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RAF Gatow


 Known for most of its operational life as RAF Gatow, this former airfield is in the district of Gatow in south-western Berlin, west of the Havel river, in the borough of Spandau. It is now called General-Steinhoff Kaserne and is home to the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, the Luftwaffe Museum.

Also on the site of the former RAF station, but not part of General-Steinhoff Kaserne, is a school, the Hans-Carossa-Gymnasium, as well as houses for government employees of the Federal Republic of Germany. This part of the former airfield has since 2003 been part of the district of Berlin-Kladow. To read further please click here.

Now a Luftwaffe museum. Any info on this place would be appreciated.



Fliegerhorst Berlin-Gatow. Luftkreigsschule.
Left - These two gentlemen are dressed in their No. 2 dress ready for the parade which was the coronation of Elizabeth II, who was crowned on 2 June 1953. On the rear of the wagons can be seen TAF/2, 1 WING, 23 LAA.
Right - SAC Jacobs standing where Hitler's statue was mounted - 1952/53.
Courtesy of A/C Ray (Bomber) Wells
Berlin Coronation Parade. RAF Regiment. Ray Wells is 2nd from front.
Courtesy of A/C Ray (Bomber) Wells
Barrack blocks - 1963.
Courtesy of Len Moscrop


"RAF Gatow closed at midnight on 31 September 1994. I was an RAF Cpl and scheduled for the final night shift. At 2359 we met back at the Main gate (3 NCOs on shift) and formally handed keys over to Germany Army".


"Having reached back into the old grey cells, and talked to my wife about it I think that that date may be a few days off. The closure date slipped constantly during the summer of 1994 as we went through the various formal parades and stuff. In the end she tells me it was about 7th Setember (which of course ties in with the Wiki entry). Once this date passed most personnel left the unit within days - as quick as they could arrange the rather coursory march outs! My wife and I stayed on for about 2 weeks as she was responsible for the closure of the Dental Centre and the disposal of equipment.
This was an interesting aspect to the departure of British Military from Berlin. Because of the unique way in which Berlin was funded (I'm sure someone can explain it) many items of equipment were purchased from what we just called the Berlin Budget. This meant that we often had excellent items of kit which were unique to the military. From my own recollection our vehicles in the RAF Police were standard VW Combi vans as used by Germain Civil Police which were certainly not used in the rest of West Germany. Many other smaller items such as radios and even the early office computers we were getting were funded in this way. However at the closure of the Berlin Garrison all this equipment which had been funded by the Berlin Budget could not be taken away, it had to be disposed of locally in a series of auction sales which were held in a barracks in the north of Spandau (forget the name but I seem to recall there was a bakery on the site). During the summer and autumn of 94 these auctions were held on a regular basis and lots of excellent kit was sold. We also were able to bid for bits of kit around that base and espectially for all the household stuff from stores. This is how as a newly married chap I left Berlin with 3 beds and lots of cupboards and other such stuff as it was all sold off to anyone that wanted it for a nominal sum. I now have an excellent set of storage cupboards etc in my garage.
We went back in 2003 for a weekend visit and took the attached photos (see below). RAF Gatow is now effectively split into 3 sections. The main gate still gives access to the military section of the camp which as far as I could tell runs directly behind the gate and covers the area arouns the NAAFI shop, Medical Centre, Supply and the quarters next to it and then all the barrack blocks and messes. Past the main gate towards Kladow village an entrance has been opened in the fence to give access to what we refreed to as the Kladow quarters which are now open access and seem to be used by just civilians. The west of the airfield where the Air Movements building was has also been opened to civilians with the building on it of a small business park. The area of the main airfield and the Station Headquarters is now the Luftwaffe Museum. Access is gained by a very small back road from Gatow village to a crash gate directly accross the airfield from the station headquarters. As you can see the airfield is long closed and has a wide selection of old aircraft parked on it. The station headquarters building and the hangar next to it which was used by the AAC are open to look around".


Barry Jackson

Courtesy of Barry Jackson


Courtesy of Barry Jackson