“I first took to the air at RAF North Weald in August 1963. While the jets had long gone, there was still a small RAF presence that included No 614 Volunteer Gliding School of the Air Cadets.
Somewhere around mid-1964, the regular RAF withdrew but the VGS remained for a short while longer, until it was relocated to RAF Debden. North Weald continued to be listed as an emergency diversion airfield until a few years later - probably 1967/68, after which it disappeared from RAF publications.
In the summer of 1968, when the army occupied the base for a short period, I escorted another RAF Chipmunk that was making a forced landing on the airfield. That aircraft had run short of oil and North Weald was a far better alternative than a farmer’s field. The army were less than welcoming, but eventually another Chipmunk arrived with a supply of oil from our base at RAF Manston and the three aircraft set off for home. The pilot of the Chipmunk that ran out of oil went on to be a senior captain flying the A330 with Dragonair and I ended up commanding RAF Cranwell.
I believe that 614 VGS still exists at MOD Wethersfield and, no doubt, has a history that covers its happy times at North Weald.”
Peter Moore, July 2010
North Weald Airfield History replies: Many thanks to Peter Moore for getting in touch. If anyone has further stories about the No 614 Volunteer Gliding School, or North Weald in general, please let us know.