Time to track down a piece of wartime history

PUBLISHED: 14:03 17 February 2011 | UPDATED: 14:03 17 February 2011

A replica of the old colour change clock from RAF Neatishead

A replica of the old colour change clock from RAF Neatishead


A Norfolk RAF museum needs your help to track down a historic timepiece. Derek James reports.

The hunt is on for the wartime original of this colour change clock so it can take its place in a Norfolk RAF museum.

In the summer, the Friends of the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the radar station at Neatishead.

But they would love to have their clock back.

The original method of tracking aircraft was by moving coloured metal arrows on plotting tables using magnetic rods. The arrows were red, yellow and blue, each colour being used for a period of five minutes and being governed by a master colour change clock clearly visible to all on duty.

“In celebrating this 70th anniversary, those of us who served at Eastern Sector Operations Centre at RAF Neatishead know the colour change clock, an important part of the station’s history, is missing,” said Vic Hopes of Norwich and Ronald Last of South Croydon.

“We would like to see it brought ‘home’ to where it really belongs, so we were wondering if your readers could help,” they said.

They know that when the plotting tables were replaced by radar sets in the 1950s the colour change clock went on display in the New Inn at Horning with the words “The New Inn” painted in black on its face.

It later moved to The White Horse at Neatishead and it was last seen a few years later at The Swan in Ingham.

But where is it now?

“Any information your readers have regarding the clock, leading to its return to where it truly belongs, would be greatly appreciated,” said Vic.

Call him on 01603 504273, drop him a line at 58 Buckland Rise, Eaton Gardens, Norwich, NR4 6EZ, or email him at

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