Scottow Enterprise Park is based at the former RAF Coltishall airbase, which operated between 1938 and 2006. RAF Coltishall served as a fighter airfield in the Second World War, and afterwards a station for night fighters.
Due to the nature of the site, and its history, there is a need to build on this past, and capture the spirit of those airmen and women. The legacy should be both aspirational and inspirational.
The Former RAF Coltishall Conservation Area encompasses and protects the full SEP area along with some of its surroundings.
Plans for the airfield were announced – the site was a large flat potato field
“Expansion Period” Standard Function Airfield built originally as bomber base. First named Scottow and later called Coltishall due to the railway station.
Changed to fighter station, opened in June with the arrival of Supermarine Spitfires, followed by Hawker Hurricanes
Douglas Bader took command of 242 Squadron at Coltishall, mainly Canadian pilots. Bader had to increase moral and bring squadron to operational standard.
10th July 1940
A Coltishall Spitfire made the first “Kill” of the Battle of Britain
19th August 1940
Enemy raid bombed and strafed Hangar No. 3 – three local workmen were killed – bullet holes remain today.
Coltishall defends coastline and convoys; WAAFs were recruited to work in the operations room
255 Squadron formed as the first night fighter squadron armed with Bristol Beaufighters
Coltishall defends raids on military targets in Norfolk as well as raids on Norwich.
Grass runways reinforced with steel matting
End of WW2 – Coltishall destroyed 207 enemy aircraft, with 48 “probables” and more than 100 damaged
Coltishall handed to Polish airforce to house displaced planes and pilots
Coltishall returned to RAF as a night-fighter station with De Havilland Mosquito Aircraft
Main runway realigned and rebuilt as an asphalt runway
Coltishall switches to jets with the arrival of De Havilland Vampires
Mosquitoes replaced by De Havilland Venom and Gloster Meteors for night fighting
Runways and Taxiways strengthened and extended. Two groups of Blast walls built and missile storage area added.
The Blast walls now most complete remaining example and are a Designated Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Gloster Javelins stationed at Coltishall
RAF Coltishall was designated a “V-Bomber dispersal airfield” whereby the British nuclear bomber deterrent, the Avro Vulcan, Handley Page Victor and Vickers Valiant could use Coltishall in the event of their home station being damaged. Concrete stands were erected on the runway to accommodate these V-Bombers.
English Electric Lightnings based at Coltishall – at the peak there were 42 on site
RAF Coltishall granted freedom of the city of Norwich
“Yarnold Shelters” built to counter terrorist attack – one still present at site entrance
Lightnings leave and Sepecat Jaguars arrive
Sea King Helicopters deployed from Coltishall to Falklands War
Concorde Lands at Coltishall
Fall of Berlin Wall – starts the path to the end of the Cold War
Jaguars deployed to 1st Gulf War in “Operation Granby” arriving within a few days of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd
Base saved from closure during defence cuts
Jaguars deployed in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War
The base is closed on 30th November after 66 years of continuous service and becomes “Ministry of Defence Coltishall” under the control of the defence estates
The RAF Coltishall site passed to Ministry of Justice, with airmen’s quarters turned into HMP Bure
Memorial garden is dedicated
Site is bought by Norfolk County Council
Scottow Enterprise Park is established