandoned Bases: Outside Canada
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: AB
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: BC
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: MB
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: NB
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: NS
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: ON
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: PE
Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence: QE
Downsized Bases Or Bases That Have Changed Their Function
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: BC
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: NB
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: NWT
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: NS
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: ON
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: SK
Bases That Have Downsized or Changed Their Function: QE
The Pinetree Line
The Pinetree Line: AB
The Pinetree Line: BC
The Pinetree Line: MB
The Pinetree Line: NB
The Pinetree Line: NL
The Pinetree Line: NWT
The Pinetree Line: NS
The Pinetree Line: ON
The Pinetree Line: QE
The Pinetree Line: SK
The Mid-Canada Line
Distant Early Warning Line
The North-West Territory
Distant Early Warning Line
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Canadian Army Training Centres of World War II
The Northwest Staging Route
Abandoned Armouries
Abandoned Armouries: AB
Abandoned Armouries: ON
The Future
The Future: AB
The Future: NL
The Future: NWT
The Future: NS
The Future: ON
The Future: QE
The Future: SK
Current Canadian Military Bases

Abandoned Bases - OUTSIDE CANADA

 

BERMUDA

 

Canadian Forces Station Bermuda:
 
Opened 3 July 1963 on the former site of a World War II Royal Navy Radio Station, Naval Radio Station Bermuda served as a radio station in Canada's National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization. The establishment of the station was a logical progression, as the Royal Canadian Navy had been using the former Royal Navy Dockyard in Bermuda almost continuously as a training base since the RN withdrew in 1951. A Canadian Forces Liaison Office had previously been established to co-ordinate training activities.

With the Unification, the station was re-named CFS Bermuda in 1968, becoming one of the first Canadian Forces Stations to be staffed by unified forces personnel.

The station closed on 31 December 1993. The former station is now the Daniel's Head Beach Park.

Nothing remains of CFS Bermuda today. Daniel's Head Village Hotel opened on the site in 2000, but has since closed.

Source Material: Communications & Electronics Museum site - www.c-and-e-museum.org, Bermda Vacation Guide - http://www.bermuda.com/info/history/1900sI.html, Bermuda Vacation Guide - http://www.insiders.com/bermuda/main-beaches3.htm, Canadian Forces Station Bermuda web site - www.bermuda-online.org/canadianforcesstationbda.htm & Canada's National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization web site - www.tscm.com.cse.html.



 FRANCE

Royal Canadia Air Force Station Marville:

Opened in 1951 in  northeastern France as the home of 1 Wing, a part of the RCAF's No. 1 Air Division, formed as part of Canada's air defence commitment to NATO in Europe during the Cold War.

The station's four fighter squadrons, all flying Canadair F-86 Sabres, were 410 Squadron, 441 Squadron and 439 Squadron originally from RCAF Station Uplands.

In 1956, some squadrons replaced their Sabre fighter jet with the CF-100 Canuck fighter.  By 1962, the remaining squadrons were re-equipped CF-104 Starfighters.  Also that year, 445 Squadron replaced 410 Squadron at Marville, remaining until December 1962, when the squadron disbanded.


In 1966 the Government of France announced it's intention to withdraw from NATO, which resulted in the expulsion of NATO countries from France.  As a result, 439 and 441 Squadrons re-located to RCAF Station Lahr in April 1967 and RCAF Station Marville closed.

Most of the station's building remain, as does the abandoned runway.

 



Royal Canadia Air Force Station Grostenquin:

Opened in 1951 in  northeastern France as the home of 2 Wing, a part of the RCAF's No. 1 Air Division, formed as part of Canada's air defence commitment to NATO in Europe during the Cold War.  The station had four fighter squadrons:  416 Squadron, 421 Squadron, 423 Squadron and 430 Squadron, all flying the Canadair F-86 Sabre, then later the CF-100 Canuck and CF-104 Starfighters.

RCAF Station Grostenquin was destined to have a short life.  In 1963 the Government of France announced it would assume control all nuclear weapons on French soil in 1963.  As a result, the two nuclear strike squadrons at 2 Wing, 421 and 430 Squadrons, were hastily moved to Zweibrücken and Baden-Soellingen. This eventually lead to the closure of RCAF Station Grostenquin in 1964.

