On Saturday 29 June Christian CND joined Molesworth Peace Garden Group and many others at RAF Molesworth for a special event to remember the history of peace witness at the site.
During the event on Saturday Bridie Wallis and Ian Hartley, two individuals who has lived at Molesworth during the camp, shared memories of their time there. There was also a message from Bruce Kent, who famously cut through the base fence in full view of the security forces during one protest.
The cross from the Eirene Chapel, built during the protests, remains at the site. Prayers were said for world peace and a future without nuclear weapons. Canon Jonathan Young, who had been at Molesworth 39 years earlier and Revd Stuart Dennis also read from the Bible, bringing Jesus’ message of hope and peace.
The Peace Garden has been restored thanks to the work of Molesworth Peace Garden Group, local volunteers who were involved with actions at Molesworth in the 1980s. They were supported by Christian CND who helped organise the event on Saturday.
RAF Molesworth was, along with Greenham Common, chosen to host US Cruise Nuclear Missiles in the 1980s. Protests began soon after the announcement and a Peace Camp was established, with many Quakers and other Christians among those involved. Areas of the old airfield was used to grow wheat, with more than 30 tonnes sent to Africa in the mid 1980s.
The Eirene Chapel, named after the Greek word for ‘peace’ was built by people of all faiths and none and hosted daily vigils and acts of worship. The Ministry of Defence quickly cordoned the chapel off and eventually it was demolished to much fanfare, including a visit from Michael Hessletine.
The nuclear missiles left later in the 1980s and the last protestor left the peace camp in 1990. Since that time a Peace Garden has stood outside the base as a reminder of the history of the place and provide hope for a future without war, where bases like RAF Molesworth are no longer needed and the fences can be taken down once and for all.