The Former RAF Coltishall Tour - 31st March 2015
Click to see photos in the Gallery
On a very windy Tuesday morning some members left for Scottow from Longwater Lane Retail Park, while others met at Roys Motors depending on which was closest to where they lived. Arriving by the main gate, we were met by some members from the “Spirit of Coltishall Association” and someone from Norfolk County Council, as the former RAF Coltishall is all tied up with the Bure Business Centre with various commercial ventures such as Sugar, Solar energy, Bure Prison, Filming and a Police Training hanger etc. Because of these restrictions we had to stick to certain areas but still had a very interesting tour.
Starting in the Sergeants Mess we had a look at the bar and other areas which was almost as it had been left in 2006. The lights and wallpaper were all still there. It was then on to the Medical Building where there is a Dentist Room with a dental light, sinks and cupboards still there but without the chair. There was also a small medical area for minor injuries etc but this was empty of any equipment.
Next was the Station HQ with various offices such as the meteorological office, Station Commander and Administration offices. In the main door there are leaded windows and wooden flooring. These offices were also empty. We then had a look where the engines of the Specat Jaguars (Rolls Royce Adour Mark 102, Mark 104 and Mark 106) were maintained and stored. Other buildings would have had survival gear, parachutes which would hang drying and rigging building etc in this area.
Later we had a look in the Control Tower, now sadly looking out to solar panels one way and the hangers the other. It still brought back memories of the former airfield with its Jaguars and visiting aircraft. All the equipment had been taken away, but it still had a great view of the nearby surrounding area. While in here the guides gave us some leaflets and membership forms of the “Spirit of Coltishall Association”, the Coltishall tour and the Radar Museum at Neatishead.
The hangers were off limits this day, but I have a few photos taken from last September of the inside of the hangers when the base was open to the public on the Heritage Tour. Next it was on to the World War II Fighter Revetment, where two fighters would sit and where there was also a hut for the ground crew and equipment. The Association is hoping to turn this into an education area with information boards on the walls telling the story of fighter aircraft other than the usual Spitfires and Hurricanes that were based here.
We later stopped at the end of Runway 22 and could imagine aircraft either taking off or landing here. Further around we passed where a lot of enthusiasts and spotters used to watch the aircraft at Scottow, including myself. We also saw the bomb dump, and where they held various shelters for armament and electronics.
Later we thanked our guides and handed each a mug. On leaving one guide stayed and showed us the RAF Coltishall Memorial Stone, which was created by the Ministry of Justice in 2010. This is by The Douglas Bader School. On the green were six cherry trees and a bench with each squadron’s plaque on. This was the first time I have seen this and hopefully I will give it another visit when there is something on. He then took us to The Goat Inn at Skeyton where we had a meal, a drink and a chat. It would be great if the guides could come to our next talk about the Jaguar in April which we told them about. Many thanks go to them for an interesting tour and to Peter for the organising and driving.

Andrew Elphick

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