We are getting rather well-known for our air-raid scenarios, as we try to portray air raids as realistically as possible (without actually setting fire to any buildings or dropping any real bombs!). Last year we worked on involving as many other re-enactors and re-enacting groups as possible, including ARP, First Aid, Police, Civil Defence, WVS, Home Guard, as well as civilians. We are also trying to practice and train, to improve the realism of the display. If you would like to take part, please read this, and get in touch. If you can make a training session, even better.
1940s events have had a ‘battle scenario’ for years, even at ‘Home Front’ events! We are convinced that the ideal scenario for Home Front events is a realistic air raid. And that really needs an urban landscape, rather than an open field.
So railway/tramway settings work well, villages/towns/cities, and places with buildings such as Rufford and Papplewick, and Woodhall Spa. Wimpole might work, but it is a long way away. Bearing in mind that our vehicles average about 9mpg, or a litre per mile away from home per vehicle, it means that three vehicles going to an event 50 miles away will cost about 150 times the price of petrol, or rather more than £200!
2015 looks like being a rather special year. We have the 75th anniversaries of Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation in May, followed by 75th anniversaries of the Battle of Britain in the Summer, and the Blitz in the Autumn. Of course, the London Blitz ran from 7th September to 29th December (and continuing in fits and starts until 21st May the following year), punctuated by Coventry on 14th November, followed a few days later by 10 days of raids on Birmingham, and Sheffield 12th/15th December.
We also have the 70th anniversary of the V2 rockets, which landed on London and further afield between September 1944 and February 1945. But the main action was the liberation of Europe, with the bombing of Dresden on 14th February, the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini in April, and the long-awaited victory in Europe on 8th May. There were the nuclear bombs in Japan on 6th and 9th August followed by the Japanese surrender on 14th August, finally bringing the fighting of the war to a close.
Sadly, far from the war winding down, there was much pain and suffering right up to the very end.
So what of events?
The regular Chesterfield event in February or March has been cancelled for next year.
Always a nice start to the season is the Historical Bazaar at Rufford over the 25th/26th April.
Saturday 2nd May, we would like to take a vehicle to Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester for their Emergency Vehicles Day. On Monday 4th May, we have a small display at Lowdham Village Hall.
The Earl’s Barton Fire Show is a possibility, on 30th/31st May.
The Great Central Railway have their 1940s weekend on 5th-7th June, which will obviously have a ‘Victory’ feel, although it could have a ‘Battle of Britain’ theme. Either way, there will be a group of NFS firemen there doing some training exercises, possibly in conjunction with the local Police and ARP.
The Emergency Services Heritage Show at Newark Showground on 4th/5th July will be a great opportunity for a big green AFS display using Green Goddesses, RL Trucks, Land Rovers, Motorbikes, and lots of 6″ hose and tons of water. Should be a wartime display opportunity as well.
Kelham Island have just confirmed the date for their 40s event in July, but we have to miss it this year, as it clashes with Woodhall Spa.
Hot on the heels of this show is our big one of the year, at Woodhall Spa on 17th-19th July. There will obviously be a Victory feel, but it will also be the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. So there will be a major air raid, obviously targeting the Officer’s Mess, but a few bombs go astray on the Golf Hotel.
Then a small display, probably static, at the Newark Air Museum VE day celebrations on 24th-25th July.
On Sunday 23rd August, there is a 1940s day at Brayford Wharf, Lincoln. So we may
We could make a first visit to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Wartime Weekend, on 16th-18th October.
We understand that Nottingham Central Fire Station is due to close possibly later this year, or more likely in 2016 – it would be nice to do something to commemorate its passing if possible.
Likewise, it would be good to mark the Coventry (Sat 14th Nov), Sheffield (Sat 12th Dec) and London (Tues 29th Dec) Blitz anniversaries.