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alex crawford 30th September 2020 13:47

Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61

During Frances ongoing conflict in Algeria a number of NF11s were used by Escadrille de Chasse de Nuit 1/71. The Meteors were used for intercepting light aircraft and helicopters that were bringing arms and equipment over the Tunisian border at night. The Meteors came from the Center d'Instruction des Equipages Tout-Temps (CITT 346). So far I have been able to identify four of them. NF.11-19 346-QC, NF.11-41 346-QN, NF.11 346 QG and NF.11 346 QM.

It's a long shot but would anyone know where I can find any further info on ECN 1/71? I've tried the Armee de l'Air Museum but no joy. There may have been 1-2 French aviation magazine articles but I'v not been able to track any down.

Any help appreciated.


Stig Jarlevik 30th September 2020 19:15

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Hi Alex

Do you specifically mean aircraft which were used on intercept duties, or do you mean aircraft which were on general loan (the French used the word "detaché" which prob mean detached) to the unit?

I have a full list of aircraft detached, but no knowledge on special missions and so on.

ECN 1/71 was formed in September 1958 based at Tébessa from October 1st. It seems it also had some aircraft at Bône and Biskra. It initially equipped with some MD.315R and B-26 but from September 1959 also received the NF.11 from CITT 346.
I have no details of any successful interceptions, so I am inclined to believe none was actually made...
In May 1962 the Escadrille was "upgraded" to Escadre status and at the same time returned to France (Reims). It was reported as being based at Bône at the time, so probably it moved its main assets into that base at some point.
It was finally disbanded on 31 August 1962


Alex Smart 1st October 2020 21:51

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Hello Alex,
I don't know if this is what you are looking for but just in case -
From "Led Avions Britanniques Aux Couleurs Franchises"

346 - QA. NF11-16*
346 - QB. NF11-17
346 - QC. NF11-19
346 - QD. NF11-26
346 - QE. NF11-29
346 - QF. NF11-31
346 - QG. NF11-33
346 - QH. NF11-34*
346 - QI. NF11-36*
346 - QJ. NF11-37*
346 - QK. NF11-38*
346 - QL. NF11-39*
346 - QM NF11-40
346 - QN. NF11-41

* appareils utilises par l'Escadron de Chases de unit I/71.
346 - QM non confirme

I expect that you have the RAF serial numbers of the NF11's sold to France, but just in case I found the following
WM153; 164; 235; 243; 265;266; 267; 268; 269; 270; 292; 293(F-ZABO); 294; 295; 296; 297; 298; 299; 300;
301; 302; 307; 363; 365; 368; 369; 370; 371.
WD619; 628; 631; 655; 669; 674; 683; 698; 701; 756; 783.
Also WM242; 255 and WD649; 652; 780. TT.20's built as NF11's.


alex crawford 3rd October 2020 21:50

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Hi Stig and Alex,

Thank you for your replies. It's nice to be back.

Any details on the Meteors that were detached to Algeria is of interest. I am also of the opinion that they did not carry out any successful interceptions. They were considered to be too fast for stooging around the mountains at night, plus their high fuel consumption gave then a small endurance range.

Many thanks for the serials. I have read that six were used but only found details for four, although 1-2 NF12s and NF14s may have been used as well.

I have seen a photo of NF11-41 in formation with a A-26 and MD.315 plus another one of NF11-19 on a runway in Algeria. So there may hve been more than 6 NF11s used.


Stig Jarlevik 4th October 2020 00:53

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Indeed Alex

The Meteor cannot be classified as the ideal night fighter, especially not at low altitude.
The following NF.11 are recorded as having been in service with ECN 1/71
NF11-16 346 QA
NF11-19 346-QC
NF11-29 346-QE
NF11-31 346-QF
NF11-34 346-QH
NF11-35 346-QI
NF11-37 346-QJ
NF11-38 346-QK
NF11-41 346-QN (the one on the photograph alright)

As always there is the odd photo, which is somewhat a spanner in the wheel, showing NF11-38 actually coded with a single 'Z' on the tail, saying it was in use with ECN 1/71 at Biskra, Algeria Nov 1960. Not a single Meteor is known to have reached as high as Z in their codes, so it is a mystery

My data are from Jean-Pierre Verret (except the photo which is later)

I have no idea from where Jean-Jacques Petit has got his info from, but according to other French researchers he is not very reliable, which I cannot verify or deny I'm afraid.


Phil L. 4th October 2020 10:40

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Just for the record, JJ Petit has written an article on the career of the NF.11 with the Franch in Air Fan magazine of November 1989.

Stig Jarlevik 4th October 2020 12:54

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Also for the record then, the book which Alex S and I have by Petit is from 2003

I have no access to what he said in 1989


alex crawford 5th October 2020 22:26

Re: Meteor NF11 over Algeria 1059-61
Hi Stig,

Thank you very much for the additional info. If I come across any further details I will post it here.

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