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LEUCHARS STATION is a British Army installation located in Leuchars
Leuchars
, Fife
Fife
, on the east coast of Scotland
Scotland
, near to the university town of St Andrews
St Andrews
.

Formerly RAF LEUCHARS (IATA : ADX, ICAO : EGQL), it was the second most northerly air defence station in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(The most northerly being RAF Lossiemouth ). The Station ceased to be an RAF Station at 1200 hrs on 31 March 2015 when control of the site was transferred to the Army.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 First World War * 1.2 Inter-war years * 1.3 Second World War * 1.4 Cold War
Cold War
* 1.5 Post Cold War
Cold War
* 1.6 Station Transition

* 2 Structure and units

* 2.1 British Army * 2.2 Royal Air Force

* 3 Annual Airshow * 4 Transfer to the Army * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links

HISTORY

FIRST WORLD WAR

Aviation at Leuchars
Leuchars
dates back to 1911 with a balloon squadron of the Royal Engineers setting up a training camp in Tentsmuir Forest . They were soon joined in the skies by the 'string and sealing wax' aircraft of the embryonic Royal Flying Corps ; such aircraft favoured the sands of St Andrews
St Andrews
, where not the least of the attractions was the availability of fuel from local garages.

Like so many RAF stations, the airfield itself owes its existence to the stimulus of war, and work began on levelling the existing site on Reres Farm in 1916. From the beginning, Leuchars
Leuchars
was intended as a training unit, being termed a 'Temporary Mobilisation Station' taking aircrew from initial flying training through to fleet co-operation work. Building was still underway when the Armistice was signed in 1918. Most was made of Leuchars' maritime location when it was designated a Naval Fleet Training School, eventually to undertake the training of 'naval spotting' crews who acted as eyes for the Royal Navy's capital ships.

INTER-WAR YEARS

The unit was formally named 'Royal Air Force Leuchars' on 16 March 1920, but nevertheless retained its strong naval links.

As the Navy embraced the value of aviation, the aircraft carrier was added to its inventory. Many of the flights dedicated to Leuchars
Leuchars
were detached to such vessels for months at a time, with light and dark blue uniforms apparently mixing happily together. At St Andrews, the citizens were not unaware of the potential uses of aviation and attempts were made to use aircraft as a means of transport for golfing enthusiasts. More successful were the barn-storming displays of the flying circuses which were extremely popular in the town.

In 1935, Leuchars
Leuchars
became home to No. 1 Flying Training School (1 FTS) and ranges for practice bombing were established in Tentsmuir Forest . As the war clouds gathered, its maritime position ensured that Leuchars
Leuchars
would come to play a more warlike role. 1 FTS moved to RAF Netheravon and the Station came under the control of Coastal Command . With the arrival of 224 and 233 Squadrons in August 1938 the Station had an operational, rather than training, role for the first time.

SECOND WORLD WAR

On 4 September 1939, a Lockheed Hudson
Lockheed Hudson
of No. 224 Squadron RAF attacked a Dornier Do 18 over the North Sea with inconclusive results but became the first British aircraft to engage the enemy in the Second World War . Leuchars
Leuchars
was not to secure the romantic image of a Battle of Britain station, but rather settled to the routine of hour upon hour of maritime patrol which played a crucial part in Britain's ultimate victory. In February 1940, another 224 Squadron Lockheed Hudson located the German prison ship the Altmark which allowed for its interception by HMS Cossack and the liberation of over 200 British prisoners. On 2 December 1943, a pigeon called Winkie became one of the first birds or animals to be awarded the Dickin Medal for helping rescue the crew of a ditched bomber from the station.

During Second World War, British Overseas Airways Corporation formed in November 1939 from Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd operated a wartime route from RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
to Stockholm. From 1943 BOAC used civilian registered Mosquito aircraft. Noted for the carrying of ball-bearings from Sweden to the UK, the route also returned RAF aircrew that had diverted to or made crash landings in Swedish airfields during operations over Europe. Other aircraft types were used.

COLD WAR

Leuchars
Leuchars
remained an active Station to the end of the War, concentrating on anti-submarine and anti-shipping strikes. With the contraction of the Air Force in peacetime, life at Leuchars
Leuchars
returned to a more gentle pace, hosting a school for general reconnaissance and the St Andrews
St Andrews
University Air Squadron complete with de Havilland Tiger Moth . In May 1950 Leuchars
Leuchars
entered the jet age as it passed from Coastal to RAF Fighter Command and Gloster Meteor of 222 Squadron made the Station their new home.

In 1954 the fixed wing aircraft had been joined by a flight of Bristol Sycamore helicopters for Search and Rescue duties. From the beginning, the flight proved a valuable adjunct to the civilian mountain and maritime rescue services, a role which continues to this day. There were also two rescue launches based in Tayport
Tayport
.

