A ROYAL Canadian Air Force squadron has returned to RAF Leeming more than 70 years after using it as a base during World War Two.

A crew from 405 Squadron (RCAF) flew in to the base to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior – a multinational operation involving the Navy, Air Force and Army from the UK and visiting units from Allied nations.

Ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops simulated battles at sea, in the air and on land in an area which stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.

Exercise Joint Warrior took place from Monday, October 6 to Friday, October 17.

The crew from 405 Sqn was based at the North Yorkshire airbase for the duration of the exercise. It was the first time it had returned to RAF Leeming since 1943 when it flew Halifax's as part of No.6 Bomber Command.

Now flying the CP-140 Aurora, the squadron provided maritime air support to the exercise, flying at night as they did during World War Two.

In honour of their shared history, RAF Leeming Station Commander Group Captain Steve Reeves was presented with a piece of artwork by the Canadian squadron.

The artist, Master Corporal Mark ‘Edge’ Ejdrygiewicz, who is also a keen historian, said: “It’s a bit of a trip back in history.

“ It’s kind of eerie to see some of the same old buildings, same run ups and same town and it’s good to see the same great spirit from people too. It’s one heck of a trip, that’s for sure.

“The exercise has been a great opportunity. We don’t really get a chance to get out and practice with so many other countries and groups to see different ways of working, and to do it in this environment is fantastic.”

Gp Capt Reeves said: “It’s fantastic to have so many countries here representing the coalition as part of Exercise Joint Warrior.

“It’s important that we train together as we might have to fight together. That bond to the history of the base and 405 Sqn is particularly important – having a unit that served here for some time during WWII is particularly poignant and it’s fantastic to have them back here.”

RAF Leeming was also host to aircraft and crew from the US and France taking part in the exercise. Joint Warrior involved more than 3,000 personnel from across 16 nations.