Weston Park Festival of Transport, April 2011

Although this show is advertised through the classic car world as a Festival of Transport, we always have a few military green machines attending. Not as many as I would like though as the location on the A5 East of Telford in Shropshire is such an easy location to travel to.
This year we went on the Saturday rather than the usual Sunday and I’m glad I did, as the number of vehicles was much better than usual.
Got talking to the owner of the lovely condition Dodge Ambulance and he allowed us to look inside and take photos. He’d got stretchers and a load of medical equipment to complement the vehicle.
Our only only whine for the show is that the military section was again placed right at the very back of the showground and if you hadn’t purposely searched them out like we did, you could have easily missed them.
Paul Wallis was there with his fantastic head turning GKN Simba.
Watch out for this at other shows and if you get the chance as we did to hear the engine tick over, it purrs like a huge leopard. From photos we’ve featured in the past of the Simba, we get many emails into our postbox asking for more details and how they can contact the owner to buy it !
So our first show of the season, and despite Weston Park’s Easter Show being famous for rain, the weather was gorgeous.

So enjoy these photos and if you’re interested in classic cars, have a look at our sister website www.classiccarblog.co.uk for loads of photos of more polished and shinier vehicles !

We visited this superb show last year and couldn’t wait for this year’s event to come round again. Not a massive show with loads of vehicles, but a lovely atmospheric show with a mix of 1940′s vehicles, clothes, music, military vehicles and re-enactors in uniform.

Held at Bantock House located in the leafy and open Bantock Park just West of the City of Wolverhampton, Helen Steatham, the museum curator, and her team must be congratulated once again for a superb two day show held over the weekend of September 4 and 5.

We thought last year was good, but this year was even better. Like last year, we visited on both days and we thought there were even more visitors than ever this year as word has spread about this friendly event.

One the main attractions of the event, the superb 1940′s room, where visitors could dress up in 1940′s clothes and accessories and have their photo taken was once again doing a roaring trade. It still amazes us that the photos we took at last year’s event of the 1940′s room remain some of the most popular on Miliblog and we’ve received many emails from our friends in the USA, especially wanting to know who the Three Glamourpusses were. Hopefully this year we can give them even more photos to excite them.

New this year was a tribute to the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain by the WW2 RAF Group re-enactors. Based on an 1940′s RAF emergency operations room at RAF Neechley, it was a recreation of an enemy air attack during the the Battle of Britain and featured WAAF’s plotting the aircraft on a huge map table, while Control at the back were receiving telephone calls and then quickly scrambling squadrons of aircraft at various airfields to go and do battle with the Luftwaffe. While most of the time the re-enactment was at stand down, every hour an enemy raid occurred and the ops room swung into action. Very realistic indeed with lots of original pieces of genuine wartime RAF equipment and uniforms, just look at our photos below. We’ll also feature the group on our Clubs page on Miliblog.

Last year there were many people from the wartime generation attending, but this year there seemed more people from younger generations. Lots of children were there with their parents, since WW2 is covered in many of the UK’s history lessons, and many were amazed to see history come alive. Wherever you looked, you saw a British Paratrooper, a desert tank commander is his sand coloured shorts, US Snowdrop Military Policemen, RAF police and lots of ladies in 1940′s clothing. The key thing being that every one was soaking up the atmosphere, especially when an entertainer arrived in the stage area and began with some wartime jokes about US soldiers being over here and pinching all our girls. He then broke into singing a number of wartime songs, which the audience really loved and joined in. The tea room was also very busy with people just enjoying the September sunshine. 

We saw many re-enactors from a number of groups, including our favourite Land Army girls from last year who we captured dancing along to 1940′s music. This year we persuaded them to pose especially for the Miliblog camera, but not without a laugh. One of the group had been sitting down with her dog, Trixie, who seized an opportunity to run over and steal of of the Land Army girl’s lunch that was on a plate on the floor. We could only laugh !!! Another group was the Victorian Westerners, who attended in 1940′s clothing, including a marvellous French Resitance fighter, which we picture below. Although often recreating either the Victorian or wild-west eras, they looked really great in 1940′s clothing, with the one lady being given some special attention by some passing GI’s !!! 

