RAF Hethel was an airfield used by the US during the Second World War, and later by the RAF. Located 7 miles (11 km) south west of
Norwich, it was constructed in 1942 for American use and assigned USAAF designation "Station 114". From 14 September 1943 though to 12 June 1945, Hethel served as headquarters for the
2nd Combat Bombardment Wing of the
2nd Bomb Division.
After the departure of the Americans, it was assigned to
RAF Fighter Command. On 25 June Polish-manned
North American Mustang RAF squadrons moved into the base. In mid-1947, Hethel became a Personnel Transit Centre but was transferred to
RAF Technical Training Command. With the downsizing of the RAF, the field was closed in 1948. For many years the base was inactive and abandoned until it was finally sold by the
Air Ministry in 1964.
For a number of years the old airfield
Nissen huts were used to house families awaiting re-housing under the post-war building programme. Forehoe and Henstead RDC also used part of the area as a store depot. With the end of military control, Hethel became the manufacturing and testing site for
Lotus Cars. The manufacture of vehicles, originally started in the old hangars and workshops, now takes place in several modern buildings.
Lotus uses parts of the airfield perimeter track and lengths of the main runway as a testing track.