Bye bye "Mitch"...Welcome "Grat"...

Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures : Serge Van Heertum collection © sbap 2011


After the war, in 1947 the base was rebuilt and expanded to serve as a jet-fighter base. On December 1st, 1950 the 7th Fighter Wing, equipped with the Gloster Meteor, was stationed at Chièvres and joined a year later by the 10th Fighter Wing operating Spitfire XIV. After conversion to the F84E Thunderjet, the 10th Wing left Chièvres air base in 1953 for Kleine Brogel in Limburg.

In June 1956 the 7th Wing converted to the Hawker Hunter Mk. 4, and two years later to the Hunter F6. In 1963, the 7th Wing was disbanded, and on December 31st, 1967 the Belgian authorities officially turned over Chièvres Airbase to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

The airshow held on June 23rd, 1963 was the last international meeting before the disbandment of the 7th Wing as consequence the last year of the “Red Devils” on Hunter aircraft. After a period of incredible development the Belgian air Force begins to undergo restructuring and air base closure…As everybody know Chièvres was not the last one to be abandoned!

Back to the golden years and the international airshow of 1963…enjoy!


The program of the day: The youngsters magazine "Spirou" was involved as partner. See the main picture with "Buck Danny" and "Spirou" himself

Low level you said?
Meteor F.8 Towing Flight Koksijde
Cdt Raymond Van Keymeulen

Opening by the 7th Wing Hunter Lead: Cdt Hervé Donnet

Patrouille de France
Potez CM170 Fouga Magister
Leader Cpt Henri Chapus

Piaggio P.166 Macchi MB 326

Avro Canada CF-100 Mk V "Canuck"
Maj Bill Ongena
1st Wing CF-100 "Canuck". Leader Cpt D. Lorriers
English Electric Canberra B8  RAF 213 Sqn
Gloster Javelin 9  RAF 5th Sqn Handley Page "Victor"  RAF 10th Sqn
Potez CM 170 Fouga Magister  EPA Brustem
Lt Col Jan Van de Poel
Air refueling:
Boeing KB 50, North American F-100D "Super Sabre",
Mc Donnell F-101 "Voodoo" & Douglas RB 66 "Destroyer"
Mc Donnell F-101 "Voodoo"
Sikorsky S-58  Cpt Malmedy
Dassault SMB 2  "Super Mystère" B2  esc 1/12 Cambrai. Lead: Cpt Maerten Alouette II  Leader Cpt Geeraerts
Sikorsky CH 37A "Mojave" C-119G  CP28 preparing for paradrop
Assault paradrop Black Devils team
The "Red Pelicans"
Jet Provost T.4  RAF Central flying School Little Rissington
Leader Flt Lt Ian Bashall
Canadair CL 41R  Grop Cpt Everard
Breguet "Alizé"  French Navy Nîmes-Garon
Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" 2nd Tactical Wing Florennes
Lead Maj Hubert
Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" 10th Tactical Wing Kleine Brogel
Lead Maj Tordeur
Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" FU 04 At taxi for JATO take Off Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" solo display Cpt José Marette
Lockheed TF-104G and Fiat G.91 Luftwaffe
English Electric P1B "Lightning" display Flt Lt Bee from Coltishall
Dassault "Mirage" IIIC display Cdt Descamps from Colmar
Lockheed F-104G "Starfighter" display Maj Marcel Legrand 350 Sqn Beauvechain First public presentation of the brand new aircraft
The "Red Devils" Hawker Hunter F.6  Lead : Maj Ivan Deprins The last year of the team due the closure of the Wing
Four ship cross!  Very low...isn't it? National colours to close the 1963 airshow
Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" 10th Tactical Wing
Lead: Cdt Degroof
See also the YouTube video from Mister Spencer Rasson :
(Click on picture)

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