The “Croughton balls” or radomes
Helpful signs pointed the way
Another view of the radomes
A bridleway runs part way along the perimeter fence
A friendly police officer introduces himself
Posing for a photo
Posing for another photo
A smaller radome
MOD police inside the base
Poster for next year’s event
Message to Colonel D’Angelo
Banners on the fence, visible from the A34
Another banner on the fence
Keep Space for Peace
Sea Green Singers
Rev David Platt
As a result, most of these photos are screengrabs from the video footage I took during the day, hence the poor quality, for which I apologise.
Looking on the bright side though, the police in attendance were very friendly and well-behaved, choosing to appoint only three of their number to accompany the ramble around the perimeter fence – one at the front, one at the back and one somewhere in the middle. This may be because they were from the Northamptonshire force rather than the Thames Valley force, or it may just have been because it was a nice sunny day. I even thought the Forward Intimidation Team had stayed at home, although unfortunately there was one officer with a DV camera at the end of the walk filming everyone as they climbed the stile into the picnic area.
A lovely lunch of soup, French bread, flapjacks and cakes was served, and while this was consumed, the Oxford-based Sea Green Singers performed a few songs, including one called “Rambling round the Croughton balls”, composed especially for this day. The “balls” referred to in the song are the strange objects within the base known as “radomes”, which I believe are actually sensitive satellite dishes enclosed in a spherical casing to protect them from the elements.
There was also some poetry and some adapted Shakespeare (with drum and whistle accompaniment), as well as speeches from Felicity Arbuthnot, Labour leadership candidate John McDonnell, and the Rev David Platt.
The day was attended by people from around the country, including Oxford, Swindon, Faringdon, the West Midlands, Chippenham and Southampton.
Two future events were given a plug.
There will be a national demonstration at RAF Brize Norton, near Carterton in Oxfordshire, on 12th December, called by Swindon, Bristol and Oxford Stop the War Coalitions. Brize Norton is the arrival and departure point for all the UK troops serving in Iraq, and was also recently used as a refuelling point by US transport planes delivering bombs to Israel during the recent massacre in Lebanon.
The next Keep Space For Peace event at RAF Croughton has already been arranged – Saturday 6th October 2007, 12pm to 3pm, and Bruce Kent of CND and the Movement for the Abolition of War will be speaking.
Hopefully some audio and/or video will appear here in the next few days, once I’ve had a chance to edit it.