Wroxham & Coltishall

History preserved for community at former RAF base

Just Regional
Jul 19, 2016 2 mins read

The pilots were the ones who were in the spotlight during RAF Coltishall’s long history but this spotlight was turned on those who toiled behind the scenes for the latest historic work at the site.

It was the ground crew who were the focus as dignitaries, Norfolk County Council representatives, including chairman and Elected Member Champion for the Armed Forces David Collis, saw the final restoration of two WW2 fighter pens at the former base.

David Gurney, the council’s historic environment manager, likened the role of the ground crews to the Formula 1 pit stop teams, saying: “Lewis Hamilton is the one people know in the driving seat but behind him are the teams of engineers keeping him on track. It was exactly the same in WW2.”

The pens and an adjacent shed were cleared from the undergrowth in 2012 and a grants of £14,000 were awarded to help restore them. This has included rebuilding of an end wall of the shed with help from the community, a video showing how the pens were used during war and information boards detailing the history.

The project has also involved the Spirit of Coltishall historical group and other members of the forces past and present.

Today’s events included a fly past by a Typhoon and a static display of model Spitfires and Hurricanes by Coltishall Memorial Flight.

Mr Collis said: “We are revisiting history from a services point of view and from a community point of view.

“We have to preserve what we have here and look after it, and encourage more people from the local community to come and have a look.”

Mr Gurney added: “We have this fantastic heritage site in the heart of the community and it has a place in the hearts of the people of Norfolk.”

Work experience students Molly, Tamzin and Liam, from Aylsham High, and Edward, from Broadland High, created this video of the day around the base. See http://bit.ly/2aqq6XE


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