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Area Report - Windscreen February Issue 146
If you’ve just read Windscreen and wondered why there wasn’t an Area Report from me, it is because I missed the deadline. My sincere apologies but here it is with more photos.

Well it’s been a beautiful summer so I should have been inundated with lots of reports from you, but I have not! This has proved another poor year for me for one reason or another and my vehicles and I have not been anywhere to report on, except a recently completed XXX Corps event in Holland 12th -23rd September. 

Our group which included a number of area members, my Bedford MW and Melvyn Bean’s two AEC Matadors towing 5.5” medium guns sailed from Hull after travelling down the M62 to the docks. 

Video by Youtube user Ronald Kbk

Video by Youtube user AEWalex

At Rotterdam 5 Dutch Army low loaders were waiting to transport the vehicles and drivers to an army base near Weert, a couple of hours away. Our 20 or so foot passengers got to ride in style in the red and beautifully livered Feyenoord FC Team coach! The 12 days certainly had their highs and lows and was pretty exhausting. I recorded 390 miles.

The 3 vehicles were packed to the gunnels with stuff, and in all fairness we could have travelled much lighter. On a number of occasions we had tanks at the front of our convoy amongst which was John Gray and sons dressed in British tank gear, what I hear you say, yes British gear, riding on top of Chris Till’s Sherman.

They had travelled from Harwich, I believe, with the other tanks. I’ll write up a separate report on the trip for our website which will be supported with photos by Ian Garbutt and Duncan Simpson.

Great variety of trucks, artillery and armour in use by the British. See us on the move.

Video by Youtube user Sigmaster40

Video by Youtube user Peter Duppen
Tony Boyle reports on the first Pateley Bridge 1940’s weekend held 16th -17th August. “A group of re-enactors and vintage vehicle enthusiasts took the small Yorkshire Dales town back to the 1940’s for a weekend in August. As well as classic civilian cars and wartime military vehicles there were agricultural displays, working horses and Land Girls in the field reflecting the town’s agricultural role during the war years. The town’s High Street was packed with period wartime re-enactors and visitors looking at the varied displays and scenarios situated around the town. 

There was a bomb disposal demonstration behind the old disused bank, which itself housed a RAF plotting room display amidst the rubble and dust. On the high street there was musical entertainment whilst the home guard patrolled the town looking for fifth columnists out to cause trouble. Displays showing the role of the Observer Corps and Home Guard Auxiliaries were also situated at the town’s Memorial Hall. We were very lucky with the weather being dry Saturday and just a few showers on Sunday. Visitor numbers greatly exceeded expectations and the quality of the re-enactor turnout was outstanding giving the town an authentic 1940’s feel. 

One exciting opportunity arose to recreate a scene in an original wartime photograph provided by Mike Peacock. He had kindly given me some photographs of 69th Field regiment RA taken during training in the area in 1939/40. In one photograph a Morris Quad, Bedford MW and commercial lorry are parked outside a country house, identified as Grassfield Hall, which still stands today. By a rare coincidence the same three types of vehicle were present over the weekend and we took the opportunity to recreate the scene from seventy odd years before. 

With the kind permission of the house’s owner we drove over his lawn and parked up as closely as we could to the original positions. A new housing estate now stands where the original photographer stood, but we were able to get reasonably close to frame the same picture as the earlier one. Several shots later and it was done, all that remained was an eerie feeling of being on the same spot doing the same things as those men all those years before.

Next year the weekend is to take place on the 15th and 16th August 2015. We have managed to get access to the town’s agricultural showground where we can expand our displays further. We hope to have a replica Spitfire on this ‘airfield’ with a dispersal hut nearby. Hopefully we can persuade more military groups to come along and use this area to display vehicles. It has a history as this area was used by the 69th Field Artillery for training during the war. It may even provide another opportunity to re-create another wartime photograph using similar vehicles still in existence today”.

While Pateley Bridge was in full swing Chris Smyth and I had volunteered to drive Mike Peacock’s Morris CDSW through Worcester to help mark the 150th Anniversary of the local RA Regiment.

Simon Daymond was there too with his rather smart newly painted and canvassed AEC Militant. Beautiful weather and huge crowds in the town centre precinct, and later on the racecourse, made this a memorable day.

Video by Youtube user Andrew Kelsall

Mick Edmondson travelled to France for the D-Day events “We had a problem trying to work out how to transport four Matchless WDG3L motorcycles to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day along with all our camping equipment. There was Colin, Craig and Ashley Dixon and myself.
Our solution was to use a redundant caravan chassis and weld and bolt a Luton van body onto it, and with a roller shutter door on the back it was ideal. We put in a new floor with lots of shackles and the bikes fitted in nicely with all our gear and off we went towing it with Craig’s Landrover.

We were worried about the weight, but it towed a dream. We camped with the BSA WDM20 club at Ouistreham, next to the MVT camp, arriving on Tuesday 3rd and toured the American sites on the first day and teamed up with some friends, Bob Wales from Mirfield and Duncan Simpson from Barnsley.

Wednesday saw us visiting the Museum of Wrecks, then the Longues Battery. Thursday was with the BSA lads to Pegasus Bridge and to see the parachute drop at Ranville. 

Friday we were woken by people setting off for Arromanches at 5 in the morning which was too early for us. We left for Arromanches after breakfast at about 10oclock and were denied entry by the road block.

Not to be outdone we turned left at the next road, down a ginnel to the next barrier saluted the gendarmes who saluted back and waved us through. We parked next to the slipway on the front - a bit of cheek often works.

After most of the day at Arromanches we returned to camp and prepared for the Guinness record attempt of over 200 bikes which I think we achieved but I haven’t heard the final number yet. 

Saturday morning we were awakened by a tremendous storm overhead with thunder, lightning and giant hailstones which lasted for a hour from about 2am and sounded like we had been transported back to D-day 1944! Later in the day we travelled by car to the memorial at Hill 112 and then on to Falaise and the Falaise gap museum. The Bayeux parade took place on Sunday with large crowds making it slow progress, but very rewarding, then on to Tilley. A fantastic and memorable event”.
Our Crank Down took place over the weekend 26th-28th September with the base camp being in the well preserved hilltop village of Heptonstall above Hebden Bridge. A separate report will follow.

Mike Humphreys