From India To Germany: RAF Squadron Celebrates 100 Years Of History

31 Squadron saw action in the Second World War along with more recent conflicts in Iraq.

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.