Tag Archives: Norfolk

The Spirit of Coltishall

Dispersal

The Spirit of Coltishall Association is an aptly-named group of people whose aim is to keep alive just that. Having served at the RAF airfield, they consider it to have been one of the friendliest stations they experienced in their various RAF careers, something with which my father would  have concurred. Though he was only there for a number of weeks, the name ‘Coltishall’ was quite familiar to us, but we couldn’t think why. Having visited and met these lovely people, and seen the site, I am beginning to understand that ‘the spirit of Coltishall’ is indeed a happy one. The place is remembered with affection and pride, and now that it has been sold off, this small group of enthusiasts represents an unofficial guardian of the site and the memory of those who served here.

And it is a special site. It was finally vacated three years ago, and is now in the care of the borough and county councils, but its future is being decided carefully and gradually, and the Spirit of Colishall Association are consulted at every stage.  The wartime hangars, control tower, runways, officers and sergeants mess – in fact a whole siteful of buildings – are all intact.

coltishall2web

Especially impressive is the existence of wartime revetments, or aircraft dispersal bays. These were where the aircraft were scattered around the site in concrete enclosures, cleverly placed so that enemy aircraft could not hit more than one in a single run. Two aircraft would have been parked here in back-to-back double bays, with their own air raid shelter and a dispersal hut where airmen would lounge around ready to scramble. Discarded tea cups have been found in the ground here, dropped when the call came. The walls of the bays are remarkable.Coltishall1web

They made me think of the walls of Machu Pichu, as their stones are rounded and fit closely, curving into one another. These are not stones, however, but sandbags mixed with concrete, that set into each other to form this beautiful wall. I am very glad that the Spirit of Colishall Association is here to guard them for the future.

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RAF Coltishall days remembered in the Eastern Daily Press

An article appears today in the EASTERN DAILY PRESS about Flight Lieutenant Bryan Wild’s memoirs of his time in East Anglia with 26 Squadron from October 1944 to June 1946.

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ on AMAZON UK CLICK HERE

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ ON AMAZON WORLDWIDE CLICK HERE

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ from the publishers FONTHILL MEDIA CLICK HERE

 Sophie Wyllie interviewed me over the Christmas holidays, and asked particularly what it was like to read my father’s diaries for the first time:

Mrs Halls, 56, from Herefordshire, said reading his diaries was like meeting her father when he was in his 20s.

She said: “Diary entries are very different to how people present themselves. It was quite extraordinary reading my father’s diary. When I was growing up he never talked about the war. When I read the diaries I felt as though I was with him in the cockpit.

“He was young and adored flying aircraft. The RAF was a family for him.”

Before arriving in Norfolk, Flt Lt Wild flew with 46 Squadron from Egypt and Cyprus between 1943 and 1944.

While at Coltishall between October 10 and October 27, 1944, he flew Mosquitos which he described as breathtaking.

“He liked East Anglia, its pubs and friendly local people. He was very happy there,” Mrs Halls added.

Read the whole article HERE

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