1940s at the Great Central Railway – a weekend of contrasts

We took the K4 TL and the K2 and Dennis trailer pump to Quorn Station. The previous week, the weather had been horrendous, but on Friday evening, I took the dam to Quorn and set a hose pipe filling it. On Saturday morning, Dan, James, Michael and I got the vehicles to Quorn and met up with David Needham. We did a good demonstration with the TL, which worked well.

At 3pm each afternoon, we had planned an ‘air raid’, which started with Michael sounding the air raid siren, which was to be the the cue for the PA to start the soundtrack which has sirens, the sound of bombers overhead, bombs falling, a dogfight, and the sound of fires starting. As the sound of the bombs came on, the pyrotechnics guy set of a firecracker, and smoke from the smoke generator envelopes the wagon in the back siding. At this point, the bells go down at the base camp, and the two vehicles come to the scene, bells ringing, and the trailer pump is set into the 500-gallon dam. The TL is raised, and a jet of water trained on the wagon.

But 15 minutes before the display, the PA guy was nowhere to be found. He was eventually tracked down just a few minutes before time, and needing 30 minutes to set up, we decided to run without sound. And to make matters worse, the pump wouldn’t start. It didn’t start first or second try, and by the fifth try, the battery was flat. The battery was probably on its way out after the winter (this was our first proper re-enactment this year). Deeply disappointing.

But things were very different on Sunday, when in delightful sunshine, I think we did our best re-enactment event ever. The sound system was checked well in advance. The pyro guy wired two shots instead of just one. The battery in the pump was charged, and the pump started first go. There was little wind, and the smoke looked good. The jet from the monitor on the TL was just right, and played on the ‘burning’ wagon. The crowds were marshalled by an ARP warden, a regular policeman and an MP. There was an adequate supply of water, and the crowd loved it. All very satisfying, and dispelled the disappointment of the of the previous day.

We also did a very successful TL drill twice on Sunday. All the demonstrations we did were well attended – probably the best attended of all the demonstrations from the various groups at Quorn.

As we were a bit short-staffed, we didn’t have anyone available to take any photos, so if anyone took any photos that they wouldn’t mind being posted on this site, please get in touch, or email them to david@lowdhamstation.me.uk – thanks. And if you took any video, and could upload it to youtube and send me a link, even better.

About lowdhamstation

I am a director of a small (and very technical) business, a committed Christian, a Reader (and preacher) in my local village church, husband to my dear Frances, am interested in heritage railways, and heritage fire engines. I currently run a group that displays wartime and early post-war fire engines at 1940s re-enacting events and steam engine rallies. O yes, and vintage cars and motorbikes, and we live in a Victorian railway station.
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