As a photographer, I had the opportunity to visit RAF Coltishall Airbase and capture its rich history through my lens. Located 10 miles north-north-east of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia, RAF Coltishall operated from 1939 to 20061.
Work on RAF Coltishall was started in February 1939 and was initially built as a bomber station on land near Scottow Hall1. During its 67 years in service, RAF Coltishall played a role in a number of conflicts, including the Second World War, Cold War, Bosnian War, Gulf War and the Iraq War2.
WW2 Dispersal Areas
Throughout its history, RAF Coltishall was home to a variety of aircraft. During World War II, it was home to Blenheims, Hurricanes and Spitfires. In later years other aircraft were based at Coltishall including Mosquitos, Meteors, Javelins and Lightnings3. From 1963 it was also home to The Historic Aircraft Flight now known as The Battle of Britain Flight3.
The last Lightnings left Coltishall in 1974 and later in the year Coltishall became a Jaguar base with the arrival of No. 54 Squadron. In fact, the Jaguar served at Coltishall without a break for over thirty years3. When Coltishall had its full complement of Jaguars there were four Squadrons: No. 6, No. 16 R, No. 41 and No. 543.
RAF Coltishall finally closed its gates on 30th November 20063.
Runway as it stands today. This is flanked by a solar panel farm, the grass is mown naturally by sheep.
However, its legacy lives on through the photographs and memories of those who served there. Today some of the site is taken up with local businesses, including a solar panel farm on the grassy areas adjacent to the runway with sheep managing the grass. In addition, there is a very nice museum in the guard room with artefacts from the airbase and Jaguar aircraft of the era. They run tours of the site too so well worth a visit.
I hope this blog post gives you a glimpse into the rich history of RAF Coltishall Airbase. As a photographer, it was an honor to capture its story through my images.
Jaguar GR3A aircraft tail number XX119 based at RAF Cosford in markings of 1 SoTT; 238 Sqn.