OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Perhaps it’s because Ciren is surrounded airfields, or as we used to call then: aerodromes, that Ciren people seem to love aircraft. Many locals have worked at RAF Kemble but until it became an Army barracks in 1971; many also worked “up the Camp” at RAF South Cerney. Some people travelled the Stroud road to work at Aston Down which was originally opened as RAF Minchinhampton during the First World War as an aerodrome for the Australian Flying Corps. It later became RAF Aston Down (1938) as a Maintenance unit and an operational training establishment which flew Hawker Hurricanes, Typhoons and Mosquitos.
The Cotswold Gliding Club took residence in 1967 and it was sold to them in 1981.
There was a time when Gliders were hugely popular and could be seen flying from various aerodromes around Ciren. I can remember how exciting it was when the World Glider Championships were held at South Cerney in 1965. For about a week or so, the skies were full of hundreds of gliders.
Back in the 1920’s aircraft had been flown from Ciren from a field up the Whiteway. In September 1927, Sir Alan Cobham was promoting the National Municipal Aerodrome Campaign around the Country and visited Cirencester. He’d been to the town before to demonstrate his “Flying Circus”; but this time around the field at the Whiteway was under crop and not available. Ciren’s Mr Aubrey Price came to the rescue and offered the use of his “Racecourse field” at Stratton, adjoining the lane leading to Baunton and adjacent to the Golf Course. Despite the conflict with the Cirencester Sheep and Ram Fair, a large crowd attended and 33 free tickets for flights over Ciren were given to School children over the age of 13. The tickets had to be applied for by completing a coupon in the Standard published on a Friday evening and delivering it by lunchtime next day.