Then&Now,D-Day,Brixham Hards

Brixham Hards, South Devon, England, UK

The invasion of France in 1944 was a huge task, and the biggest armada of ships ever collected for a military invasion. We will never see such a thing again, which is a huge relief I’m sure you will agree !

All along the Southern coast of England there are all sizes of ports and harbours. To mount such an invasion meant embarking thousands of troops into landing craft of all sizes and transporting them to Normandy, or as our American cousins call it, the far shore.

The D-Day landings in Normandy consited of five main landing beaches. The British landed on Sword and Gold beaches in the East, the Canadians at Juno in the middle and the Americans landed at Utah and Omaha beaches in the West. So it made good logistical sense for the Americans to use the ports and harbours in the South West of England in the counties of Cornwall and Devon. Such towns as Falmouth, Weymouth, Torquay, and Brixham were all places filled with landing craft and the GI’s with all their equipment. 

There’s one famous photo featured in most books of the D-Day landings of some US Army vehicles driving down to the hards to embark onto the landing craft. We wanted to find this location and see if anything is still left. Success ! Below are comparable photos along with a few additional photos of the road down and the hard itself. Doesn’t seem to have changed much, does it ? Just imagine how these GI’s were feeling as they drove down this road. Oh, I forgot to mention where it was… Brixham !

Brixham Hard June 1944

Brixham Hard June 1944

Brixham Hard, July 2010

Brixham Hard, July 2010

Brixham Hard, July 2010, the road down

Brixham Hard, July 2010, the road down

Brixham Hard, July 2010, landing craft long departed

Brixham Hard, July 2010, landing craft long departed

NEW THIS WEEK – MONDAY 12 JULY 2010

Hi and welcome to what’s new this week. Well Miliblog have been on holiday this week down to South Devon in England, to the beautiful town of Dartmouth. Located on the river Dart and only a few hundred meters from the open sea, during WW2 it had a large repair yard set up by the US Navy to get loads of landing craft ready for the D-Day landings. East of Dartmouth are the seaside towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, all famous in D-Day history as embarkation ports for US troops heading off to Normandy. There’s one famous photo featured in most books of the D-Day landings of some US Army vehicles driving down to the hards to embark onto the landing craft. We wanted to find this location and see if anything is still left. Success ! Below are comparable photos along with a few additional photos of the road down and the hard itself. Doesn’t seem to have changed much, does it ? Just imagine how these GI’s were feeling as they drove down this road. Oh, I forgot to mention where it was… Brixham !

Brixham Hard June 1944

Brixham Hard June 1944

Brixham Yard July 2010

Brixham Yard July 2010

Brixham Hard, the road down, July 2010

Brixham Hard, the road down, July 2010

Brixham Hard, close up, July 2010

Brixham Hard, close up, July 2010

Next week we’ll feature Slapton Sands and some photos of a nice peaceful beach which was a lot different over 60 years ago ! Until then have a great week ahead !

Cheerio !

Simon

NEW THIS WEEK – MONDAY 5 JULY 2010

Welcome to what’s new on Miliblog this week which is short yet very interesting. The question we’re asking this week is what happens to our old military vehicles after we’ve sold them ? We often sell them to fellow collectors in the same area or even the same military vehicle club and so often see our old pride and joy at shows over the years. However sometimes they just seem to disappear off the scene altogether !

This week were contacted by a good friend in the United Arab Emerites (UAR) with a fantastic story. He came across a UAR national who is a huge Land Rover fan and has a collection of early 1950′s Landies. It appears his uncle, also a huge Land Rover fan, bought two old Bedford’s in the UK last year, an RL Green Goddess and a lovely QLD 3Tonner GS. Our friend Ben Vaux saw the same Bedford on Miliblog in a photos taken some time ago, and contacted us.

He said he’d had the honour of driving the Bedford across the desert at 30 degrees heat to a classic car show where it won oldest vehicle at the show.

Ben’s kindly sent us a photo and given us permission to share it with you all. We’ve also added below the photo of the same QLD from Miliblog taken in 1987 at, I think, the D-Day Show on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, for you to compare.

Bedford QLD 3Ton GS (2463 RU) In the Gulf 2010

Bedford QLD 3Ton GS (2463 RU) In the Gulf 2010

Bedford QLD 3Ton GS (2463 RU) In 1987

Bedford QLD 3Ton GS (2463 RU) In 1987

So short and sweet !

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon !!!

Cheerio !

Simon

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.

In this section we bring you photos of transport and passenger carrying aircraft of the Royal Air Force. Covering the period from WW2 to the end of the 1970′s, we hope to add photos of aircraft mainly in the 1950′s, the height of the UK National Service era.

Our first aircraft are some marvellous Vickers Valetta’s which I think typify the design of 1950′s aircraft.

Random Images From Collection
Normandy 1944 Collection 435
Normandy 1944 Collection 435
Crossley 1GL8 3Ton 6x4 Workshop (KUJ 138)
Crossley 1GL8 3Ton 6x4 Workshop (KU
Normandy 1944 Collection 434
Normandy 1944 Collection 434
Willys MB/Ford GPW Jeep (MUD 248)
Willys MB/Ford GPW Jeep (MUD 248)
Leyland Martian 10Ton Artillery Tractor (44 BM 75)
Leyland Martian 10Ton Artillery Tra
Eastern Front Collection 131
Eastern Front Collection 131
Leyland Hippo Mk2 10Ton GS (64 YY 63)
Leyland Hippo Mk2 10Ton GS (64 YY 6
Leyland Daf 8x8 Drops (76 KH 50)
Leyland Daf 8x8 Drops (76 KH 50)
Normandy 1944 Collection 540
Normandy 1944 Collection 540
Eastern Front Collection 826
Eastern Front Collection 826
Eastern Front Collection 61
Eastern Front Collection 61
Normandy 1944 Collection 391
Normandy 1944 Collection 391
Austin K2 2Ton GS (SCE 206)
Austin K2 2Ton GS (SCE 206)
Grenadier Guards on Exercise, Germany, March 1957 6
Grenadier Guards on Exercise, Germa
Normandy 1944 Collection 433
Normandy 1944 Collection 433
Eastern Front Collection 354
Eastern Front Collection 354
GMC 353 CCKW 6x6 Cargo (LSU 758)
GMC 353 CCKW 6x6 Cargo (LSU 758)
Warrior APC (35 KG 57) Inside
Warrior APC (35 KG 57) Inside
Yak-1 Fighter (1)
Yak-1 Fighter (1)
Eastern Front Collection 563
Eastern Front Collection 563