Do you have memories of North Weald airfield?

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council is inviting people with memories of North Weald Airfield to share them at the council’s stand at next Sunday’s Freedom of the District Parade and Community Picnic.

The event is being held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF.

The parish council will have a gazebo where visitors can recount their memories of North Weald Airfield over the years.

Members of 56 Squadron, which flew Hurricanes from North Weald, will get the event underway when they march from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian with their newly-acquired ‘Freedom of the District’ awarded by Epping Forest District Council last month.

Officers and members of 56 Squadron will be accompanied to the Airfield Memorial in Hurricane Way by Epping Forest Pipe Band and the band of 56 Squadron ATC for the laying of wreaths before proceeding to the Gate Guardian for a ceremonial inspection and afternoon of picnics and music with Epping Forest (Brass) Band, Our Voices Choir and 1940s-style singer Diane Moore.
Families are invited to join the celebrations at North Weald Airfield.

Car parking and entry to the event is free.

Visitors are encouraged to take a picnic but food and drink will also be on sale.

56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most distinguished units of the RAF.

Formed during the Great War, it saw service in France as part of the Royal Flying Corps before the formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Although North Weald is no longer an RAF base, having been bought by Epping Forest District Council in 1980, the airfield remains the spiritual home of 56 Squadron.

The Squadron moved to North Weald in 1927 and remained until 1941.

While based at North Weald, it suffered the first RAF loss of the Second World War, covered the retreat from Dunkirk and found itself in the thick of the fighting during the Battle of Britain.

The parade sets off from North Weald Village Hall at 12.30pm. Residents can park at North Weald Airfield before the parade arrives at 1.30pm with Diane Moore bringing the music to a close at about 4.45pm.

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