There was a nice small selection of military vehicles in attendance and we spoke to most of the owners. A lovely condition Ford GPW Jeep in RAF colours was owned by a couple, dressed in full RAF uniform to match their vehicle. Only recently completed, they’d taken the Jeep over to Normandy in June this year and enjoyed a tour of the beaches. John Vaughan was also there with his Willys MB Jeep and on the Sunday was joined by his son with his Dodge WC-52 Weapons Carrier. The Dodge had been used on a farm in Normandy for many years before laying in a pasture before being rescued by John and his family. The renovation had taken three years and a lot of hard work to get it to such a fantastic condition. They said it mainly just ventured out to local shows around the Midlands, since they got a fantastic 8 miles per gallon out of the six-cylinder engine !

So I hope you enjoy the photos below and certainly put the date in your diaries for next September, as indeed we will !!!   We can’t wait to see what Helen and her team dream up for next year. We thought last year the event couldn’t have got any better with it’s the marvellous displays and visitor participation, but we were absolutely amazed with the new ideas and features at this years show.

The sun shone brightly and a hot for the organisors of this relatively new show near the town of Evesham, in Worcestershire. Organised by the South Midlands Area of the Military Vehicle Trust, it was held at the Ashdown WW2 Camp in the village of Badsey. It was a two day event held over the weekend of 26 and 27 of June.

Paul Valiadis, a good friend of Miliblog and the Chairman of the South Midlands Area, was seen around with his high-viz jacket either ushering vehicles into the arena or having a chat to other enthusiats. Paul’s own Austin K9 Wireless Truck was there in fine condition. Sorry Paul we weren’t able to take a photo as a wire fence was in the way ! Paul’s very much a fan of Austin K9′s by the way, running the K9 Register, and no, nothing to do with either dogs or Dr Who robots !!! Sorry Paul, but we couldn’t catch up with you for a chat !!! …….but we’ll be in touch

Well, what did we think of the show ? Absolutely brilliant !!!!!! Nice display areas, a fantastic selection of vehicles, plenty of room to move around in between them, good parking and a good selection of trade stands. What also was nice to see was that there was a small selection of civilian vehicles as well, The title said Wartime in the Vale, meaning the Vale of Evesham, and of course wartime tractors, cars etc were a nice addition. There were also a number of groups of re-enactors, with the one group portraying a USMC unit making an impression with some excellent groundworks. 

Well who did we meet ? We met a great bunch of chaps with the Champ Camp of the Austion Champ Owners Club. After all these years of owning a watimr Ford Gpw Jeep, Phil Plumb made a very sound case indeed to add a Champ to our collection. He’d taken a group of Champs over to Germany last year along with some old soldiers visiting the old camps they were stationed, Around 150 miles a day over 10 days and never a complaint. Also a hello to the three guys who wanted to know if we were like the beach photographer who’d take their photo and then be back for £5 for the photo next day. Well you’re here free of charge !!!

So we’d read last year that the show had the making of becoming a great show in the future, and all we can say is that we agree 100%. There’s the room to grow and communications to get there are good to. So a highly recommended show for next year’s diary.  

The Malvern Militaria Convention held at the Three Counties Showground has long been established and is in all our diaries. Run by Amanda and Graham Lycett of Jeeparts fame, it’s a great show to find lots of military bits and bobs from uniforms, vehicles, parts, badges etc.

With this successful show behind them, Amanda and Graham organised their first show held at the Stafford County Showground, just North of the town of Stafford and only a stone’s through away from RAF Stafford. Held on Sunday, May 2, just before a bank holiday here in the UK, Miliblog ventured out into the damp weather to see how it was.

There were many regulars from Malvern there and a good turnout of stands with some very exciting things for sale. Just look at some of the photos below to see. However, whether it was the weather or what but there didn’t seem to be many people there looking round. Chatting to some of the stallholders, they said it had been a little slow and by mid afternoon, most of them were just having a talk about all sorts of military things. I know i took part in quite a few myself !!! But it was the first show there and it definitely has the makings of being as good a show as Malvern. It certainly deserves the support of all us military enthusiasts and of course all the stallholders to return next time. So we wish Amanda and Graham good luck for the next one.

