RCAF Station Marville
RCAF Station Marville was a Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 (RCAF) station located near Marville
Marville, Meuse
Marville is a commune in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.An airbase built by NATO hosted fighter squadrons from the RCAF from 1952 to 1967.-Geography:...

 in the Meuse
Meuse is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse.-History:Meuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 department, Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

, northeastern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It was one of four RCAF wings
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

 consisting of three fighter
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 squadrons each, established in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the early 1950s to support the goals of NATO in Europe during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. These wings were part of No. 1 Air Division
RCAF Metz, France
No. 1 Air Division, Royal Canadian Air Force was an organization of Canadian operational fighter aircraft squadrons in Europe in the 1950s and early 1960s during the Cold War. Headquarters were located at Metz, France....

. Two wings were located in France (RCAF Station Marville and RCAF Station Grostenquin
RCAF Station Grostenquin
RCAF Station Grostenquin, also known as 2 Wing or 2 Wing, was a Royal Canadian Air Force station located five km north of the town of Grostenquin in the Moselle department, Lorraine, northeastern France. It was one of four RCAF wings, consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in...

), and two were located in West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 (RCAF Station Zweibrücken and RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen
CFB Baden-Soellingen
Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen or CFB Baden-Soellingen was a Canadian Forces base located near the farming community of Söllingen, part of the municipality of Rheinmünster in the West German state of Baden-Württemberg...



No. 1 Wing, Canada's first NATO fighter wing, was initially located at North Luffenham
RAF North Luffenham
RAF North Luffenham was a Royal Air Force station in Rutland, England, 1940 - 1998. It is near to the villages of Edith Weston and North Luffenham....

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 since its French base was not ready. The first of the wing's three fighter squadrons (all squadrons flying Sabres), No. 410 Squadron
No. 410 Squadron RCAF
410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, nicknamed the "Cougars", is a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft squadron currently located at Canada's primary training base for the CF-18 , at Cold Lake, Alberta...

, arrived at North Luffenham in November, 1951. The squadron and its aircraft, along with those of No. 441 Squadron, were ferried across the Atlantic to Glasgow, Scotland aboard HMCS Magnificent. The personnel of 441 arrived by ocean liner in February, 1952. In May-June 1952, No. 439 Squadron
No. 439 Squadron RCAF
No. 439 Squadron RCAF was a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, formed during World War II.439 Fighter Bomber Squadron was formed on December 31, 1943, at Wellingore, England, incorporating Aircraft and personnel from 123 Army Co-operation Squadron. They spent the war in England, France, Belgium,...

 flew from RCAF Station Uplands via Bagotville
CFB Bagotville
Canadian Forces Base Bagotville , commonly referred to as CFB Bagotville, is a Canadian Forces Base located west of Bagotville in the city of Saguenay, Quebec. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is one of two bases in the country using the CF-18 Hornet...

, Goose Bay
CFB Goose Bay
Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay , is a Canadian Forces Base located in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador....

, Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, in an exercise known as "Operation Leapfrog."

No. 410 and 441 Squadrons left North Luffenham in 1954 for temporary bases in Germany (410 Squadron was relocated to Baden, and 441 to Zweibrücken). They finally arrived at the completed Marville base in 1955. No. 439 Squadron flew directly from North Luffenham to Marville in 1955.

In 1956 four CF-100 squadrons were established in Europe for NATO service. This aircraft had all weather and night operation capabilities. One squadron in each wing was replaced by a CF-100 squadron. At Marville, 445 Squadron replaced 410 Squadron. In 1962, the two remaining sabre squadrons converted to CF-104 Starfighters, as did all the other Air Division Sabre squadrons. The CF-104 supported Canada's new and controversial nuclear
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 strike role since it could be equipped with nuclear weapons. The Starfighter also had a reconnaissance role. No. 445 Squadron was disbanded in December 1962.

NATO bases in France, including Marville, were short-lived. In 1963 the Government of France
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 announced that all nuclear weapons in France were to be placed under French control. This was unacceptable to the RCAF (and other NATO units stationed in France), so the two nuclear strike squadrons at 2 Wing were hastily moved to Zweibrücken and Baden-Soellingen while remaining non-nuclear armed units in France were repositioned to Marville. Marville's two remaining squadrons converted to a strictly reconnaissance role. In March 1966 the Government of France announced that it would be withdrawing its military forces from NATO and that NATO units based in France would have to leave or fall under French command. The RCAF then moved Marville's 439 and 441 Squadrons to Lahr
CFB Lahr
Black Forest Airport is a privately owned and operated commercial airport located in Lahr, Germany. Formerly known as Canadian Forces Base Lahr, or CFB Lahr, the Canadian Forces Base was operated primarily as an air force base, and later as an army base, during the late 1960s. The military base...

in April 1967.

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