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Brief roundup of 2019 so far.
Due to a busy work / real life schedule this year, we haven’t attended many events and this is the first update for the website. Here is a quick round up of 2019 so far, up until the last weekend in August and Carfest, this will be covered in a seperate post.
Westonzoyland At War 25th – 26th May
Due to work commitments, we weren’t all able to attend this event, but two of our members attended, put on a display and represented the group.
As one of our members has recently acquired an aircraft, Percival Provost , which he is restoring, he was displaying his newly acquired aircraft, which is stored at Westonzoyland airfield, while it is being worked on.
Here is the current aircraft, minus its wings, which are stored separately.
This is what it would have looked like when it was flying.
The Percival P.56 Provost is a basic trainer aircraft that was designed and manufactured by British aviation company Percival.
During the 1950s, the Provost was developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. Designed by Henry Millicer, it was a single-engined low-wing monoplane, furnished with a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage and, like the preceding Prentice, had a side-by-side seating arrangement. First flying on 24 February 1950, the prototypes participated in an official evaluation, after which the type was selected to meet Air Ministry specification T.16/48.
The Provost entered service with the RAF during 1953 and quickly proved to be more capable than the preceding Prentice. It was a relatively successful aircraft, being exported for multiple overseas operators. Various models were developed, both armed and unarmed, to meet with customer demands. The Provost later adapted to make use of a turbojet engine, producing the BAC Jet Provost. During the 1960s, the type was withdrawn from RAF service in favour of its jet-powered successor. It continued to be used for decades after with various export customers.
There were lots of other groups displaying and even some aircraft that flew in for the weekend.
Rowcroft Garden Party
On Sunday 9th of June we were invited to put on a small WW1 display for the Annual Rowcroft Garden Party, raising money for Rowcroft hospice. We set up our WW1 display in the grounds and spent a lovely afternoon amongst supporters of the Rowcroft Hospice.
Over £6000 was raised which goes toward funding Rowcroft’s vital services across 300 square miles of South Devon, caring for over 2000 patients every year. You can read more about Rowcroft hospice here Rowcroft Hospice History
National Trust Greenway House D-Day event 6th June
On 6th of June we were invited to Greenway House to put on a D-Day display. Greenway house is owned by the national trust but was formerly owned by the famous murder mystery writer Agatha Christie, although its history goes back a lot further than that. More information can be found here Greenway.
Greenway was requisitioned during World War Two and used first to house child evacuees, and then from 1944 to 1945 by the US Coastguard in the run up to the D Day landings.
Torbay Armed Forces Day 22nd June
This year after it looked like it wasnt going to happen at all, we booked ourselves in for Torbay Armed Forces day. We decided that this year we would focus on Post-War, so 1950 onwards, including both Malayan conflict and National service, as we all had family connections to these events and also we knew there were lots of veterans, who served during these years, living in Torbay.
The weather was perfect and the crowds turned out to see it. We were 5 deep at some points during the day and we got to meet a few Malaya veterans who told us some great tales of the their days.
Andy turned up to show off his Post-War Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare equipment.
Torbay Steam Fair 2nd, 3rd and 4th August
Torbay Steam Fair this year was to focus on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Our display would be focusing on the British Airborne troops that landed on D-Day in Normandy and the French Resistance that helped by sabotaging German communications, destroying supply lines and guiding troops around the area.
A German trench system was dug and a Landing craft turned up, complete with Americans, poised for a beach assault.
We had a mortar pit dug to provide covering fire and lay down a smoke screen for the assaulting troops. This was the first time we had properly blank fired the 3 inch mortar and it didn’t disappoint.
The steam fair opened on the Friday, but was quite quiet, due to most people being still at work. However the Saturday and Sunday was very busy. We joined in the military display of the D-Day beach assault demonstration, on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Both displays went off with a bang, literally, and was very well received by the public.
On the Sunday, our junior member represented the group in the arena display. Dressed as French resistance, he cycled his way around the arena, on a WW2 bicycle, which was tough going due to the long grass.
This year we lost two of our close Steam Fair friends, who have attended or helped run the show over the past years. We said Goodbye and paid our tributes to Phil Moores and Mike Phillips.
