Like to try re-enacting? Interested in NFS history? Like vintage vehicles? Interested in WW2 events? Like to have a go? Then why not join us? Have a look at ‘About Us’, and get in touch. Email:

Recent videos of us in action: Rufford Air Raid (2013) and by Ian Beck,  Lowdham Floods 2012, Crich Tramway Museum 2012.  newsreel of the air raid at Rufford by Ian Beck. James Walker made this video at Rufford 2012 using a tiny camera attached to his person whilst he went up the ladder! Our current leaflet is here: NFS Vehicles Group recruiting with 2014 events, and has the events list on the back.

You can contact us at or call David on 0115 9664938.

We are pleased to be associated with Home Front History. Visit their website

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Air Raid at Quorn Station, GCR 4th-5th June 2016 – instructions for reenactors

The display will be at 1:10pm on Saturday and Sunday in Quorn Yard in the space between the Goods Shed and Marquee. Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Woodhouse Road, LE12 8AG.

The detail of the scenario is here.

Please look at the GCR Wartime Weekend website here.

We are planning to take the Dodge Mobile Dam as the main vehicle in the scenario. The K2 and a pump be present, with the K2 acting as an anbulance, and we may take the TL, as that makes for very interesting public displays of a training session putting up the ladder.

Robert Blincow writes:

During the GCR weekend we will have a TV crew following us. Primarily the programme which is for Channel 5 is about caravanning and what people use them for. The crew will be doing a fly on the wall type filming which involves them following us from home and then everything we do over the weekend. They have asked for involvement in the various scenarios taking place over the weekend.

We are expecting our visitors Neil and Julie to play the roles of casualties.

Sadly, due to ill health and an impending house move, Wendy and Norman Brown will be unable to join us for the weekend.

We are expecting the following to take part:

NFS: David M, Richard B, Michael S, Dan W, Tony F,  Duncan W, Rob L (one day), Chris B, Marcus, Steve E, Adam C, Lewis S, Steve M (Sun only)
Organisation: Jan S
Blood and guts: Hannah S, Angie C
Police: John C (if available), Neill L (one day), Dan H
ARP/CD: Helen C (if available), Graham H, Victoria (one day), Lynn H (CD/medic)
Others: Colin P (lorry), Neil and Julie (civilian casualties), Kevin S, David M (American serviceman with motorcyle)
WVS: Fran M, Rhia B, Ann U
UK Home Front: WVS Rest Centre
Royal Army Service Corps: David B-H and around 5 members of MECO

The following are intending to camp: Chris B, Tony F, Lewis S.

Safety Briefing and signing-in: 9:30 Saturday and Sunday at the NFS Canteen, which will be outside the Butler Henderson cafe. (Briefing in cafe if wet). Tea will be available for participants.

During the morning, the NFS crew will parade on for inspection at 10:15 (TBC), followed by kit checking. A TL drill session at 10:45, followed by an early lunch. At 12:15 there will be a final briefing for anyone who missed the earlier one, followed by final preparations for the scenario, which will involve:

  • Checking the wagons are damp.
  • Getting the lorry into place.
  • Erecting the crowd barriers.
  • Putting out the incendiary pyros.
  • Liaising with GCR about ‘bang’ pyros (Carl Bourke).
  • Sound check.
  • Siren check.
  • Buckets of emergency water behind and in the open wagon.
  • Final safety check with Noel Bedder – Fire & Safety officer

The NFS crew will ensure that the open wagon is well doused with water before the public arrive, to make sure that there is no possibility of a real fire. If the weather is hot, it will be doused again an hour before the display.

The mobile dam will be filled with water from the Petrol Tank Wagon before the public arrive.

As we don’t expect an ambulance to be present, we will use our NFS K2 as an ambulance to take the casualties from the air raid scene to the UK Home Front rest centre for treatment.

Posted in 1940s Events, Air Raid, Dodge Mobile Dam, K2 ATV GLT676, K4 TL GXN215, Mobile Canteen, Re-enactor info | Tagged | Leave a comment

Photos from the Newark 75th Anniversary Commemoration

This gallery contains 29 photos.

Some photos from Timothy Rogers.

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Newark Advertiser photos

In preparation for the Commemorative re-enactment of the Newark Air Raid, the Newark Advertiser came down to our storage facility to take some publicity photos. As it happens, a building had just been demolished, so we had the perfect backdrop. Lewis, Richard and I got the Beresford Stork to work.

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Article in Newark Advertiser, and Convoy Instructions

If you would like to come on the convoy to NSK and on to the Market Square and Church Service, please read the Instructions for the Convoy and Church Service Sun 6th March.

4 managers from NSK will be there to show us round.

