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

Posted on by lowdhamstation | Leave a comment

Photos from the Newark 75th Anniversary Commemoration

This gallery contains 29 photos.

Some photos from Timothy Rogers.

More Galleries | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 1940s Events, Beresford Stork Trailer Pump | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 1940s Events, Air Raid, Church Parade, Instructions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 1940s Events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Air Raid, Re-enactor info | Tagged | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 1940s Events, Events 2016, Remembrance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Plans for a significant air raid at Quorn GCR

We have just had a very positive meeting with Kate, Hayley and Martin of the Great Central Railway about plans for the 1940s weekend on 3rd-5th June 2016.

Quorn YardWe have earmarked a space (obviously subject to confirmation at this stage) between the Goods Shed and the turntable for a display. Our current idea for 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 box van 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 Home Guard commandeer a local lorry to move the explosives. A couple of railway workers are nearby. Because of the importance of the shipment, Norman the Stationmaster is supervising the job. His wife Wendy appears on the scene bringing a message and his lunch 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. One 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.


Rufford Air Raid

Rufford Air Raid

The second bomb is the big worry – it starts 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 Wendy and Norman were unlucky enough to get caught by the shrapnel. Some of the soldiers are also hurt, one or two quite badly. The Sergeant realises the seriousness of the situation, and sends a despatch rider to fetch assistance. 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, and possibly the Turntable Ladder. 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 away for treatment. The remaining Home Guard men search the yard for the UXB, and erect some temporary fencing around it to keep people away.

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

Later in the day, the Bomb Disposal squad arrive to defuze the UXB in the yard.

Wendy and Norman 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.

This event has the potential to include a number of different groups or individuals, and other vintage vehicles, beside the fire engines. Police, ARP, medics, WVS, Press as well as Army / Home Guard. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Kate Tilley at the Great Central Railway office (01509) 632323, or email

Details on GCR website.

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

Posted in Remembrance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 1940s Events, K4 TL GXN215, Remembrance, Workshop and Restoration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

75th Anniversary Memorial Events 2016 – Newark

7th March 1941 saw a daring raid by two German bombers on Ransome and Marles, the vital bearing factory in Newark.

We are working with the events team at Newark Air Museum on a one day event on Sunday 6thMarch 2016, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Luftwaffe attack on the Ransome & Marles bearing factory.

This commemoration is a joint venture between the museum and the NFS and AFS Vehicles Group; and Newark Town Hall, Newark Cemetery, NSK (TBC) and other likeminded organisations.

This will be part of the weekend of commemorative events, starting at 1:30pm on the Saturday outside the Town Hall with the reading of the names of the 41 people killed, and culminating at the Cemetery on the Monday where 30 of the 41 are buried. The museum will also be remembering 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire; the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines of this iconic fighter used bearings from Ransome & Marles.

Fireman and ARP rescuing a young woman

The main event at the museum will be a major Air Raid starting at 1:25pm, the actual time of the air raid 75 years ago, and the events in the aftermath of this will run all afternoon.

To help make the day even more memorable the museum is looking to have visiting displays and participants that are suitable and relevant to that time. We would like to include people and/or displays within the following areas:

  • Re-enactors, particularly those portraying factory workers (the more the better), ARP, Rescue, Police, Fire Service, WVS, Ambulance, Press, Home Guard and British Army
  • Wartime and Pre-war cars and military vehicles with their occupants ideally dressing in period clothing
  • Anyone with family connections to Ransome & Marles, especially descendants of people who were there in 1941.
  • WWII Veteran Associations or those that support them commemorating their role within the period
  • Music of the time
  • Model displays of Aircraft, Ships and Vehicles from the period
  • Cockpits/Aircraft/Aircraft Interior Displays/Engines from the WWII period

The approximate timing for the day will be as follows (NB these supersede the provisional timings on the entry forms):

8am:            Museum opens for exhibitors
10am:          Museum opens to public – Exhibitors should be in place.
10:45am:   Air Raid Participants briefing – this is essential if you wish to take part.
11am:          Music and entertainment begins – get into the swing for the day.
1:35pm:      The first air raid – much damage caused by bombs and machine-gun strafing. ARPs start to evacuate workers from the factory, and the works firemen start fighting fires.
2:00pm:      The second air raid – one more bomb, and straffing. The Fire Brigade arrive to with Escape and Turntable Ladders, and mobile dam.
2:15pm:      ARP and Rescue Services rescue severely wounded casualties, including those trapped in rubble. Casualties are taken away by a military lorry, vintage cars and an ambulance all afternoon.
2:24pm:      A minute’s silence to remember the dead, at the exact time the second raid actually happened.

3:00pm:      Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal team deals with the UXBs.
3:45pm:      Reenactors and public form a convoy for a parade through Newark.
4pm:           Museum closes to public and convoy departs around Newark to the old part of the R & M building (now NSK) (TBC), and on to St Mary’s church.
5:00pm:      Special service at St Mary’s Newark by the Market Square. (Note new time, NOT 5:30 as previously advertised!)

The Stanley Engineering Works, the Newark Boiler Works and the Great Northern Plaster Works, Newark-on-Trent, 1933 - Britain from Above

Ransome and Marles: Stanley Engineering Works in 1933

The museum is also keen to hear from anyone with ideas for display items, but wonder if they would be relevant to the days theme please contact them with the details: Newark Air Museum

Newark Cemetery are also commemorating the events of 1941 on Monday 7th March, the actual anniversary.

If you would like to take part, further details and application form are here: R&M invitation and form Let’s make this a really memorable and dramatic start to the re-enacting year, and honour all those who served and died, in a fitting way.

Admission is free for booked-in re-enactors and vintage vehicle drivers, and there may be some discount for re-enactors who just turn up. Otherwise, normal entry fees apply. You can also join the Facebook event here.

Posted in 1940s Events, Events 2016, Re-enactor info, Remembrance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment