WDC/CND at Aldermaston

Photos of our members from National CND's pages:

Barbara Bampton on a bollard

Original photo by Sue Longbottom

Barbara Bampton perches for lunch

Edwin with placard

Original photo

Edwin Cluer lobbies for peace...

Edwin with placard

Original photo by Genny

...and love!

An article reproduced from the blog of WDC/CND member Tony Papard:

Aldermaston - Our Auschwitz

Tony Papard, March 25th

Yesterday, Easter Monday, I returned to the Aldermaston factory of genocide along with thousands of other peace campaigners on CND’s 50th anniversary protest and commemoration of the first Aldermaston March in 1958.

Looking out of the coach windows as we came off the M4 motorway and went through the picturesque Berkshire countryside, via the pretty villages of Aldermaston Wharf and Aldermaston village itself, suddenly, on the other side of the coach, was that huge, ugly double wire fence with its jumble of buildings where men and women planned to torture, burn alive, vaporize, kill and maim millions of ordinary little babies, children, animals and innocent men and women, and cause cancers and deformities in millions of others for generations to come. This was our Auschwitz, paid for by OUR taxes, and this obscenity was STILL there, in the beautiful, tranquil Berkshire countryside 20 years after I’d last protested there with my life-partner beside me, George Miller, now passed over to a better place.

Not only was it still there, but it was being expanded. A new facility was almost completed where they can test another generation of Trident missile nuclear warheads, so circumventing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which, thanks to CND and worldwide protests like ours bringing attention to the dangers of nuclear testing, has banned nuclear bomb tests both in the atmosphere and underground.

Just think about that new facility at Aldermaston for the moment: where they are going to TEST nuclear warheads in a laser/computerized simulation. Test what exactly? How well they can fry a million little children alive? Test how many cancers they can inflict on  people? How do the workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment and the nearby Burghfield nuclear warhead factory live with their consciences?

I saw none of my old colleagues as we got off the coach, gathered outside one of the gates, and later surrounded this evil place, pinning banners and notices to the fence. I pinned pictures of two Japanese A-bomb victims with a legend saying that War Criminals behind the fence were planning more of this:

It was a nostalgic day, thinking of all those who joined me at Aldermaston and on the marches in previous years. Where are they now? Some have died, some I just don’t know what happened to them.

I remembered Jimpy, who organized the tea-stalls and collected all the Aldermaston lost property — and who also sold every CND badge in the country for years, Peggy Duff — my former boss and first Organizing Secretary of CND, her former secretary Sheila Cooper, the London Region CND and later National Organizer — my former work colleague at CND Head Office Michael Kennedy, Malvin Side — the stalwart old lady who came on EVERY demonstration in the 1960s, 1970s and before, all those colleagues from Welwyn Garden City, Camden and Battersea CND branches who I marched and protested with years ago, and above all my life-partner George Miller who stood shoulder to shoulder with me on the later protests, and got arrested with me outside Upper Heyford former nuclear bomber base in Oxfordshire.

Upper Heyford, like the Cruise Missile bases at Greenham and Molesworth, is closed down, but the obscenity of Aldermaston AWE is still there.

As I was walking along the fence I heard a familiar song — a whole family was singing the chorus to ‘The H-Bomb’s Thunder’, once the anthem of CND sung on all the marches, a song I hadn’t heard for about 40 years: ‘Men and women stand together…. Ban the bomb for evermore!’ I joined in with them on this and another old peace song from the early days, ‘If I Had A Hammer’ (there was a hit version by Trini Lopez). They had photos pinned to the fence of their family on the march on an old demonstration in the 1960s. But these adults were back then the children in the pram and pushchair, or little toddlers walking alongside their parents 40 or so years ago. Their parents were now too old to make the demonstration this Easter, but their children were continuing the fight, keeping in touch with their parents by cellphone.

My cellphone rang — three times. CND was sending out instructions to us — Welcome to Aldermaston…. Time to surround the base…… 2.30 p.m., make a noise….

As everybody blew whistles, banged tins and saucepan lids, or otherwise made noise, I’d like to say that, like the Walls of Jericho, the fence of Aldermaston and all its obscene buildings came tumbling down. That wasn’t the case. Soon we were clambering back in the coaches and heading home, many pledged to come back in October and blockade the workers coming into the base on a normal workday, if you can call such obscenities ‘normal’.

It was exhilarating yet sad. Sad that protests are still needed 50 years on, sad that Britain and the other nuclear powers have not fulfilled their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and got rid of their nuclear weapons, sad that all my former colleagues were missing.

But the ones who had passed over to the Other Side were there beside me in spirit. I have to continue the fight till my dying day, for their sake and ours, and for the sake of future generations who might well become victims of these obscene weapons.

And this is no idle threat, remember Trident submarines are constantly patrolling the world’s oceans, with men aboard just waiting for the order to push the button and incinerate millions of innocent civilians.

But think of this: what if every single person who supports this policy has to account for their actions — feel every effect of what they are prepared to do? If we survive death, as even many scientists and atheists now believe we do after studying the evidence for survival, then it seems we all have to judge ourselves in an ‘instant life review’ and feel the consequences of all our actions, good and bad, on other people. These weapons are made in our name and are ready to be used on real, live people. Can you live with that on your conscience? If the button is ever pushed, it will be in YOUR name, unless you protest NOW.

The world is completely mad — it must be for people to plan evil and destruction on this scale. Thank goodness some of us are sane. Thank goodness some of us remember the words of that great philosopher, CND’s first President, the late Sir Bertrand Russell, who I first saw breaking the law on an anti-nuclear weapons demo outside the Ministry of Defence back in February, 1961. Russell said:

‘Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.’ Amen!

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