RNLNAS Patch Netherlands Naval Aviation 320 Squadron Crew 15 P 3
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RNLNAS Patch Netherlands Naval Aviation 320 Squadron Crew 15 P 3

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RNLNAS Patch Netherlands Naval Aviation 320 Squadron Crew 15 Flying Suit Patch 1980s P 3 Orion De Kooy Naval Air Station embroidered on twill merrowed edge 112mm by 100mm four and three eighth inches by four inches. 

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Netherlands Naval Aviation Service Marine Luchtvaartdienst MLD is the naval aviation branch of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The main roles of the MLD were maritime patrol anti submarine warfare and SAR search and rescue.

320 Squadron was formed on 1 June 1940 as an RAF Squadron under RAF Coastal Command at RAF Pembroke Dock South Wales from Dutch airman and Dutch civilians wishing to serve who had escaped from occupied Holland. Operating initially as a training flight the unit was upgraded to Squadron status to carry out convoy patrols and anti-shipping operations over the North Sea moving to RAF Lechars in 1941 RAF Bircham Newton 1942 RAF Attlebridge and RAF Lasham 1943 and RAF Dunsfold 1944 moving across the Channel to Zaventem Brussels later in 1944
and Achmer Osnabruch Germany in before returning to RAF Lasham in 1945. The Squadron returned to Holland on 1 April 1946 but was disbanded only a month later in May 1946.

320 Squadron reactivated at Valkenburg Naval Air Station on 22 March 1949 with Mitchells Sea Otters Oxfords and Austers for maritime patrol
and SAR operations off the Dutch coast. PV 2 Harpoons were received on 1 September 1951 and the Squadron proved very effective during the Zeeland flooding in 1953. 320 Squadron began conversion to P2V-5 Neptunes in December 1953. The squadron reequipped with SP 2E Trackers in 1960 for a short period before receiving 321 Squadrons P2V 7 Neptunes on its disbandment. Squadron patrols extended to Hato Air Base on the Dutch Antilles and on 1 August 1974 320 Squadron established a permanent detachment at Hato. In March 1974 the Squadron formed a flight of four target-towing US 2N Trackers which were operated until 30 September 1975.

320 and 321 Squadron equipped with fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft stationed at Valkenburg Naval Air Station NAS were known as the Airplane Group while the other MLD Squadrons 7 and  860 Squadron equipped with helicopters and stationed in De Kooy NAS and on ships and were known as the Helicopter Group  This was formalized on 1 July 1977 when the Netherlands Naval Aviation Service MLD was split into two sections MARPAT Maritime Patrol controlling 320 and 321 Squadrons fixed wing Orion patrol aircraft while MARHELI Maritime Helicopters controlling 7 and 860 Squadrons.

Although 320 Squadrons Neptunes were originally scheduled for retirement in January 1976 they remained in operational use until the arrival of P 3C II 5 Orions in July 1982 which all stayed with the Squadron until 1989 when the Maritime Patrol Group MARPAT pooled the aircraft under it
to be drawn down as required for use by 320 and 321 Squadrons.  

With the end of the Cold War and the reduced Soviet submarine threat the Dutch Government decided to end fixed wing maritime patrolling inactivating MARPAT and disbanding 320 Squadron on 14 January 2005 and NAS Valkenburg was closed.



This patch dates from the 1980s




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