The War and Peace Show were there selling dvd’s of a selection of year’s shows along with a raffle to win a full size Jeep at this year’s show. Monty’s Locker were selling a fantastic range of repro wartime British army cloth badges, but were rather sensative when we tried to take a photo. Perhaps they thought we were going to copy them ! Jeeparts had a massive stand their along with Universal both selling a whole range of parts and accessories for your wartime Willys or Ford Jeep or even your postwar Hotchkiss Jeep. We even looked at some tyres for my old Ford GPW and nearly got my credit card out. Also it was quite unusual to see a Soviet WW2 machine gun, you know the one on wheels ! Especially having seen so many in our Eastern Front Photo Collection of the gun in actual wartime settings.

So enjoy the photos below and hopefully soak up the atmosphere. We did try and speak to Amanda a couple of times, but she was surrounded by hunky security chaps. Perhaps we were classed as the Paparazzi !

After last year’s horrendous heavy rain, this year’s Wolverhampton Steam Fair and Transport Rally was a complete contrast. Warm and sunny it brought the crowds back like it did for the 2008 show. As usual, it was organised by Wolverhampton City Council over the weekend of June 5/6 and held right in the city centre West Park, a glorious park dating back to the early Victorian times. Along with loads of classic cars and commercials, there was an excellent turnout for the military vehicle section, with some new local Midlands vehicles attending for the first time. Spread over two days, the Saturday includes a parade through the city centre where even the ring-road is partially closed for a convoy of vehicles to snake it’s way along, including some early steam traction engines. We attended just the first day this year, as the family had plans for my gardening skils the next day !!!   

First we spoke to Christopher Tallents with his superb Land Rover S3 Shorland Armoured Car which had a Ulster Defence Force flag flying from it. He’d had it a number of years and bought it from Budge’s over in Nottingham. He said they had a whole row of them at the time wedged in between two buildings, but the best one, which Christopher chose, had to be lifted out by a giant crane. He’s traced the history and it was used by one and then another regiment of the UDR in Northern Ireland.

It was also good to see Phil Palmer once again with his marvellous Dodge Weapons Carrier in US Navy colours and also his Leyland Hippo 10 Tonner, which seems to get better each year like a good wine or a fine Stilton cheese.

Paul Wallis and his crew of two made a fine appearance with his rare GKN Simba armoured car. We asked if it was a development of the Saxon armoured car, but Paul said only the wheels and axles wrer common to it. This actual vehicle was used by the GKN sales force for demonstrations and for exhibitions and was in just like new condition. We watched and listened as they drove of at the end of the show on Saturday and it had a lovely deep throat growl to it. Fantastic !!! Other photos taken last year of the Simba have proven from our statistics to be one of the most viewed, and especially with our Japanese visitors, which we mentioned to Paul. No surprise, he said, as most of the sales of Simba’s were to the Far East. 

We ventured over to the commercial section and found an ex-RAF Dodge Commando RG13 Coach that had been converted to an ambulance which you see below.

Also was a lovely Bedford OL 3 Tonner truck, which at first I walked by until I noticed on the back it had ‘ex-WD’ painted on. So I set about looking for the brass plate on the chassis that would reveal the old army registration number. Round the corner came Peter and Judith Bott, the owners who wondered what I was up to ! We then had a chat about the vehicle’s history. It had been bought from an ex-army sale in 1966 by Peter’s father and used in the family coal delivery business until being retired and renervated by Peter. Since the show we’ve emailed Peter with the details of the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Deepcut Barracks so he can trace the service record of his Bedford.

So once again a great show and we can’t wait for next year !

Held over the Easter weekend, The Festival of Transport is organised by Geoff and Linda Price. They are well known in the Midlands for organising classic car shows and I think this is their first show of the season.

Set in the lovely grounds of Weston Park in Shropshire, a stately home just off the main A5 just East of Telford. It’s usually a great event for classic car enthusiasts but with many other attractions as well. These include a small military section, commercial vehicles and a nice autojumble.

Miliblog is soon to launch a sister website devoted to classic cars and so we were wearing two hats when we visited the show. After a large family gathering on Easter Sunday, we set off early on Easter Monday morning  for the show. In typical British style, the weather for Easter had been cold and wet which I think persuaded many classic car owners to stop at home in the warm !!!

Once we found our military vehicle section, it was a little disappointing to find only four vehicles. It was nearly five, but a nice Austin Champ had had enough of the cold and was driving off with all it’s side screens in place keeping the driver and crew all snug inside.