The next generation of jets to be stationed at Leuchars
Leuchars
were the Hawker Hunter and the Gloster Javelin , with air-sea rescue services provided by Westland Whirlwind helicopters. The University Air Squadron was equipped with the de Havilland Chipmunk .

As the Cold War
Cold War
reached its frostiest depths in the 1960s the development of long range aircraft allowed the Soviets regular incursion into British air space. Initially this was countered by the use of English Electric Lightning and, from 1969, McDonnell Douglas Phantom II aircraft. Again Leuchars' position made it ideally suited as a base to ensure the integrity of British air space. Leuchars
Leuchars
was also the home in the 1970s for a Fleet Air Arm squadron (892 Naval Air Squadron ) when disembarked from their carrier HMS Ark Royal , also operating Phantoms. For over two decades Leuchars' aircraft have policed the UK air defence region, demonstrating the ability to intercept unidentified aircraft and thereby providing an effective deterrent. During the 1980s, RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
was home to 27 Sqn RAF Regiment which was a Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) based Squadron, using Field Standard A Rapier Missile system.

Throughout the cold war, Search and Rescue was an enduring presence, and Whirlwind and Wessex aircraft were stationed at RAF Leuchars throughout the 1960s to early 1990's.

POST COLD WAR

Tornado F3 on standby in hangar

The Phantoms of 43 Squadron and 111 Squadron were replaced by Panavia Tornado F.3s during 1986-1990s. April 2003 saw the Tornado F.3 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), 56 (Reserve) Squadron , move to RAF Leuchars. In April 2008, 56(R) Squadron amalgamated with 43 Squadron, retaining the identity of the latter until it was disbanded in July 2009.

In September 2010, No. 6 Squadron RAF was the first squadron at RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
to be reformed operating the Eurofighter Typhoon ; Typhoons from the squadron performed a QRA scramble on Sunday 2 January 2011. 6 Squadron took over QRA duties when the last of the Tornado F.3s were retired. The second Typhoon squadron, 1(F)Squadron, was reformed at the 2012 RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow on 15 September 2012.

Leuchars
Leuchars
had a long history of defending sovereign UK airspace over many decades stretching back to Meteor aircraft and finally with the Typhoon. Iconic aircraft such as the English Electric Lightning and McDonald Douglas Phantom were prevalent over many years. Leuchars
Leuchars
was home to the last squadron of Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
F3s , No. 111 Squadron . 111 Sqn operated the Quick Reaction Alert
Quick Reaction Alert
( QRA ) which was set up primarily to combat threats from Soviet attacks during the Cold War
Cold War
. The unit was disbanded in March 2011.

The station was formerly home to No. 125 Expeditionary Air Wing , but it is still the home of the East of Scotland
Scotland
Universities Air Squadron (ESUAS) and XII Air Experience Flight (12 AEF), who both use a fleet of seven Tutor T.1's. No 125 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was formed at Leuchars
Leuchars
on 1 April 2006. The wing encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel and does not include the flying units based at the station. The station commander was dual-hatted as the commander of the wing.

Leuchars
Leuchars
is also the base for No. 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron , Royal Auxiliary Air Force (an air-transportable surgical squadron), and was formerly a host to an RAF Mountain Rescue Unit. Leuchars frequently hosts local Air Training Corps units. Until 1 January 2015 it was also the parent station to several remote units in the central Scotland
Scotland
area, including Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde Air Squadron , 602 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 603 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force and many Air Training Corps squadrons.

RAF Lossiemouth in Moray , and RAF Coningsby
RAF Coningsby
in Lincolnshire , are now the sole operating bases and custodians for QRA(I) North & South flying the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 .

A third Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
F3 Squadron, No. 56 (Reserve) Squadron , was disbanded in April 2008 in preparation for the arrival of the Eurofighter Typhoon , in 2010. Members of No 56 Squadron had temporarily joined No. 43 Squadron until it too was disbanded in July 2009. Following the departure of the two Typhoon Squadrons, 6 Sqn in June 2014, and 1(F) Sqn in Sep 14, RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
merged the traditional Tri-Wing structure of Base, Engineering and Logistics and Operations Wings into a single Wing structure.

STATION TRANSITION

After Quick Reaction Alert
Quick Reaction Alert
duties were moved to RAF Lossiemouth in September 2014, and whilst the Station finished transitioning to Army control, RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
was placed under the command of Wing Commander N J Clayton when Air Commodore G M Mayhew, Air Officer Scotland
Scotland
and Commanding Officer RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
was posted. The army established an Army Basing Team that worked closely with the remaining RAF staffs and other key stakeholders to transition the site to Army control.

