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Area Report - Windscreen Spring Issue 144
Our season starts in York. Ian Garbutt reports “Sunday the 13th April saw the gathering of the Yorkshire group at Clifford’s Tower in York. In the shadow of this historic 13th Century Keep which can trace its origins back to a Motte and Bailey castle erected by Norman conquerors in 1068. Vehicles came from far and wide, within England's largest county, to gather for the club’s annual 'Crank Up'. The outing serves as a trial run for many prior to our annual show, 'Battlefront North' in May, at the Yorkshire Air Museum. This year the weather gods smiled benevolently upon our endeavours. An excellent turn out of over 50 vehicles served to put on quite a show for the many slightly bemused tourists who stumbled across our gathering.”

Battlegroup North, in May, followed last years format and was well attended despite showery weather. Some folks got drenched on the road run when the heavens opened, but no doubt soon recovered their spirits in the lively evening bar. Others, who will remain nameless, had too much spirit of the liquid variety and suffered accordingly on Sunday! 78 year old Edward Album, who is a member of West London MVT, came up from London to drive his old AEC Matador, now owned by Mel Bean, to the show. He is also coming along with our artillery group travelling to Holland in September for Project 70. This is the recreation, with some 200 vehicles, of the XXX Corps column trying to reach Arnhem. If you are attending this event with a vehicle would you please let me know for a future report. Also it would be good to meet up to convoy to the docks and later on board ship.

The main event this year was, of course, the 70th Anniversary of D Day. Phil Rhodes was one of the many who attended. He travelled with Andy and Lynn Gray to St Mere Eglise for an 8 day stay in the comfort of a gite. Phil took a US medical veteran of the 29th Infantry Division, Travis Winfree, in his jeep to a restaurant where he was guest of honour. Travis landed on Omaha on D Day and was staying nearby with a British couple.

Sue Waterhouse told me that Mick and Steve Dobson rolled up their sleeves to replace a clutch in a jeep owned by Paul Hickin. He managed to buy a replacement clutch from Wildenberg's, who were there with a mobile shop, but at a premium apparently. The deck of a trailer and a pile of logs provided an improvised ramp to be able to do the job - see photo.

Sue had travelled with a large group of over 20 from the area which included the Berrimans, Graham Golder, Stuart Kinroy and John Hannah. Brandon’s Dodge WC62 is not noted for speed and the drive home from Portsmouth was an exhausting 12 hour affair. Nick Dunsford drove his recently completed Bedford MW to France after he and friends had toiled over the past year to achieve a full rebuild. He says he still has things to sort out, but happily reports a trouble free trip. Everyone I have spoken to said the veterans showed amazing resilience and we should feel very proud of them. The crowds and traffic control restricted local movement as you would imagine with such important VIPs in attendance.
Another MW under running restoration is Mick Sparks early aero screen version which now supports early war brown paintwork and markings of 1st Corps and the very short lived 61st Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps made up of older men. He hopes to take it to Dunkirk next year.
Another unusual sight will be Chris Smyth’s CDSW when it surfaces from his garage. Work has progressed to the point where the new engine has been fitted into the desert sand coloured rolling chassis.

My Ford GPW will reappear this summer in British markings with the M number of one of the jeeps driven by my late father in Bremerhaven at the end of the war. Mike Peacock, Denis Matthewman and Simon Daymond joined other Garrison members at Bovington’s Tankfest where Mike’s Quad was used in the 25pdr arena display.

My first trip out this year, in a vehicle, was an enjoyable run in the MW to the Valley Gardens in Harrogate, an event organised by Simon Roberts. A lovely warm day saw the beautiful gardens packed with visitors who easily outnumbering those in period dress. Simon told me that he was disappointed to be let down by a number of people who had booked in but failed to turn up. At an event where there is limited space for vehicles this is poor.

The day was thoroughly enjoyable with a big band and singers on stage in front of the huge crowd. An unusual sight was a GMC 353 in RAF markings. Apparently it was in N. Africa during the war as part of the Desert Air Force and the markings are fully researched. It is owned by the trombonist of the Echo 42 Big Band and YMVT member Paul Mayo.

Over the weekend, immediately prior to this report being due in, the Yorkshire Wartime Experience took place at Hunsworth, nr Leeds. Whilst this event clashed with Le Tour and the umpteen closed roads across the region it still attracted a very decent showing of trucks, armour and re enactors. I managed to attend on the Saturday and there was plenty to see in the heat, and later dust and smoke of the battle.

Mike Humphreys