So our selection has three types of Land Rovers and a Bedford RL Green Goddess fire engine. However the day was not without a find, as I managed to buy a genuine 1940 petrol can for £7. Marked with ‘petroleum spirit’ and a famous ‘WD 1940′ stamped on the top, it had layers of paint on it added over the years. I’ll certainly enjoy stripping it down and finding the original colour green underneath. If only it could talk and tell you it’s story !

So a good day out for old vehicles, but if you only wanted to see green machines, then you may have been dissappointed.

Believe it or believe it not, this was the 34th West Midlands Military Show organised by the Alumwell Wargames Society. Run by Dave Jarman and Paul Yates, this year’s venue was once again at the Aldersley Leisure Village just outside Wolverhampton and was held on Sunday, March 21.  

There were lots of enthusiasts at the show, many with their wallets out and treating themselves at the selection of the trade stands. There were also many live wargames going on from all periods of history, from Ancient Greeks, American Civil War and even WW! Aerial Combat with small planes on wires.

Our first photo shows a nice wargame featuring the the Normandy town of Courseuilles which was part of Juno beach on D-Day and demonstrated by the Earlswood Wargamers from Birmingham.

Normandy Landings Wargame

Normandy Landings Wargame

We then move on the first of the trade stands and feature a superb range of cast resin military vehicle models from Minimi Miniatures. Martin and Andy were there helping owner Lewis on the stand and you can see below the level of detail in these one-piece castings in 1:76 scale, As an idea, the Jeep model is around 50mm long.

Minimi Models Allied Vehicles

Minimi Models Allied Vehicles

Minimi Models Allied Vehicles

Minimi Models Allied Vehicles

Minimi Models Italian Vehicles

Minimi Models Italian Vehicles

Minimi Models German Vehicles

Minimi Models German Vehicles

Can you believe these detailed German vehicles and guns are a single casting ?!!!!! Next we moved onto QRF Models who had a similar range of 1:76 scale models but cast in metal rather than resin. Quite a large range  with many unusual models available.

QRF Models Stand

QRF Models Stand

QRF Models

QRF Models

We then had a chat with a couple of guys from the Meir Model Club of Stoke who had brought along some samples of their work, including many WW2 Russian models.

Meir Model Club 1:35 scale tanks

Meir Model Club 1:35 scale tanks

Meir Model Club 1:35 scale tanks

Meir Model Club 1:35 scale tanks

Other stands appearing at the show included Kit Korner specialising in rare current plastic kits and Pendraken Miniatures who have a huge range of small cast metal figures from all eras and model military vehicles in 1:100 scale which are a delight and we couldn’t resist in buying some.

So a nice show with a great atmosphere and highly recommended. Watch out for the 35th show in March 2011.

Congratulations once again to everyone at Bantock House Museum for another brilliant 1940′s Weekend. Held over the weekend of September 5th/6th at the Bantock House Museum, in Bantock Park in Wolverhampton, the event was part of the museum’s 1940′s month. There are various events going on during the month including a Make Do and Mend event, a 1940′s Room set up and a 1940′s Dance at the House on September 26th. Visit the link below for further information. The enthusiasm of all the team there is brilliant and there are many displays of wartime items within the Museum, including newspapers etc 

Although only a small event in comparison to others, the atmosphere here is really electric, where you can feel the enthusiasm of all taking part. Some may even say a wartime spirit prevailed ! Led by Helen Steatham, the Curator and Manager at Bantock House Museum along with Jane James, the Education Officer, the event has been going for quite a few years, at least five to my knowledge.

There are many displays of the various aspects of the homelife during the Second World War, from rug making from worn out old clothes, to a display of Wren’s, the women’s branch of the Royal Navy. Another had a display of Home Guard equipment, or Dad’s Army or even LDV’s as they were first known as. LDV stood for Local Defence Volunteers. Most I understood are run by small groups of enthusiasts that come together for the event.

Another area ran by two very enthusiastic ladies, with one looking really smart in a WAAF’s uniform, was the 1940′s Room, where you could dress up in 1940′s clothes and have your photograph taken in a replica of a 1940′s dining room. We have an example below, where the three ladies were really enjoying themselves dressing up with wigs as well as the clothes and accessories of the time.

The Museum cafe was doing a roaring trade and many took advantage of the nice sunny afternoon to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea and some nice cake. There were many live performances singing 1940′s songs and also a mid-afternoon sing-a-long of wartime hits took place. Many of the visitors were from the wartime era themselves and really entered into the spirit of things by dressing up in wartime civilian clothing. On the Saturday afternoon, a much younger generation were dressed as Land Army girls and had a fun time dancing to wartime music that was being played over the speakers. 

