RAF Neatishead

Remote Radar Head Neatishead (/ˈntɪshɛd/ NEE-tis-hed)[3] or RRH Neatishead is an air defence radar station operated by the Royal Air Force. It is located approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north east of Norwich in Norfolk, England.

RRH Neatishead
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Norwich, Norfolk in England
RAF Neatishead - geograph.org.uk - 561973.jpg
Communications masts at RRH Neatishead.
RAF Neatishead radar station crest.jpg
Caelum Tuemur
(Latin for 'We Watch over the Sky')[1]
RRH Neatishead is located in Norfolk
RRH Neatishead
RRH Neatishead
Shown within Norfolk
Coordinates52°42′51″N 001°28′15″E / 52.71417°N 1.47083°E / 52.71417; 1.47083Coordinates: 52°42′51″N 001°28′15″E / 52.71417°N 1.47083°E / 52.71417; 1.47083
TypeRemote Radar Head
Area11 hectares (27 acres)[2]
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Controlled byNo. 1 Group (Air Combat)
Site history
Built1941 (1941)
In use1941 – present
Eventsstolen TPS Radar model 2019
Garrison information
OccupantsRadar Flight (South)

It was established during the Second World War and consists of the main technical site, and a number of remote, and sometimes unmanned sites.


The site was previously known as RAF Neatishead and its primary function was as a "Control and Reporting Centre" (CRC) for the south of the United Kingdom.

Equipment previously located in the base included: Type 7 GCI, AN/FPS-6 height finding radar, Type 80 "Green Garlic" radar, Type 84 radar, Type 85 "Blue Yeoman" radar, 3 Decca (later Plessey) HF200 height finding radars, and a R15 radar.

On 16 February 1966 a fire broke out in the bunker, station fire teams were unsuccessful in putting the fire out and so civilian fire crews were called. Three civilian firefighters lost their lives and the fire burned for nine days before it was fully extinguished.[4] Later that year, LAC Cheeseman was sentenced to seven years for starting the fire and causing the deaths.[5] The station was closed for eight years, re-opening in 1974 after a major rebuild of the bunker complex.[6] The operational nature of the work undertaken at Neatishead was transferred to the previously mothballed site at RAF Bawdsey in 1966, with Bawdsey reverting to a care and maintenance programme when Neathishead came back on line in 1974.[7]

In November 1982, Group Captain Joan Hopkins took command of the station, becoming the first female RAF officer to take command of an operational station.[8]

In April 2004 the decision was taken to substantially reduce activities at RAF Neatishead, and by 2006, the base had been downgraded to Remote Radar Head (RRH) status, but the museum remains open. The gate guardian, a Phantom previously based at RAF Wattisham, was cut up for scrap in 2005 despite interest from the Radar Museum.[9]

In October 2006 local media reported that a buyer had been found for the now disused section of the base.[10] The 25 1/2 acres site was advertised again in January 2010, with an asking price of £4,000,000.[11] In February 2013, the site appeared on eBay[12] with a guide price of £2,500,000.


RRH Neatishead controls the remote site of RRH Trimingham with its Lockheed TPS 77 Radar. It forms part of the UK's air defences - namely the UK "Air Surveillance And Control System" (ASACS), and is part of the larger NATO air defence. It uses radar, ground-to-air radio and digitally encrypted data links.

Neatishead is adjacent to the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum.

The station motto is Caelum Tuemur, meaning "We Watch over the Sky". The station badge depicts the lowered head of a horned bull; and relates to the origins of the word "Neatishead", deriving from old Anglo Saxon language "Nethes Herda", meaning the "abode of the keeper of cattle". It is a co-incidence that Neatishead is near the village of Horning.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 28. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ "Defence Estates Development Plan 2009 – Annex A". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 3 July 2009. p. 15. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  3. ^ G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 108: "[NEET-stəd] is the traditional village pronunciation. [NEET-is-hed] is used by Service personnel for the local R.A.F. Station."
  4. ^ "History of Breathing Apparatus". www.fire.org.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  5. ^ Hansard report Retrieved 19 February 2011
  6. ^ Historic England. "RAF Neatishead (1319822)". Heritage Gateway. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  7. ^ McCamley, Neil (2013). "6: The ROTOR Radar System". Cold War secret nuclear bunkers : the passive defence of the Western World during the Cold War. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-1-78303-010-1.
  8. ^ Horseman, Martin, ed. (February 1983). "RAF's first woman CO of operational station". Armed Forces. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 47. ISSN 0142-4696.
  9. ^ Site Name: Wattisham Mk. 2 Bloodhound Missile Site, Subterranea Britannica, 10 August 2006, retrieved 18 January 2010
  10. ^ Buyer found for RAF Neatishead site, Eastern Daily Press, 21 October 2006, retrieved 18 January 2010
  11. ^ RAF Neatishead (PDF), Barlow Associates, January 2010, retrieved 18 January 2010
  12. ^ RAF Airbase Up For Sale On Ebay, Gizmodo, February 2013, retrieved 1 February 2013

External linksEdit