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Area Report - March '09
Gary Docherty reports on his first trip to Houffalize, in the Ardennes for what has become an annual pilgrimage for some of our more hardy members. “I travelled with Brian, his son Tom, and Simon whose Jeep we used.

After unloading alongside the impressive line up of MV’s at the hotel a quick town tour took in the equally impressive knocked out Panther on display. The main road run to Luxemburg gave us a chance to see the lines of GMC’s, Dodges, and Jeeps whilst refueling.

Elsewhere I suspect most vehicles have not moved over the winter apart from the Xmas run. I took my Bedford 30cwt into Halifax Piece Hall to help raise funds for Poppy Day and I wonder if others in the region got similarly involved?

Some 110 vehicles were taking part! Moving on the route took in forest and fields with fog hiding the higher ground. A museum stop and lunch came before the route back via many steep valleys and small hamlets. 

As the miles past daylight began to fade and the temperature dropped even further, so we were very glad to start to warm up back at the hotel. 

A trip to Bastogne to see the Paratrooper’s monument was our last port of call before the ferry and home. It was a great event and next year I hope to be there in my jeep.”

The “69th Field” group, our 25 pounder artillery gang, had their first AGM in Leeds in January, and since have had a training day on gun laying and firing drill in readiness for future blank firing at events. The group now has 4 Quad, limber, and gun sets with a further 2 sets under restoration!! Two guns have now been converted to live firing. A colour change is in the offing for Mike and Chris’s sets from brown to Olive Drab as used from April 1944, so hopefully this will encourage others in the area to join the Artillery and Polar Bears. 

The group is looking for new members, particularly younger ones. Ivor’s son, Jim, has recently joined and in March he went along with others for an enjoyable weekend of training and firing activity with The Garrison at Tilbury Fort.

I was on hand to photograph the loading of Jeff’s immaculately restored Scammell Pioneer prior to its’ long trip to a buyer in Italy. Such a shame that yet another part of our heritage has gone abroad, but this does seem to be an increasing trend. On a more positive note a mobile 9 ton 3.7” anti aircraft gun, restored some years ago, has arrived in the area and hopefully will be at some of our events. 
To widen the appeal of our area report I would welcome contact with other members across Yorkshire to report on their vehicles and activity. If anyone is interested in a run out in the Halifax/ Huddersfield area please let Brian or myself know. So please ring or e-mail me with news for the Area Report for our Website. 01422 824418, michael.humphreys@btinternet.com

Mike Humphreys