On the vehicles front, we saw a nice Willys MB Jeep and Harley Davidson WL750 with sidecar on the Saturday and then a Dodge Weapons Carrier with two more Willys MB Jeeps on the Sunday. One of the Jeeps was an early Willys Script Jeep converted to an SAS jeep used in North Africa, complete with jerrycans, machine guns etc. With so many people attending, it was difficult to get a clear shot.

There were also a few re-enactment chaps there showing uniforms and equipment of German, British and US paratroopers. At least three of them were camping out on Saturday night armed with a bottle or two of bourbon whisky to keep the night cold air out, as they told me.

So to sum up, a super friendly event that is highly recommended. Usually held on the first weekend in September, pop it down in your diary for next year. I know this year the event on the Sunday, in particular was so popular, that by mid-afternoon the Museum carpark was so full, that cars were being turned away to find alternative parking in the roads nearby.  Have a look at the photos below to see what a great event it was.      

LINK TO BANTOCK HOUSE MUSEUM

Held in the charming town of Kington, this annual show was cancelled last year due to heavy rain and flooding, and so the organisers of the show needed good weather to keep the club in funds. After all the cold and rainy weather of recent weeks effecting many shows up and down the country, the organisers must have been relieved when the weekend was dry and sunny and sometimes quite warm as well.

Held over two days, on the 15th and 16th of August, the show caters for all types of classic vehicles. Kington is situated approx 15 miles East of Leominster in Herefordshire on the A44. At Trimpley show a couple of weeks earlier we’d been recommended that the Kington Show was good but we hadn’t been prepared for the number of vehicles on show. There must have been about 200 classic cars from not only the 1950′s, 60′s, 70′s and 80′s but also some superb pre-war cars as well, including a couple of wonderful Sunbeams. Lots, probably over 100, of other stuff from trucks, buses, tractors and steam traction engines. Another highly recommended show and we must congratulate the organisers for a wonderful day out. Put it in your diary for next year.

Ok now down to the green stuff. Miliblog attended on the Sunday and below you can see the lovely vehicles that were there. One Willys MB Jeep I recognised right away was EJW 816, which was the Jeep featured on the cover of the Brooklands Books Collection No1 book published in 1983. The book’s a collection of articles and photos of Jeeps from 1942-1954. The Wye Valley branch of the MVT were there and with my wife happily reading the Sunday Times along with a coffee, I was able to have a chat with a couple of similar enthusaiats from the club. One opened up his S3 Lightweight so we could get the army registration number for us and the other turned out to be the Chairman of the branch itself. Apologies for not getting your names, but we enjoyed a chat on shows and vehicles which is what it’s all about ! Now we’ve able to fix the link to the Wye Valley website on our Links page so you can also meet the guys !

Definitely one for the diary for next year !

A fantastic show with a wonderful atmosphere. Run by enthusiasts for fellow enthusiasts. Based in the middle of glorious countryside, just North of Kidderminster in Worcestershire and just South of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, it was a one day event held on Sunday, August 2nd. After all the rain in July we had been having, the day was bright and mostly sunny and I think that many enthusiasts, particularly with the classic cars, had thought let’s have a day out.

The Black Country at War Group were there with two nice Land Rovers as well as lots of kit and equipment. They also had a nice Sankey trailer, that the one member had converted to look even more military. He’d certainly made a very professional job of it.

Further along were Dave Spruce’s Austin K5, a Moggy 1000 Traveller, a Champ and a Hothkiss M201 Jeep. Then I spotted an Austin 10hp Light Utility which belonged to Tony Whitehead and his charming wife, who I hadn’t seen for over 25 years, so it was great to catch up.

A most unusual vehicle was the GKN Alvis Simba Armoured Car, which I think was a prototype for the Saxon APC. The interior looked similar, but with a side door instead, while the driver’s seat looked straight out of the Saxon. The owners wasn’t available to ask, but I remember reading somewhere that it had been almost abandoned up a corner of the GKN factory and a chap who worked there had managed to buy it. Maybe someone could confirm this or not ?

Any way a superb show and we’ll be back next year. Maybe there will be more MV’s next year ?!!!

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