The RCAF station at Zweibrucken was ready for No 3 (F) Wing in the spring of 1953. Personnel began arriving early that year. For example, a group of four officers, three corporals and 20 men of 427 Squadron arrived on 10 March 1953 by train from Paris. But the vagaries of weather over the North Atlantic delayed Leapfrog 3, and the early birds could well have enjoyes a few more days in "gay Paris". By April 4 there was word that 43 of 46 Sabres had made it into Kinloss.
Three days ;ater, on 7 April 1953, there was a near-disaster at Zweibrucken when A/V/M Hugh Campbell's Expeditor crashed on take-off. The aircraft (no. 1522) had just departed for Paris with F/L R Gooder the captain and F/L W Unrugh navigating. Besides the AOC, other passengers were Air Commodore Hodson, G/C Cox, and W/C Ashman. Both engines quit shortly after departure, and the wreck was soon located in an orchard near Boechweiler. It was a disasterous scene to those who first arrived to help. The plane was in pieces, but no fire had started. All aboard were badly injured but survived. This was hardly an auspicious for Zweibrucken! The crash was traced to water in the fuel.
On 6 April 1953, Leapfrog 3 finally got into Zweibrucken - Nos. 413. 427 and 434 Squadrons. After the gruelling month-long crossing from St. Hubert, the pilots were given a well-earned few days leave. Soon though, it was down to work. In 427's case, flying commenced on 15 April. On 26 April the station was officially handed over to the RCAF by its previous tennants, the French.
Many 3 Wing dependents arrived at Le Havre on 22 June aboard the "SS Atlantic".
Updated: July 5, 2004