It was my privilege as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council to meet some highly distinguished people over the weekend of the 7 to 9 September. The spirit of friendship between the people of North Weald and Norway continues to shine.
The bond is enormously strong. The surviving Norwegian veterans are now old men but the love they feel for our country lives on in their children and grandchildren. 70 years ago they were a band of brothers from a small country held in tyranny. They found refuge at North Weald and kindred spirits in the people of our small Island also fighting for our lives.
I began for the first time to understand something of the importance North Weald holds in the hearts of the people of Norway. I was reminded of the famous poem, ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke who lost his life in the Great War that was supposed to end all wars.
If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
To our friends from Norway, North Weald is also the corner of a ‘foreign field’, a symbol of their national pride and character in adversity. I was immensely proud to have shared some of that spirit with them and to call them friends.
Councillor Brian Rolfe
Chairman of Epping Forest District Council
A story published by the Telegraph about a veterans final visit to North Weald – Spitfire pilot, 91, makes one final mission