Again another fab time at Torbay Steam Fair and cant wait till next year when we will be celebrating V.E. Day and V.J. Day.
Royal British Legion Paignton Branch VJ day ceremony at Roundham Gardens Paignton 15th August
For the 3rd year in a row, we attended the Royal British Legion, Paignton Branch’s small ceremony, to commemorate VJ day, at the Torbay Burma Star Association Memorial, in Roundham gardens, Paignton.
We were very lucky to be joined by a Burma veteran, who was 17 when he was sent out to fight in Burma. Hopefully we will be able to attend next year when it is the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan and the end of all hostilities in the second world war.
More to follow with our latest event CarFest 2019………
Goodbye 2018 Hello 2019
2018 was always going to be a quieter year for our group, with personal, work and health issues affecting us and our availability, however this did not stop us totally and we managed to raise lots of money for both Children in Need and The Royal British Legion.
The year started for us at Seal Hayne History in Action event, our first WW1 event.
Next was a small display at a new event, Westonzoyland War Ag, at Westonzoyland Airfield, Somerset. One of our group got to fire his 3 inch mortar for the first time, not for the faint hearted.
This was followed by a small indoor display at the museum of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Lyneham.
Next up was Torbay Steam Fair, Brixham, Devon. Under very hot conditions we dug in to show an impression of a WW1 trench.
Another yearly staple for the group is the South Devon Railway 1940’s weekend, Buckfastleigh.
Followed closely by CarFest 2018, Laverstoke farm, Hampshire. This was our 3rd year of attending and is always our favourite event. We had a great weekend, even though the weather tried to spoil our fun. We even managaed to get a picture with the organiser, Chris Evans.
Then as we approached the 100th anniversary of the WW1 armistice we got rather busy. First was helping the British Legion out, at a small event in the town hall of Ashburton.
This was followed by a day at Exeter Cathedral, where we put on a small WW1 display outside during the day and then attended the Devon Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.
Then the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Next we were asked by the Shepton Mallet (Somerset) branch of the Royal British Legion, if we would attend their event, as they were planting a tree of remembrance and unveiling a bench to commemorate the people of Shepton Mallet that sacrificed their lives during WW1. This ended with a quick trip to Wells and a visit to the memorial for the last Tommy, Harry Patch.
And then the culmination of much of what we had been doing over the year, Remembrance Sunday, where the group each attended their local memorial service in each others respective towns and villages. Some of our group attended 2 services and were then later invited to the lighting of the coastal warning beacons to mark the armistice.
Some firsts for the group this year were:
- WW1 display and uniforms.
- Malayan Conflict display and uniforms.
- Multi period display, WW1, WW2, Malaya conflict and Falklands War.
- First wet weather event (we had been lucky so far)
- Group drinking hats
In the end it turned into quite a year, with some very emotional moments.
We made some great new friends this year who we are looking forward to working with closely again next year.
Thanks go out to Mike Ford, Steve Spencer, Tim Bickerdike, Somerset Tommy, Justin Blundell, Nicholas Davies, Joseph Chisholm, Ricky Hunter, Sarah Rees, Barry Nurse, Kevin Jeffries, Rich Martin and anyone else we sadly forgot mention, all your help and support is appreciated.
We are planning to attend some new shows next year and will be presenting our new display for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
Last but not least one of our group left us this year, we said farewell to Tina Hewlett, but then welcomed a new member to our group, Tina Collins.
Massive congratulations to both Mr and Mrs Collins and wish you a long a healthy life together.
CarFest for Children in Need 2018
This is our 3rd year at Carfest, raising money for Children in Need. We are ever thankful for being given the opportunity by Alex from Vintage Parade.
We travelled up Thursday morning, a bit earlier this year, arriving at the site at 9 a.m.
This year we had a much larger display to put up, with it being our first truly multi period display, we had 4 distinct sections. The 4 sections of our display covered WW1(1914-1918), WW2 (1939-1945), Malayan Emergency (1948 -1960) and Falklands Conflict (1982).
After a battle with the wind we eventually got all our canvas and displays set up, this is the biggest area we have ever occupied (35m x 12m). We then retired back to the camping field to put up our tents and living accommodation. We finally had everything set up for 6pm and settled down to dinner, drinks and a catch up with everyone.