You should see:
• Traces of the ‘Ransome and Marles’ painting on the old frontage
• The old office entrance to the ‘Stanley Works’
• The drawings of the underground dressing station, and the (sealed up) entrance to it in the car park
• Old camouflage paint and bomb damage to walls and windows as we walk down the main access road.
• The Memorial Garden, where we plan to lay a wreath beneath the memorial plaque. This is on the site of the old General Stores, and just a few yards from where the first bomb dropped.
• The ‘shrapnel-proof’ concrete roof to the old Power House

There is a nice article in the Newark Advertiser here.

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NSK visit and Radio interview today

Stanley Works frontageWe are delighted to announce that NSK, the current owners of the former Ransome and Marles works, are happy to accommodate our visit on the Sunday afternoon following the air raid.

The convoy will set off from the Air Museum as soon after 3:45 as possible, and certainly before 4pm. We need to get to NSK soon after 4pm so that we can allow 30 minutes there, and still get to the Market Square by 4:45, to be parked up and ready for the church service at St Mary’s (next to the Market Square) at 5pm.

IMG_20160226_100353 IMG_20160226_101817The Facilities Manager at NSK is very pleased that people are taking an interest in the history of the old Works, and has arranged for himself and three other managers to be present to escort us round. They have also managed to waive the ‘no photography’ ban on the site for our visit.

We will be able to go into the courtyard behind reception where the old Stanley Works entrance used to be, and then go down the main Works access road, very close to where one of the direct hits landed. You can see wartime camouflage paint still on the brickwork. There is impact damage still visible round the window frames from that day. This is the access road that was blocked by debris, and 500 men were involved in clearing it. At the end is a small memorial garden, with a plaque remembering the dead. The plaque should be cleaned up a bit by next week! We plan to lay a wreath here.

IMG_20160226_103029The original plans for the underground casualty Treatment centre will be on show. They would like to be able to open up the basement, as it still exists, but there are safety issues, as seven of the original eight entrances have been sealed. The remaining entrance is under 4 steel plates in the car park by the road.

You can still make out the letters of ‘Ransome and Marles’ on the masonry behind the old entrance.

We suggest that people in modern cars coming to the church service drive to NSK, and then we pack people into the minimum number of vehicles for the short run to the church. We will then get people back to NSK to recover their cars. There should be quite a few seats in vintage vehicles.

This afternoon, I spoke about Wartime re-enacting on the Verity Cowley Show on Radio Nottingham today. You can hear it from 3:15:45 – 3:32:00 on the link here.

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Newark Air Raid 75th commemoration – final instructions

Stanley Works frontageThe final instructions are now available to download. All participants of the event must read these carefully.

Newark Air Raid Final Instructions

Additionally, please let me know by 28 Feb (by email

  • Your choice of what sort of casualty you would like to be, from: Lucky, Dusty, Walking wounded or Bloody Casualty.
  • Whether you plan to come on the convoy; modern or historic vehicle.
  • Whether you plan to come to the church service, or would like to stay with vehicles.

The publicity leaflet is available here as well. R & M Information leaflet

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Ransome and Marles 75th anniversary – leaflet available

Stanley Works frontageClick here to download the R & M Information leaflet which has all the timings for the weekend. More detailed information will come out for re-enactors in the next week or so.

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Plans for a significant air raid at Quorn GCR, 3rd-5th June 2016

Quorn YardThe display will be at 1:10pm on Saturday and Sunday in Quorn Yard in the space between the Goods Shed and Marquee. Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Woodhouse Road, LE12 8AG.

The storyline is this:

A number of wagons have been delivered to Quorn Yard the previous day, and are standing on the siding between the signalbox and the gate to the platform. These consist of:

  • a couple of box vans containing a consignment of explosives for the local Home Guard and Army platoons.
  • A ‘Shell’ tanker wagon full of petrol.
  • An open plank wagon with sundry supplies.

The A group from the Royal Army Service Corps commandeer a local lorry to move the explosives. A couple of railway workers are nearby. Julie has just met her husband Neil off the train, and come down to chat to the soldiers, as they recognise one of them, when the siren sounds. They barely have time to take cover when a single German plane passes overhead and drops a stick of three bombs and a cluster of incendiaries, straffing the railway yard. One bomb explodes harmlessly on the embankment on the far side of the line. The second hits the open wagon, while the third lands as a UXB somewhere in the yard. A number of incendiaries also fall, showering sparks over the wagon.


Rufford Air Raid

Rufford Air Raid

The second bomb and the incendiaries are the big worry – they start a fire, and smoke billows out of the wagon. There will be a major incident if it spreads to the explosives or petrol wagons. As the dust clears, we see that both Neil and Julie were unlucky enough to get caught by the shrapnel, and are badly injured. Eleanor who also happened to be nearby is also hurt. The Sergeant realises the seriousness of the situation, and orders David, an off-duty American Serviceman, to fetch assistance, as he happens to be waiting for a friend with his motorcycle. ARP wardens rush down from the Station buildings with a bucket and stirrup pump, and try to stop the fire spreading, but it is futile. A crowd of onlookers appear, and the Police keep them back at a safe distance.

