- Contributed by
- BBC Radio Foyle
- People in story:
- Bernard Mc Cormack
- Location of story:
- Maydown Airfield, Derry, Northern Ireland
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 November 2004
The Perimeter Fence
By Bernard Mc Cormack
A tall Perimeter fence ran the length and breadth of Maydown Airfield sealing off from the rest of the landscape. To us children it had come to stand for something foreign and not quite within our scope of things.
It was as if we ran helter skelter across a landscape occupied by adults and people who spoke with a foreign accent. At one particular spot, close to the main road there was a grassy bank leading up to the fence. Through the wire mesh you could see a number of aeroplanes lined up on the concrete apron just in front of the gaping doors of a huge hanger. These machines were being serviced by several mechanics. For the moment they stood idle in the full glare of a mid summer’s day.
We tried hard to scoop a passage under the wire mesh so that we could wriggle underneath and start looking for bits of Perspex. If we were lucky and found a bit we would, the help of a hot poker, bore holes into it and make rings which we would sell to our friends. It was a lucrative business.
A sentry standing some distance away must have spotted us for he shouted “clear off”. This set us scrambling down the slope to our bikes and away.
At the opposite end of the airfield and much more lonesome the run way melted into the embankment and the Lough beyond. Dusk was our favourite time for visiting the spot to race our bikes.
The place both fascinated and repelled us at one and the same time. Especially when thousands of sea birds wheeled and dived above the embankment and the tide line for all the world like the snowflakes in a giant glass Victorian paper weight.
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