Dr Keith Thomas very kindly did some research for me on the web and came
up with the following information:
Jever airfield was four Kilometres south of Jever town [ 53.52 N 07.53E]
and 7 metres [ 24 feet above sea level]. The airfield was started in 1935 and
became operational in 1936 with Coastal Fighter Group 136 flying He 51's and
later Ju 87b, but its contact with the RAF came after the Polish incursion and
they brought back Messerschmitt Bf 110's and 109's.
It was from Jever that Wolfgang Flack flew his BF110'c Zerstörer taking
out the Wellingtons heading for Bremen, he didn't get it all his own way and
came down on Wangerooge. Why mention him? The quote is that he was the most
influential Luftwaffe officer of the World War 2 ...there is a book about him
and he went on to be a night fighter. He wasn't long at Jever.
In the book "The First and the Last" by Adolf Galland 'The rise and fall
of the Luftwaffe - by Germany's greatest fighter pilot', there is a report that
Galland was charged with providing fighter cover for the dash of the three capital
ships, Gneisnau, Scharnhorst, and Prinz Eugen from Brest to Norway starting on 11th
February 1942. He didn't have enough aircraft, as many had been sent east, so he
had them hopping along the Channel coast in shifts to provide a constant 'umbrella'
over the flotilla. His last airfield, covering the German Bight, was Jever!
Here is an interesting extract from the story of Alfred Fane, a reconnaissance
Spitfire pilot involved in tracking the Tirpitz:
"After a distance of 1,180 miles and a flight time of five hours 20 minutes,
Alfred landed at Wick to be rushed off to Operations where he reported what
he had seen after which, and in his words, there was "a flap" from Group, Coastal
Command and the Admiralty.
The Tirpitz now became the priority. Alfred flew another successful sortie
on 2 February and Flt Lt Tony Hill did the same on 15 February but by now the
Luftwaffe had to do something to stop these missions from being carried out with
impunity, especially when the battleship Prinz Eugen, damaged by a mine on
12 February 1942 during the breakout of German warships from Brest, arrived at
Trondheim. Hauptmann Fritz Losigkeit, an experienced fighter pilot who had just
returned from Japan, was told to form Jagdgruppe Losigkeit, the three Staffel being
formed from 8/Jagdgeschwader 1, 2/Jagdgeschwader 1 and the operational elements of
Jagdgfliegerschule 1 and 2. Getting to Trondheim was made hard by the weather-they
left Jever in northern Germany 15 February via Esbjerg and Aalborg in Denmark and
then Gardermoen in Norway, not arriving at Trondheim until 24 February which
coincided with the arrival of the Prinz Eugen and Admiral Scheer. The presence of
more German warships soon attracted the RAF's attentions as one German pilot,
Leutnant Heinz Knoke recorded in his diary on 26 February 1942:
'At 1312 hrs our sound detectors along the coast report the approach of
a single enemy aircraft coming in at high speed. A reconnaissance?'
'At 1315 hrs, I take off from the airfield alone. I am determined to get
the bastard. I climb to an altitude of 25,000 feet. Our patrol already in the
air is ordered to continue circling above the cruiser Prinz Eugen.'
"Repeatedly I scan the skies for the intruder. There is not a Tommy to be
seen. Reports from the ground are lacking in precision. They are no value to me
as they are too vague. After 85 minutes I give up and land again."
Knoke had tried to intercept a sortie flown by Fg Off Edward Lee whose objective
was Bergen and Haugesund but Lee only managed to cover Stavanger, some distance
Jever airfield was literally carved out of the surrounding forest. The local
rumours claimed that, as it was only a grass airfield during the war, it was
very difficult to recognise from the air and that it was never bombed or even
discovered by the RAF.
Keith says he had the same information as me that suggested that the
airfield was handed over intact at the end of the conflict, it was not apparently
recognised for what it was but Keith's next door neighbour in Beethoven Strasse
was Vic Azzaro and he recollected being attacked while flying over Jever.
Translation from the German introduction to the RAF Jever Open Day 6th June
1959 by Air Chief Marshal Sir Humphrey Edwardes Jones KCB; CBE; DFC; AFC; RAF
Commander-in-Chief, 2nd Tactical Air Force (Germany):
"An airfield for light recreational aircraft from the middle of the
1920s to 1935, an operating base for the Luftwaffe from 1935 to 1945 and today,
a fighter base for the Royal Air Force within the NATO defence system - these
are the three development periods of Jever airfield.
After the first World War the Focke-Wulf Works in Bremen had a small sports
airfield built on the edge of the Upjever forest. This was occupied by seven
light sporting planes. The Luftwaffe took the airfield over in 1935 and within
a year extended it by felling a large part of the Jever forest to form a fighter
base. Hangars, quarters, a hospital, and underground aviation fuel dump sprang
up in quick succession, so that on 1st May 1936 General Mulch was able to hand
over the airfield in working order to the 1st Commanding Officer, Hauptmann
In June 1937 Jever airfield was manned by a fighter wing with three
In September 1939, Me 109s and Me 110s were stationed at Jever. They flew
their first sorties against 22 Wellington bombers, which planned an attack on
German ships off Schillig and Wilhelmshaven.
In 1943 additional Ju 52s came to Jever. These were used as mine detectors.
Towards the end of the war the Me 109 and Me 110 fighters were withdrawn from Jever
and replaced by Ju 188 night fighters.
The Luftwaffe had not extended the airfield any further and when the English
took it over they used it as an auxiliary base at first.
Between 1945 and 1951 the airfield was garrisoned by Poles, Canadians, Danes
and Jewish immigrants."