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RAF Takes Centenary Celebrations To Germany

Royal Air Force personnel who work either side of the German-Dutch border have come together to mark the RAF’s centenary.

Royal Air Force personnel who work either side of the German-Dutch border have come together at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany to mark the service's centenary.

Geilenkirchen, home to NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force aircraft, and Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands are only a few miles apart, 

The German base forms a military community of more than 300 - most of whom are with the RAF.

 Air Commodore Andy Martin, Deputy Force Commander, said:

"Celebrating at this base that used to be a Royal Air Force base is a fantastic opportunity.

Dutch RAF 100 celebrations

"Celebrating it alongside our family and friends from Brunssum is even better with the people here at Geilenkirchen too and of course it being a NATO AWACS force it’s a great example of the UK’s commitment to NATO."

Leo Hendrikx, a Dutch native now in his nineties who flew with 322 Squadron during the Second World War, made an appearance and spoke about his time with the British military:

 "I started in March '45 with that squadron and I was shot down on my fifth trip on April 1, so that was a very short career."

"It’s the only Air Force in the world which is named without the name of the country. Royal Air Force is sufficient for everybody to understand and it is the Royal Air Force.

 "I was very, very proud to be a member of that Air Force of course."

Despite there being an absence of Spitfires at the celebration, there were vintage T-6 Harvards - the aircraft in which Spitfire pilots used to train.

Dutch RAF 100 celebrations