Several of the station buildings are still standing today, though abandoned, as does the abandoned and crumbling runway.


Source material:  RCAF Station Grostenquin web site - http://web.archive.org/web/20080710052030/http://www.grostenquin.org/


 

GERMANY

 

Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen:

Originally opened June 1952 to accommodate a brigade of the French Air Force, the station was turned over to the RCAF, thus the station became as RCAF Station Baden-Soellinggen in 1953 and the home of 4 Wing.  The station was a part of the RCAF's No. 1 Air Division, formed as part of Canada's air defence commitment to NATO in Europe during the Cold War.

Following the closure of RCAF Station Marville in France, 441 Squadron relocated to Baden, changing its name to 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.

With the Unification of the Forces, the station was re-named CFB Baden in 1968.
With the closure of RCAF Station Zweibrïcken in 1969, its units were consolidated at Lahr and Baden.

Units of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Soest area of northern West Germany moved to CFB Lahr and air force units concentrated at CFB Baden-Soellingen.  Reduced from six squadrons to three, the squadrons were reorganized under the new 1 Canadian Air Group banner.

However, a mechanized infantry battalion was stationed alongside the fighter squadrons at Baden-Soellingen:  the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (1955–57 and 1962–65) and 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (1953–55 and 1965–70). From 1970-1977 it was the 3rd Mechanized Commando, The Canadian Airborne Regiment the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from 1977-1984; the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from 1984-1988 and again the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from 1988-1993.
 
In addition, there was also a communications squadron, and after 1987, an air defence battery. A multi-force airfield repair unit formed in the late 80s to fix the runways if needed.
The ramp-up in defence spending during renewed Cold War tensions in the late 1970s and 1980s saw CFB Baden-Soellingen receive much-needed new infrastructure, including updated quarters for its personnel and their dependents. The year 1984 saw squadrons at CFB Baden-Soellingen begin to re-equip from the CF-104 Starfighter to the CF-18 Hornet with 1986 being the close-out year for the Starfighter on base.
 
In October 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and by the end of 1990, Germany had reunited, thawing Cold War tensions and removing the role for Canada's active units stationed in Western Europe under NATO command.  As a result,  the base was downsized to a Detachment of CFB Lahr on 31 July 1993, but eventually closed, along with Lahr, on 31 August 1994. The former base is now known as the Baden Airpark.

Visit "Remembering CFB Baden-Soellingen" at http://www.badenremembered.com for the full story on one of Canada's former German bases.

Source Material: "Remembering CFB Baden-Soellingen" - www.badenremembered.com and the Communications & Electronics Museum site - www.c-and-e-museum.org.


Canadian Forces Base Lahr:

Opened in March 1966 in the wake of the closure of RCAF Station Marville in France.  The station, named RCAF Station Lahr, served as the new home to 1 Wing and 1 Air Division Headquarters, when the Government of France ordered all NATO forces out of France.


In April 1967, 439 and 441 Squadrons re-located to Lahr, but by 1971, 441 Squadron moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen, changing its name to 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.
As a result of the Unification in 1968, the base was re-named CFB Lahr.


Further consolidation resulted in Canadian Army units in northern West Germany, along with those units based in nearby Hemer-Deilinghofen, Werl, and Unna, re-located to CFB Lahr, with some going to CFB Baden-Soellingen.  


Army units stationed at CFB Lahr were organized under 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and were mostly heavy armour or mechanized infantry equipped with the M113 family of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).  CFB Lahr was home to:  The Royal Canadian Dragoons (1970-1987), 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) (1987-1993), 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, 4th Air Defence Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, 4 Combat Engineer Regiment, 4 Service Battalion, 4 Field Ambulance, 4 Military Police Platoon, 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 5 Air Movement Unit.


In October 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down and by the end of 1990, Germany had reunited, thawing Cold War tensions and removing the role for Canada's active units stationed in Western Europe under NATO command.  As a result,  4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group departed Lahr on 31 August 1993. CFB Lahr closed a year later on 31 August 1994.