Friday was Day 1 of Carfest for the public, with the site opening at midday. It started quite quietly and then the public started to filter through to the vintage village.
We were treated to a fly past from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight Spitfire and Hurricane.
Things were going great and then at about 4pm, the heavens opened up, thank goodness we had all that canvas up. Not only did it provide shelter for us but also the public that were caught out by the rain. An hour later the rain had stopped. By 6:30pm we started to pack away and made our way back to our campsite, to get changed and enjoy our dinner. It was after dinner that it started raining again, this time it was more than a shower.
As a group we all decided that we wouldn’t bother to go and see the music on at the Main stage as we were all tired and cold and it ended up that everyone was in bed for 10:30pm. The earliest we have ever been to bed in the 3 years of CarFest.
Saturday we awoke to a clear sky and beautiful sunshine.
2 of our members had signed up for the CarFest 5km fun run, again raising more money for Children in Need. Well done to Ricky and Patch for completing it.
Saturday thus proved to be a fantastic day, we were very busy, especially the WW1 area where we experienced something wonderful. We experienced lots of children telling their parents about WW1. They have all been studying WW1 at school and obviously enjoyed it as they were full of knowledge and questions. We just hope that WW1 is not forgotten
It is the first time we have displayed our Malaya impression and Chris and Tom were busy all day talking to people whose fathers or uncles had served in Malaya.
It was also the first time that Nick had displayed his Falklands Islands Defence Force impression with us and he spent all day chatting to people, with lots of interest in his L1A1 SLR rifle
And the day of firsts continued, not only did Sam, Tina and Sarah do us proud with their Suffragette impression, they also managed to get and pictures with Chris Evans and Pudsey.
Saturday afternoon we were also blessed with a fly past by the Battle of Britain Memorial flight Lancaster bomber.
Best of all on Saturday, for all of us, was meeting some of the children that have benefited from the money raised by Children in Need and being thanked by their parents for giving up our time to raise money for them. Not that we do it for thanks, it is nice to see that what we do is benefiting the children.
Saturday evening came and although it was starting to cloud over, we were all shattered from the day spent speaking to so many people. We retired to our campsite, changed and had our dinner. We were feeling rather more energised after our food and made our way down to the main stage to as we wanted to watch Jools Holland with his rhythm and blues orchestra.
Sunday, we awoke to grey skies and a 70% chance of rain, well it turned out to be 100%, with very few visitors to vintage village, but some did make it and took comfort in sheltering under our big top tent, by this point we had moved all our displays in underneath. It was a bit cramped, but we were dry, and the public could still engage with us.
One couple came back specially to see us, to tell us that the lady had shown her Father, the picture we had on our Malaya information board and her Father had said that it was his platoon in the picture. Even better the lady’s Godfather was also in the picture. Its these personal connections that we so love about Living History.
Due to there being nobody about we decided to take advantage of the brilliant entertainment on offer in vintage village and managed to catch Ricky Hunter, vintage vocalist, on the bandstand, where he treated us to a rendition of Blue Velvet.
In the end the weather beat us, the rain was torrential and with no public about and most of our display covered up, we made the decision to close at 3:30pm. I think we were, more or less, the last ones open in vintage village.
Again, we retired back our campsite where we changed and put on wet weather gear as we were determined that the weather was not going to beat us. We carefully made our way down to the main stage through the mud just in time to catch Status Quo. Of course, we had to rock out to the ‘Quo; with our air guitars.
This was followed by the CarFest super group, which turned out to be lots of individual appearances rather that a true super group, followed by Clean Bandit. It was at this point we decided to retire to finish off our cheese and port and sit and watch the fireworks from our camp area.
Monday, we awoke to drizzle followed by increasingly bluer skies, the longer the morning went on the drier it got, and by the time we got to packing our display canvas away, it was mostly dry, which was a relief. Our weapons suffered the most and took a lot of cleaning to get rid of the rust that had formed, thanks to the damp conditions. We managed to get everything down, packed and loaded into the vans by 3pm. We then said our farewells and left the CarFest site, arriving home exhausted at 6:30pm.
