Saturday's ramble round “Croughton balls”

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Mon Oct 9 13:06:19 BST 2006

listen to speeches and songs here

Around fifty peace campaigners took a walk around the 
perimeter fence of "RAF" Croughton, finishing with a picnic, 
entertainment from the Oxford Sea Green Singers and others, 
and speeches from Felicity Arbuthnot, John McDonnell MP and 
the Rev David Platt. RAF Croughton is a little known but essential 
component of the US communications and spy network which 
includes other bases on UK soil such as Menwith Hill. 

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 

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. 

campaign for accountability of american bases

USAF Croughton on wikipedia

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