HERITAGE

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.

Timeline

1938 1938
1939 1939
June 1940 June 1940
July 1940 July 1940
10th July 1940 10th July 1940
19th August 1940 19th August 1940
September 1940 September 1940
1941 1941
1941/42 1941/42
1944 1944
1945 1945
1945-47 1945-47
1947 1947
1950 1950
1950 1950
1951 1951
1956-57 1956-57
1957-1964 1957-1964
1950s/60s 1950s/60s
1950s/60s
1959-74 1959-74
1967 1967
1970s 1970s
1972 1972
1974 1974
1983 1983
1987 1987
1989 1989
1990
1992
1993 1993
1997 1997
2006 2006
2009
2010 2010
2012 2012
2013 2013

1938

Plans for the airfield were announced – the site was a large flat potato field

1939

“Expansion Period” Standard Function Airfield built originally as bomber base. First named Scottow and later called Coltishall due to the railway station.

June 1940

Changed to fighter station, opened in June with the arrival of Supermarine Spitfires, followed by Hawker Hurricanes

July 1940

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.

September 1940

Coltishall defends coastline and convoys; WAAFs were recruited to work in the operations room

1941

255 Squadron formed as the first night fighter squadron armed with Bristol Beaufighters

1941/42

Coltishall defends raids on military targets in Norfolk as well as raids on Norwich.

1944

Grass runways reinforced with steel matting

1945

End of WW2 – Coltishall destroyed 207 enemy aircraft, with 48 “probables” and more than 100 damaged

1945-47

Coltishall handed to Polish airforce to house displaced planes and pilots

1947

Coltishall returned to RAF as a night-fighter station with De Havilland Mosquito Aircraft

1950

Main runway realigned and rebuilt as an asphalt runway

1950

Coltishall switches to jets with the arrival of De Havilland Vampires

1951

Mosquitoes replaced by De Havilland Venom and Gloster Meteors for night fighting

1956-57

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.

1957-1964

Gloster Javelins stationed at Coltishall

1950s/60s

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.

1950s/60s

Concrete stands constructed at each end of the runway to accommodate V-Bombers

1959-74

English Electric Lightnings based at Coltishall – at the peak there were 42 on site

1967

RAF Coltishall granted freedom of the city of Norwich

1970s

“Yarnold Shelters” built to counter terrorist attack – one still present at site entrance

1972

Runways resurfaced

1974

Lightnings leave and Sepecat Jaguars arrive

1983

Sea King Helicopters deployed from Coltishall to Falklands War

1987

Concorde Lands at Coltishall

1989

Fall of Berlin Wall – starts the path to the end of the Cold War

1990

Jaguars deployed to 1st Gulf War in “Operation Granby” arriving within a few days of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd

1992

Base saved from closure during defence cuts

1993

Jaguars deployed in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War

1997

Runway resurfaced

2006

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

2009

Site passed to Ministry of Justice with airmen’s quarters turned into HMP Bure

2010

Memorial garden is dedicated

2012

Site is bought by Norfolk County Council

2013

Scottow Enterprise Park is established