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Unit History: RAF Goose Bay

RAF Goose Bay
Goose Bay, affectionately known as "The Goose", is located in Canada’s far north.
The site for the base was selected in the summer of 1941 by Eric Fry, who was on loan to the Royal Canadian Air Force from the Canadian Department of Mines and Resources, and was approved by the Canadian Government shortly thereafter. To bring men and supplies to the site dock facilities were built at Terrington Basin, which is located at the western end of Goose Bay. Construction of the base progressed rapidly and by November 16, 1941 three 7,000 foot runways were completed. On December 9th of that year, the first military aircraft landed at the base. By 1942 there were 1,700 service personnel and 700 civilians at the base, and in 1943 the airport there was the largest in the world. The base, which had been built by the Canadian Government as part of its contribution to the war effort, was also shared by the United States and Great Britain. It was used as a refueling and shuttle stop for overseas flights throughout the war. In the twelve-month period ending in September 1945 the airfield handled over 24,000 aircraft.  It also served as a maritime patrol base.   The town of Happy Valley developed in 1943 to house the workers who came to build the Air Base
    The Americans remained at Goose Bay after the war. In 1950 it became part of the Northeast Air Command
The Melville Radar Station. was finished in November 1954. The unit which was perched atop a prominent hill six miles northwest of the airfield, was a totally self contained facility with fire/rescue, messes, quarters and even a bowling alley. The USAF’s 641st AC&W Squadron, part of Pepperrell AFB, St. John’s, Newfoundland based 64th Air Division (Defense), took up residence the same month. NEAC was deactivated 1 April 1957 and replaced by the 64th Air Division; however, all NEAC assets were split up between Strategic Air Command and Air Defense Command.  The base was also used by the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.). The radar station at Goose Bay was an integral part of the North American Air Defense Command.
Today the base house Canadian forces, but also four others, earning it the distinction of the 5 Wing Goose Bay.  There are wings from Britain’s Royal Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Italian Aeronautic Militare.Goose Bay has one of the world’s longest runways (11,046 feet.)  It is long enough to accommodate the space shuttle and is a NASA designated emergency landing site for space shuttle flights.

Memories of RAF Goose Bay

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

RAF Goose Bay in 1959

Written by Gwynne Rhys-Jones

Watching the first snows winter rolling over the base
Looking out for the " V " bombers arriving on their way through the states
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Active From: 1941 - Present

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