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Greenham Common

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Bean Eaters and Bean Flickers....

Former US airbase in Berkshire. Greenham Common gained a notoriety during the heady days of the Cold War when the US Air Force decided it wanted to base its Ground-Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs) there (along with Molesworth). Much gnashing of teeth ensued and the nuclear disarmament lobby went full on to try and prevent their arrival. To no avail.

A small group of 'peace women' pitched camp, and over the years this grew to quite a size and caused all sorts of problems. The peace women - or Papa Whiskeys as they were known to those on the other side of the fence were a pain in the bollocks: throwing paint and bodily fluids over deploying waggons - and over anyone who intervened. They also caused untold damage to the perimeter fence and whoever was supplying the MoD with chain link was doing very nicely out of it thank you very much.

To prevent the US guards from slotting the lesbians, a residential British unit called the Military Reinforcement Force (MRF) was based there along with elements of the RAF Regiment who augmented the USAF Security Police. The MRF were initially Army, but latterly RAF personnel were used. All this manpower for a few carpet munchers! But, the spams were taking it all very seriously as they they'd just bombed Libya, so maybe it did make sense after all, what with the Spetznaz scare stories that abounded.

Greenham Common was the author's first taste of 'Little America' - that slice of home in a faraway foreign land: mom's apple pie etc. I emphasise taste, because I remember my first visit to their 'Mess Hall' one morning for some much needed brekkie. Expecting a half-decent fry up, the author was horrified to be confronted with a 'wiener' with some sickly syrup poured over it (WTF?). Anyhow, I digress.

I remember Greenham for one thing and one thing only: being totally and scull-fuckingly tired. So tired, in fact that the only occasion I ever fell asleep on stag was at Greenham - and I did so standing up in the middle of the airfield. That said, it was fun stalking the lessies with an IWS and they did get up to all manner of lessie-type antics - mainly to goad the hapless squaddies. If only they realised their actions were causing much self-abuse when they were unaware they were being watched. If only we'd had digi-cams back then. Alas.

Long since closed, the airfield is now either:

  • Farmland
  • A housing estate
  • A Mosque
  • A landfill site

Funnily enough, the 'Peace Camp' became so established that many rug scoffers settled there, and there are still one or two happy campers pitched up outside this long defunct chunk of the ol' US of A. Funny ol' world, eh?