I must thank Alex again for asking us back and a special thanks to the Homefront to Battlefront team for an excellent weekend, that was conducted safely with no accidents. It was a weekend of fun, exhaustion, hard work, laughs, good company, good food, good music, rockin’, damp and most of all raising money for Children in Need.
Personal thanks go to, in no particular order, Mike, Sam, Tom, Patch, Chris, Tina, Nick, Ricky and Sarah. Looking forward to our next adventure together.
Here are some more pics from the weekend;
Custom signs made
Want a custom sign making. We wanted a custom WW1 sign making and one of our members is a qualified sign writer and offered to make one for us.
He enjoyed making it so much, he is now willing to make custom signs for anyone else.
Here is what he made for us, this is A3 size.
If you would like this sign making for your WW1 display, then this would cost 80 GB Pounds posted to UK address.
For other designs please feel free to contact us for a quote.
Torbay Steam Rally 4th and 5th August 2018
Another year on and another fabulous weekend at Torbay Steam Fair.
This year we were only able to exhibit on the Saturday and Sunday due to work commitments. We set up Friday night, this year we were concentrating on remembering WW1.
We had a trench section dug again, along with Machine Gun nest, dug out and sniper loop. To accompany the trench we had a Horse stables, rear encampment, with a genuine WW1 Bell tent, showing how the soldiers rested. Also we had a Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) aid station display, showing the voluntary work of women during WW1.
During the weekend we collected money for the Royal British Legion and had lots of visitors to the trench with a constant queue all weekend.
Below are some pictures from the weekend.
R.E.M.E. Museum, MOD Lyneham 28th April
We were invited to attend a WW2 day, organized by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) museum at MOD Lyneham. As one of our members is ex-REME we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help the museum and also have a good look at the displays in the new museum.
The REME museum has only been on this new site since it moved from Arborfield in 2015, officially re-opening in June 2017. The new museum is not large, compared with the likes of the Imperial War Museum, but the quality is more than comparable.
Naturally we took along our WW2 North Africa REME workshop display, plus a few assorted weapons of that period.
The exhibits in the museum contain the only surviving beach armoured recovery vehicles (B.A.R.V.). This was the first vehicle that the REME specifically modified for its needs. The chassis is standard Sherman tank, with the top modified to wade the waters of the Normandy beaches and to recover stranded vehicles from the beachhead.
This is the R.E.M.E. birth certificate, marking the formation of the Corps on the 1st October 1942.
We had a great day and must thank the staff of the museum for looking after us and providing us with everything we needed during the day.
Seale Hayne History in Action press coverage
You might have seen us on BBC spotlight news 2 weeks ago, when we were featured supporting the Seale Hayne, healing of the mind exhibition.
We missed it, but we were informed about it by many people.
Here are some press cuttings of the event also featuring our group and some of our friends who helped out over the weekend.
Thanks to Mike Ford, Steve Spencer and Tim Bickerdike for helping put on a great display.
Seale Hayne History in Action
Last weekend we attended our inaugural event of the year. We were displaying our First World War impression to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of Seale Hayne becoming a military hospital.
Seale-Hayne College was an agricultural college in Devon, England, which operated from 1919 to 2005. It was the only agricultural college in the United Kingdom whose buildings were purpose designed and built.
The college was established in accordance with the will of Charles Seale Hayne (1833-1903), a Liberal politician who was a Devon land-owner. The college was built between 1912 and 1914, but its opening was delayed by the start of the First World War. During the war it served as a training centre for Land Girls, and in 1918 and 1919 it operated as a military neurasthenic hospital for the treatment of soldiers suffering from shell shock.
As a group we set up a trench display, advanced first aid post and a rear lines living area with stables for horses.
We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the re-introduction to the world of living history. Hopefully we raised some money for the the Royal British Legion and the charity that now runs Seale Hayne, Dame Hannah Rodgers Charity.
Looking forward to showing off our WW1 equipment and uniforms to more of the public throughout the coming year.
New additions for 2018
This year has heralded more canvas to the ranks of Homefront to Battlefront.
We have acquired yet another bell tent, taking our group’s tally now to 3 and another flysheet, meaning we now have 6 flysheets at our disposal.
Here are some pictures of our trials today in the garden as the weather was so nice.
Looking forward to displaying them this weekend.