Papers of Tim Wallis on the Molesworth Peace Camp
Archive reference: Cwl TWM
Tim Wallis and Molesworth Peace Camp
Following the announcement that RAF Greenham Common, in Berkshire, and RAF Molesworth, in Cambridgeshire, would be sites for the deployment of the US Air Force's mobile nuclear armed Ground Launched Cruise Missiles, both sites quickly became a focus for protest. At Molesworth, a People’s Peace Camp was set up at “Peace Corner”, on Old Weston Road by the wartime entrance to the base, on 28 December 1981. The camp was initiated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. A simple multi-faith chapel, Eirene (Greek for “peace”) was built in Spring 1982. On 26 July 1983, the camp was evicted and the chapel destroyed. The camp moved to Warren Lane, Clopton, on the west side of the base. Two of the campers, Timmon Milne and Bridie Wallis, married and held a celebration on the base. Tim had arrived in England from the USA in 1981 to study for an M.A. at the University of Bradford School of Peace Studies.
From October 1984 to July 1986, Timmon and Bridie rented Old School, Clopton, near the base, continuing to be active in Molesworth peace campaigning. In particular, Tim organised the Molesworth Ploughshares Campaign. A more permanent peace chapel was built in 1984, using rubble from the old runway and embedding personal objects in its walls. In August 1984, the Molesworth Green Gathering was held. This grew into the Green Village, then into Rainbow Fields Village, where about 100 lived on the base in vans and tents. On 5 February 1985, over 1000 police and troops evicted Rainbow Village and erected a razor wire fence around Molesworth. Large-scale demonstrations followed, at Easter 1985, and a sitdown blockade organised by CND on 6 February 1986. On 14 April 1986, the chapel was bulldozed.
The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987 which led to the removal of all nuclear missiles from Molesworth and Greenham. The missiles began to leave Molesworth in 1988. Molesworth Cruisewatch remained outside the base into the 1990s.
After leaving Clopton, the Wallises returned to Bradford where Tim wrote his PhD thesis: "Dialogue and resistance: an evaluation of two approaches to peace campaigning at RAF Molesworth 1980-1987". He became Commonweal co-ordinator in 1987, then an outreach worker attached to the Bradford Resource Centre, and later a Commonweal Trustee. Dr Wallis remains active in the field of peace and nonviolence.
The Archive was donated to Commonweal by Dr Wallis in 1992. It includes:
- Meeting minutes, notes.
- Publicity material including Molesworth Bulletins, leaflets and newsletters.
- Press cuttings.
- Maps and other practical information relating to events.
- Correspondence and press releases.
- Research material for PhD thesis including questionnaires, notes, and audiocassettes of interviews.
The Archive was catalogued as part of the PaxCat Project, with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.
Special Collections also holds the Papers of Ian and Jennifer Hartley on the Molesworth Peace Camp.