Changing of the guard at RAF Coltishall

Another chapter in the RAF Coltishall story closed as the symbolic hurricane model that stands guard at the entrance was dismantled and moved to pastures new.

Another chapter in the RAF Coltishall story closed yesterday as the symbolic hurricane model that stands guard at the entrance was dismantled and moved to pastures new.

The plane, a replica of the one aviation hero Douglas Bader flew, represented the base's vital role in the Battle of Britain.

Station spokesman Mick Jennings said: "The hurricane is Coltishall. It symbolises all our work, the fact that we're the last Battle of Britain station and all the heritage that comes with it."

The fibreglass model, which has been on display since 1989, was positioned just behind the gatehouse to the base, as a reminder of its glorious second world war past.

Yesterday however it flew off to do gate "duties" at Strike Command headquarters.

First the hurricane was lifted by specialist team from the pole it was attached to, and lowered onto the ground by a crane. Officers then began the tricky task of unscrewing the bolts connecting the wings to the fuselage, before loading them all on to a trailer for transportation to their new home in High Wycombe.

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However because of the 11ft tail, the fuselage is classed as a wide load and will take slightly longer to join up with the rest of its body.

But not everyone was pleased to see the plane leave. Don Juler, 84, who helped build the base and knew Douglas Bader, was there to witness the plane's dismantling.

He said: "I saw the first spitfire come in and the last jaguar fly out and I felt I had to be here today to see the hurricane go.

" It's a very sad day indeed."

There are hopes however that its gate guardian wing-mate the jaguar will be kept in Norfolk as part of a Coltishall heritage collection at RAF Neatishead.