Events (2004) pt 2

29 - 30th May Chipping Steam Fair

For those not going to Normandy the choice on this weekend was either Chipping Steam Fair or the East Lancs Railway 40s weekend. Chipping was the majority choice with a good turn out of military vehicles from our group and the Dales group. Problems with the battery on Barry's GMC delayed his and John's arrival until mid afternoon on the Saturday. Rain spoilt the day, but it did brighten up. Here they are setting up camp in the rain.

Steve and Susannah's Hotchkiss won a prize, adding to the pleasure of the event. Meanwhile Simon set up his own camp displaying his collection of militaria alongside his Land Rover. A tour round the arena was organised but it was decided not to take the GMC in case the starting problem recurred.

The evening sessions on the Saturday and Sunday nights in the marquee were well attended. Live music was provided and the drink was acceptable, but it seems the Line Dancing cowboys in between the band's sessions was not enjoyed as much. At the end of the Saturday night when the steward closed the bar, the revelers were allowed to continue as late as they wanted, provided they cleaned up the marquee when they were finished. True to their word this was done, and as a result, the following night, the steward did the same. A couple of bonuses from attending this meeting, two more people have registered to come to our Hornby event, as has another stall holder.

One of the attractions was the anti aircraft gun. This will feature at our Hornby VE day show on 19-20 June.

D-Day celebrations 5 - 6th June

For those not able to go to Normandy there was a choice to be made on what to attend. Obviously there were many celebrations going on over the weekend, but two attracted attention from our group. Blackpool organised a two day event with historic vehicles displayed alongside the present day armed forces on the promenade near to Central Pier. I attended that with Geoff's Dodge ambulance, where I was joined by a group from Blackburn. They had a GMC, Canadian Ford and a Jeep that towed a James motorcycle on trailer. I was invited to attend on the Sunday to be part of a veterans parade, but having been accosted by a drunken Portugese woman, I feared worse may happen and didn't fancy having to repair Geoff's ambulance before his return from Normandy. So I went to Myerscough College.

Myerscough Agricultural College organise an open day every year to recruit new students. Alongside, and in conjunction with, the college the North West Vintage Machinery Club organise a rally. A number of our group arrived on the Friday night ready for the weekend. I arrived shortly after lunch on the Saturday. A reasonable contingent of military vehicles had turned up, along with various agricultural tractors, steam engines, classic cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and commercial vehicles. The days were spent resting and looking round the stands at the show and in the college grounds. Saturday night entertainment was provided by a local skiffle band. On the Sunday, the military contingent were asked to park their vehicles in the main arena while a two minute silence was called in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the D-Day landings.

Hornby Castle - Victory in Europe 18 - 20 June 2004

Our group's first attempt at arranging a weekend event was a major success, at least according to the people I spoke to. The event started on the Friday, mainly to set up stalls, displays and our tents for the weekend ahead. The weekend did not start so well for me however when I was given the salt to add to my cup of tea instead of the sugar. It was like drinking from the Atlantic. The stage for The Spitfires open air concert got stuck on the way onto the field and had to be pulled on by Jon's Chevy Wrecker. Most vehicles arrived under their own power however others had to be carried as is the case with this BRDMZ missile launcher. Our time was spent setting up marquees and fencing. Safety was high on the agenda, so a large hole in the field had to be filled, so what better than an unexploded bomb (well an old hot water cylinder painted grey and fitted with fins). The village committee arranged for a barbeque on the Friday night purely for the Military vehicle owners and the organising committee. This was held in the local Institute hall and was very welcome, as we also received a free concert by the Spitfires. Even the Russians were invited!


Saturday saw more vehicles arrive along with the public to view the vehicles and take a tour of the castle keep. The Spitfires gave their open air concert on the back of the artic, singing songs from the Forties. The day was spent chatting to the visitors and looking for the elusive bargains on the traders' stalls. In the evening a Forties dance was held in the Institute with an 18 piece big band. The night ended with a lone piper playing the bagpipes at midnight from the top of the castle, followed by a firework display.

Sunday saw more of the same as Saturday with the addition of a convoy road run through some of the local villages. At the end of the day, the overall impression was the weekend had been a success with the village organisers enthusing about it and the castle owner looking forward to next year. Some lessons have been learnt that will be acted upon, so next year should be even better. I am sure I speak for all the group when I say congratulations and thank you to John LePage and Barry Marshall for the time and effort put in on behalf of our group.

Finally some late additions as I received these photos from Martin Russell. The period photo could be the real thing.