The former base now operates as the Black Forest Airport.
 

Source Material: Communications & Electronics Museum site Museum site - www.c-and-e-museum.org
 


RCAF Station Zweibrücken:

Established in 1953 as the home to 3 Wing, a part of the RCAF's No. 1 Air Division, formed as part of Canada's air defence commitment to NATO in Europe during the Cold War.

Three squadrons flying F-86 Sabres were located at Zweibrücken: 413, 427, and 434. The three squadrons arrived at Zweibrücken in March 1953.  No. 413 Squadron was replaced in 1957 by 440 Squadron flying the new CF-100 all-weather interceptor.
In 1959 Canada began re-equipping with the new CF-104 Starfighter, a nuclear weapon equipped fighter jet that also served a reconnaissance role.  No. 440 Squadron was disbanded in December 1962. No. 430 Squadron moved to Zweibrücken from Grostenquin when 2 Wing closed in 1964.

In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, RCAF Station Zweibrücken closed on 27 August 1969. 

The RCAF erected a west coast Indian totem pole as a token of their friendship with the local German citizens.

Upon the departure of the RCAF, control of the station was transferred to the United States Air Force Sixteenth Air Force, USAFE.  The USAF closed this base in 1991.

Today, the former base is known as the Zweibrücken Airport.  All that remains from 3 Wing RCAF is the Peter Cunningham Memorial Arena.  The totem was unoficially repatriated to Canada several years later by unknown persons and stored ina hangar at CFB Trenton.  In September 2012, the totem was given to the City of Barrie, Ontario, sister city of Zweibrücken and displayed in the city hall.
 


 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

 
Camp Mirage:
 
Camp Mirage, opened in December 2011, was the codename for a secret Canadian Forces forward logistics base located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in support of Canada's operations in southwest Asia, namely Afghanistan. The base, although an "open secret", was not officially acknowledged by the Canada.

The exact location of Camp Mirage and the nature of its missions were not officially acknowledged by the Canadian government, although it supposedly was located at Al Minhad Air Base, operated by the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

Camp Mirage primarily operated as a transportation base, although CP-140 Aurora maritime-patrol aircraft, C-17 Globemaster III and CC-150 Polaris aircraft from CFB Trenton and other air bases in Canada operated at Camp Mirage. The base also included aircraft maintenance facilities, sleeping areas, a cafeteria and a ball-hockey rink.

The base closed on 5 November 2010 after the Government of the United Arab Emirates had revoked the Canadian Forces' access to the facility due to the Canadaian government's refusal to grant civilian landing rights to Emirates and Etihad Airways at the Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport in Canada.
 

UNITED KINGDOM

Royal Canadian Air Force Station Langar

Established at Royal Air Force Station Langar, the first RCAF personnel arrived autumn 1952. The air field was by the Royal Canadian Air Force as the home to No. 30 Air Materiel Base. Langar was the RCAF's primary supply base for No. 1 Air Division RCAF in Europe, a complex of four fighter bases set up in nearby North Luffenham and in France and West Germany by Canada to help meet NATO's European air defence commitments during the Cold War. It was the only Canadian base in the UK.

The RCAF established No. 30 Air Materiel Base to handle the transportation of supplies, equipment, aircraft, personnel, and other support essential for the operation of the four NATO air bases and its headquarters. Several units were attached to 30 AMB. No. 137 (Transport) Flight, which was attached to the Movements Unit of 30 AMB, operated several types of aircraft including six Bristol Freighters, one Beechcraft Expeditor, and two Dakotas. No. 312 Supply Depot handled medical supplies and spares for mechanical equipment, including aircraft (e.g. the F-86 Sabre) and vehicles. No. 314 Technical Services Unit was tasked with inspecting all supplies before they were forwarded to operational bases. This unit also assisted with repair contracts and provided technical advice.

The RCAF departed Langar in 1963 and the airfield became a civilian airport.

 
Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 November 2013 )
 
Creative Commons LicenseMilitary Bruce Historical Writings by Bruce Forsyth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at www.militarybruce.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.militarybruce.com.