RAF Coltishall’s airbase is consigned to history

The final handful of RAF employees will leave the former RAF Coltishall airbase at the end of the week - and will perform one last important job before they go.

The final handful of RAF employees will leave the former RAF Coltishall airbase at the end of the week - and will perform one last important job before they go.

A small RAF detachment has been at the site since the station officially closed at the end of November, dealing with the final knockings of administration, accounts, the writing of a "closure handbook" and the clearance of explosive ordnance.

They will leave on Saturday.

On Thursday, a ceremony will be held, not at Coltishall, but at the nearby RAF air defence radar museum at Neatishead.

This event will mark the formal opening of the RAF Coltishall Memorial Rooms, where much of the history of the notable battle of Britain station will be held.

The opening will be led by Sqn Ldr Jason Hughes, the 40th and last station commander of RAF Coltishall, and will be his last formal duty before retirement.

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Base historian Mick Jennings explained the thinking behind the memorial rooms being sited at Neatishead, which played its own vital RAF role in the defence of the nation as a radar station and continues to do so on a small scale - a small "remote radar head" remains at the site.

"The RAF Coltishall drawdown team gave careful consideration as to the safe storage and possible display of some of the most important historical artefacts from this famous Battle of Britain station," said Mr Jennings.

The museum at Neatishead was able to provide suitable space, added Mr Jennings.

"It was considered an appropriate home as the two stations had a bond reaching back to 1941.

"RAF Neatishead personnel had always been billeted and enjoyed joint messing at RAF Coltishall, with that station also providing most of the domestic support until its closure in November.

"The fighter controllers from Neatishead controlled many aircraft types based at Coltishall and it was thought important that these 60-plus years of history should be retained on a closely associated location and within Norfolk."

Museum volunteers, Mr Jennings, Warrant Officer John Welton, members of the drawdown team and sponsors Leyland Paints all played their part in the creation of the memorial rooms.

The opening will be carried out in front of invited guests including second world war veterans and members of the drawdown team.