German Air Force (Luftwaffe)

Visited SEN from June 1940 to Sep 1985

While the Luftwaffe’s earliest visits never saw any of its aircraft landing at Southend or RAF Rochford as it was then known, a good number of its aircraft would frequently appear over the airfield and then rather rudely dump their cargoes all over it and the surrounding area while still airborne, although at least one aircraft (a Dornier) was known to have made a belly landing onto the airfield. However, from the late 1950s onwards, a good number of less belligerent visits would be made, either for customs clearance, fuel, avionics work or to collect machinery. A wide range of types such as military, cargo and liaison aircraft would eventually pass through the airport, starting with the delivery flights of several Percival Pembrokes in July 1958, through to the very last visits that were made by C-160 Transalls which finally ceased in September 1985.

Some of the Luftwaffe’s more noteworthy visits included both the first and possibly the only visits ever made to the airport by Nord Noratlas freighters. These aircraft either passed through to clear customs on their way to De Havilland’s at Hatfield, where they would pick up parts for some of their British made aircraft or they would sometimes collect these spares at Southend, with them having been brought in from various manufacturers around the UK. The early-60s would later herald in a number of visits by C-47s, a type that had seemingly replaced the Noratlases on these spares trips. The year 1960 would as an example, see a glut of visits being made by CA+015 to the airport during mid-May and these on-off flights would continue through until 1965.

Needless to say, the 1970s would also witness further interesting visits. On the very last day of January 1975, Southend would get its one and only visit by a HansaJet which brought in a military delegation that was then driven to out to Foulness. The years 1976 to 1978 would also see a small number of visits from other unusual visitors in the form of English Electric Canberras which flew into SEN for avionics work. Jim Brazier recounts one particular visit that occurred on March 6th 1978 “Canberra B.2 99+35 arrived from Cologne-Wahn on its first visit for attention with Marconi. It returned to Cologne at lunchtime on the 8th but was back again by the evening. A test flight was made on the 9th & 10th after which it returned home. A very enthusiastic crew flew a series of beat-ups across the airfield which was followed by lots of noise complaints flooding in from the locals.”

However, it was one type in particular that would end up flying the greatest number of trips into Southend, namely the C-160 Transall. These aircraft had been coming and going since the early 1970s, their primary purpose being to collect and then deliver a large number of Hi-Lo lifters from Avialift to airports and military bases around Germany. The last of these visits finally took place in September 1985 and while the odd Luftwaffe aircraft may have dropped in since then, such visits have mostly gone unrecorded or have been very small in number.

 

Below you will find some examples of recorded Luftwaffe visits to SEN:

3/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – XA+103

4/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – BF+703

10/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – SC+302

23/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – SC+303

29/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – XA+101

30/7/58 – Percival Pembroke – BF+704

15/1/59 – D.H Heron – CA+002

1/8/59 – Nord Noratlas – GB+104

25/5/60 – Nord Noratlas – GB+231

7-9-11 & 12/5/60 – Douglas C-47 – CA+015

26/3/65 – Douglas C-47 – CA+016

27/7/65 – Douglas C-47 – ND+202

15/6/68 – Convair CV-440 – 12+06

24/10/72 – Transall C.160 – 50+79

7/11/72 – Transall C.160 – 50+29

5/12/72 – Transall C.160 – 51+01

7/12/72 – Transall C.160 – 50+81

12/72 – Transall C.160 – 50+79

10/1/73 – Transall C.160 – 50+38

14/10/73 – Transall C.160 – 50+34

5/11/73 – Transall C.160 – 50+65

4/74 – Transall C.160 – 51+06

4/74 – Transall C.160 – 50+77

7/74 – Transall C.160 – 50+51

11/74 – Transall C.160 – 50+34

1/75 – Transall C.160 – 50+86

2/75 – HFB Hansajet – 16+03

7/76 – E.E Canberra – D-9566

/76 – Transall C.160 – 50+33

10/76 – E.E Canberra – D-9566

7/77 – E.E Canberra – 99+35

9/77 – Dornier Do28 – 59+03

12/77 Dornier Do28 – 59+02

6-10/3/78 – E.E Canberra – 99+35

10/78 – Transall C.160 – 50+93

11/78 – Transall C.160 – 50+66

11/4/79 – Transall C.160 – 50+56

12/4/79 – Transall C.160 – 50+50

12/4/79 – Transall C.160 – 50+61

3/5/82 – Dornier Do28 – 59+17

3/5/82 – Dornier Do28 – 59+21

29/7/85 – Transall C.160 – 51+00

9/9/85 – Transall C.160 – 51+00

 

Do you have any other, interesting snippets of information about this air force’s SEN history or indeed, any pictures that you would like to share? If so, then please contact us on saadinfomail@gmail.com

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.