The NFS are quickly on the scene with a mobile dam, and K2 van and trailer pump. They get a hose run out, and douse the wagon, putting the fire out before it spread to the explosives or petrol. Meanwhile other firemen, helped by ARP wardens tend to Wendy and Norman while stretchers are brought. Some walking wounded make their way on foot (or by commandeered cars, which happen to be parked in the yard nearby) to the a safe place at the far end of the yard. Wendy and Norman are helped into the K2, which doubles as a temporary ambulance, to take them to the WVS rest centre for treatment. 

As the ‘all clear’ sounds on the sirens, a crowd gather round the rest centre to see the casualties being treated.

Wendy and Norman Brown are our regular ‘bloody casualties’ and have quite a knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the bombs are falling. There may even be a chance to see the makeup artists in action. Sadly this weekend, Wendy and Norman  are unwell, and cannot join us. However, they have doubles in the form of Neil and Julie, here on their first 40s event and being filmed by Channel 5, to take their places.

Notes for re-enactors are here.

Details on GCR website.

Posted in 1940s Events, Air Raid, Dodge Mobile Dam, Events 2016, K2 ATV GLT676, K4 TL GXN215, Mobile Canteen | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Remembering the London Blitz


Yesterday, a small group of us, David and Frances, Richard, Michael, Peter, Angus and Frazer went to London to commemorate 75th anniversary of the devastating air raid of 29th December 1940. We remember the heroic actions of the AFS, fire watchers, ARP and WVS on that night in which a 8 historic Wren churches, together with the Guildhall, and almost an entire square mile of the historic City of London was destroyed. Around 160 were killed as well as 14 firemen, with many more injured, and thousands left homeless.

We drove to Hertford, took the train to Moorgate, and walked to St Paul’s. We expected everyone to be there by then, but Massey Shaw had done some pumping in the morning, and people watched that from Allhallows Lane by Dowgate Fire Station before coming up to St Paul’s. In the afternoon, there were a few trips round the city, before everyone returned to Dowgate to wait for the siren at 6:05 and the special cavalcade round the City, led by a police car, escorted by two police cyclists, and tailed by a modern fire engine.

Thanks to Pascal Beauverd, Martin Cook and Margaret Dorman for a number of the photos.

Bomb damage seen from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral


A few videos:

And a few interesting articles:
The iconic photo: St Paul’s Survives

The Second Great Fire of London

An interesting account:

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Remembering the Sheffield Blitz 75th Anniversary 12 December 2015

Last Sunday, Fran and I, Michael and Richard took the Turntable Ladder and a car-full of exhibits to the event at Sheffield Cathedral.

Blitz event at Sheffield Cathedral

Blitz event at Sheffield Cathedral

We set off really well, with the vehicle going like a train, averaging 30+mph, until we were within 15
miles of Sheffield. Then the trouble began. There was a complete loss of power, which I put down to running out of petrol, so put another 2 gallons in from a can. Got going, then same again. Fuel blockage. Checked the lines, and it seemed clear. We ran a bit further and stopped on the M1 roundabout. A very kind woman pulled up and handed us a Hi-Vis jacket. We then pulled forward into the forecourt of Anston Fire Station. A great place to break down – the firefighters gave us tea, offered toast, and somewhere dry to look at the vehicle. I cleared some dirt out of the filter, while Richard and Michael went ahead and set up a display. We got going, and only stopped once more on the way to clean out the filter again.

Blitz event at Sheffield Cathedral

Blitz event at Sheffield Cathedral

It was a truly magnificent event, where we met our friends Ian and Rob from 39-45 Allied
Group, UK Homefront, who were manning an ARP rest centre, Roger and Dianne from Birddog, and a number of other groups and reenactors, together with music and George Formby.

In the event, partly because of other commitments, and the atrocious weather, we decided to miss the event at The Moor Market in the evening, which we a pity. They showed the same file as was screened 75 years ago, and had sirens and searchlights, and a fire engine from the Emergency Services Museum.

We were allowed to park overnight in the Eyre Street Central Fire Station, thanks to South Yorks Fire and Rescue. Before returning, I fitted an extra fuel filter, to make sure nothing blocked the small metal filter.

Recovery Home (5)Oh dear, the journey home from Sheffield on Sunday afternoon was more eventful than hoped. Engine ran well until we ran out of petrol, but it didn’t self prime after filling from cans. Sorted in a few minutes, but the big problem came when the headlights shorted out and filled the cab with smoke. Luckily only a small bit of wire smoked, not the whole loom. Although I managed to isolate the short, and rig dipped headlights to come on with the ignition, Autohome Assistance recommended recovery, which arrived around 7pm, and we were all home by 8:30pm. Thank you Autohome.

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