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Yorkshire Wartime Experience

The Weekend of 9th & 10th July saw us at the Yorkshire Wartime Experience near Cleckheaton. The weather was warm and dry all weekend with periods of glorious sunshine. Some of us arrived on Friday night to set up camp on a hill top with a fabulous view.

Saturday morning saw us doing some home improvements to our usual spot on the edge of the arena/battlefield and soon all was in order again. Adam had made a visit to the site a few days before to set the ball rolling.

Cooking and brewing up on a newly made Benghazi Burner was the focus of much attention from the public and an extra detail added to our trench scenario display along with a new sign warning drivers of the danger of making too much dust (courtesy of Adam’s sister, my daughter Alana).

The mock battle towards the end of the day went fine but we thought there were areas where improvements could be made which we would implement on the Sunday. Adam’s new STEN behaved just like a, well, STEN being a bit of a hit and miss. Inspection of the magazines after  revealed congealed oil had attracted grit. We cleaned them thoroughly and did not oil them again having heard that no lube is better for a STEN than wet lube. Dry lube being best of all.

The amount of armour attending the event  was down on previous years but there was enough to put on good displays and a good mock battle and how often do you get to see a Panzer III and a M36 (Jackson) Tank Destroyer charging around having a race?

There was a flypast by a Spitfire during the afternoon but because I was not wearing my ‘Captain Mainwaring’ type glasses all I could see was a blur so I have no idea which one it was. It sounded good though as it zoomed overhead. 

A good evening was had by all on the Saturday evening in the beer tent and three of the lads decided to be totally authentic by spending the night in one of the trenches using just the kit the veterans would have had back in 1944. 

My idea of getting a ride in a Sherman turret alongside the ‘Oddball’ lookalike by dressing up as his side kick ‘Turk’ had come to nothing as no Shermans had  turned up and neither had the ‘Oddball’ lookalike so I wore the outfit to the beer tent. Only one person seemed to recognise who I was supposed to be!

Sunday was pretty much a re-run of Saturday however Adam and I decided to get a shave in the trench using period razors including original razor blades. Mmmm, I think we will have to find some modern razor blades which fit our original razors before we do that again!

The mock battle went much better this time. I donated my rifle to Alex and watched instead of taking part. I have to say it looked really good with two (wartime strength) sections advancing  carefully in the company of a Valentine D.D. Tank (the only one in the world no less) and then spreading out and moving up in fire and movement leaps to engage the enemy. This time Adam’s STEN behaved much better and it was nice to hear extended bursts coming from it. It seems to be a bit choosy on the brand of blanks it likes but we have now found one it does like.

After the battle the event wound down very quickly and there really was no point in sticking about until the bitter end at 5.00 before moving  so we gradually packed up and ended the day with a reasonable getaway time.

All in all a very enjoyable weekend made even more so by the company who were there. It was nice to see a couple of the newer faces with Rob for both days and  Keith for the Sunday.

Next event is Pateley Bridge 1940s weekend on 29th& 30th  July.

Article by: Private Dale Heaton.        

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