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Visiting Norwich, Norfolk, England; remembering the Jaguar warplanes formerly in its skies: Norfolk County Hall display

Updated on May 6, 2013
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk
Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk | Source
Commemorative plaque, Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk
Commemorative plaque, Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk | Source
Commemorative plaque, Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk
Commemorative plaque, Jaguar display, Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, Norfolk | Source
Map location of Norwich, Norfolk
Map location of Norwich, Norfolk | Source

'The close relationship between Norfolk and the Royal Air Force'

Situated at Norfolk County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich in England's county of Norfolk, this impressive airframe is of a Jaguar GR1.

The Jaguar GR1 was an Anglo-French project, jointly produced by France's Breguet company and the British Aircraft Corporation, which prepared this airframe for its first flight at Warton. In subsequent decades, the joint international design and production of European military airplanes with cross-border participation of various companies, has become more common.

This particular airframe XW563 first flew in 1970. The type served at Royal Air Force Coltishall, Norfolk from 1974, until withdrawn in recent years.

This airframe display has an interesting history. It has stood at its current location since 2007. Previously it stood at the entrance to Royal Air Force Coltishall (1), Norfolk, which, since World War Two until its closure in recent years, was the base for many different airplane types which operated from there, including the Jaguar.

Intriguingly maybe, this airframe's display history did not start at RAF Coltishall, either. Previously again, the airframe was on display in Germany at RAF Br├╝ggen, from 1985 until 2001.

It is interesting also that the same officer presided over its display unveiling at both RAF Coltishall and again at Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, several years later.

In September 2001, Group Captain C N Harper, Station Commander at RAF Coltishall, declared the airframe open for display at the entrance to the base.

Then in June 2007, after the airframe was moved to Norfolk County Hall, Norwich, C N Harper, by then an Air Vice Marshall and holder of a CBE (2), unveiled it jointly with Patrick T. Hacon, Chaiman of Norfolk County Council. Such a familiar sight were Jaguar airplanes over the county over a number of decades that its new location at Norfolk County Hall and its unveiling by these prominent personalities is cited as being 'in recognition of the close relationship between Norfolk and the Royal Air Force'.

Commemorative plaques give something of the history of the Jaguar, not only as an airplane type but also as a display airframe.

May 6, 2013


(1) During the Cold War, RAF Coltishall, now closed, served a frontline base; with the end of the Cold War, a thoroughgoing reassessment of airbase needs was undergone, and military aviation in the skies of Norfolk has become visibly different also. Prior to the introduction of the Jaguar at RAF Coltishall, the English Electric Lightning interceptor was based there.

(2) CBE: British honour denoting Commander of the British Empire.

Also worth seeing

In Norwich itself, among the numerous visitor attractions are: Norwich Cathedral; Bishop Bridge; Pull's Ferry; Cow Tower; Norwich Castle; Norwich City Hall; the Guildhall; Elm Hill; and many others; at the City Library there is the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, of the USAAF's 8th Air Force.

Thorpe Abbots (distance: 34 kilometres) has a museum dedicated to the USAAF 100th Bomb Group.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Norwich is served by rail from London Liverpool Street Station. Norwich is 233 kilometers from Heathrow Airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please consult with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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