STRUCTURE AND UNITS

BRITISH ARMY

* ROYAL ENGINEERS (8 ENGINEER BRIGADE , 12 (FORCE SUPPORT) ENGINEER GROUP)

* 71 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) (Army Reserve )

* Regimental Headquarters * 2 Troop

* ROYAL ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL ENGINEERS (101 LOGISTICS BRIGADE )

* 2 Close Support Battalion

* Battalion Headquarters * 7 Close Support Company * 11 Close Support Company

* ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS (51 INFANTRY BRIGADE )

* Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

* ADJUTANT GENERAL\\'S CORPS (1 MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE , 1 REGIMENT ROYAL MILITARY POLICE )

* 110 Provost Company

ROYAL AIR FORCE

* RAF Airfield Operations

* NO. 22 GROUP (TRAINING) RAF

* East of Scotland
Scotland
Universities Air Squadron - Grob Tutor T1 * No. 12 Air Experience Flight - Grob Tutor T1

* Air Training Corps

* Scotland
Scotland
"> Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XVIIIe SM845 at the RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
airshow in 2008

RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
was home to the annual Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow which originated many decades before. This usually took place on a Saturday in September. The 2007 Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow was cancelled due to resurfacing of the runway.

Approximately 45,000 people attended the 2010 show to see displays including the Red Arrows
Red Arrows
, Eurofighter Typhoon , and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight . Air forces from many NATO
NATO
countries provided additional static and flight displays.

The final airshow was held on 8 September 2013 and c45,000 people were on site.

TRANSFER TO THE ARMY

Spectators watch an E-3D Sentry at the Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow of 2012

On 18 July 2011 Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced that RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
would close, whilst RAF Lossiemouth in Moray would be spared as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review . The recently formed Typhoon force, which was stood up in March 2011, moved to RAF Lossiemouth in Summer 2014 with the Army expected to take up residence in 2015 onwards.

Several lodger units on the Station continue to receive support from their respective parented stations/HQ after the transition from RAF to Army command. These include No. 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron RAuxAF, the East of Scotland
Scotland
Universities Air Squadron incorporating 12 Air Experience Flight , and the Headquarters of Scotland
Scotland
and Northern Ireland Region and South East Scotland
Scotland
Wing of the Air Training Corps . There is still an RAF presence, with a runway used for diverted aircraft.

The former lodger units of 58 Squadron RAF Regiment and 6 Force Protection Wing disbanded on 10 May 2014. Similarly the RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team disbanded in Nov 2013.

The Army took control of the station on 1 April 2015 and it was renamed Leuchars
Leuchars
Station. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards gradually relocated from Germany in the spring and summer of 2015 along with 2 Battalion REME and 110 Provost Company . The new station will be at full manning capacity in the Summer of 2016 when the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards return from operational training in Canada
Canada
. A news report from the Courier stated that 2 CS REME would be moved from Leuchars
Leuchars
to Yorkshire under Army 2020 Refine plans.

SEE ALSO

* List of former Royal Air Force stations * HMS Fieldfare

REFERENCES

* ^ "Quick Reaction Alert". RAF 2004 (PDF) (Report). Royal Air Force. 2004. pp. 38–43. Retrieved 3 August 2015. * ^ "No 43 (Fighter) Squadron Disbanded". raf.mod.uk. 13 July 2009. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2014. * ^ "Typhoon Force Grows as Historic Squadron Reforms at Leuchars". raf.mod.uk. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2014. * ^ "71 Engineer Regiment". British Army. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ "2 Close Support Battalion". British Army. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ "The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards". British Army. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ "Army battalion to leave Leuchars
Leuchars
base". Evening Telegraph. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ A B "Units at Leuchars". Leuchars
Leuchars
Station Open Day - 3 June 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ " ESUAS Squadron Life". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ "Who is Based Here?". RAF Leuchars. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ "612 Squadron (County of Aberdeen)". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 23 May 2017. * ^ Dickie, Andrew (13 September 2008). "RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow 2008 Review". UK Airshow Review. Retrieved 9 September 2014. * ^ "Airshow 2006". The Courier (Dundee)
The Courier (Dundee)
. DC Thomson . 11 September 2006. * ^ "Last RAF Leuchars
Leuchars
Airshow takes to skies". BBC News. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2014. * ^ "RAF to pull out of Leuchars
Leuchars
as RAF Lossiemouth stays". BBC News. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011. * ^ "First Typhoons land at Lossiemouth". Press and Journal . 12 June 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014. (Subscription required (help)).

* ^ Air Forces Monthly
Air Forces Monthly
. Stamford , Lincolnshire , England
England
: Key Publishing Ltd . April 2013. p. 8. * ^ " Leuchars
Leuchars
Station - HL4058". Hansard. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016. * ^ "Disbandment Parade of 6 RAF Force Protection Wing and 58 Sqn RAF Regiment". rafregt.org.uk. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014. * ^ Maureen Ferrier Email (2015-03-31). "Army now in charge at Leuchars". Fife
Fife
Today. Retrieved 2017-06-25. * ^ " Leuchars
Leuchars
residents welcome rebasing news". British Forces News ( British Forces Broadcasting Service ). Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. * ^ "Battalion to leave Leuchars
Leuchars
for Yorkshire under MoD plans". The Courier. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.

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