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Rufford 1939-'45 Home Front Weekend - August 14-16th
By Mike Humphreys

This is an annual event held at Rufford Abbey Country Park near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, just off the A614, four or five miles south of the Worksop roundabout on the A1. A ruined Abbey and 17th century country house help create a beautiful setting and good feel to the place which covers some 150 acres and has a lake and sculpture garden.

rufford1.jpg (94806 bytes) rufford2.jpg (89774 bytes) This is not a military vehicle gathering, but instead focuses on civilian re enactors and period cars with a few mvs and troops to complete the wartime scene.
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We arrived on the Friday and were made most welcome. Space was not at a premium (I believe it could be an invited groups only do) and each group had ample room to set up across the well cut grassed area. A separate field, well away from the attractions, was given over to camping.

rufford7.jpg (136994 bytes) The weather has a huge influence on our hobby and, fortunately, this weekend was really warm and sunny. This allowed everyone to soak up the atmosphere, dine outside the excellent café, dance in the courtyard if they wished, watch the work of bomb disposal, drill by the East.Yorks, 25 pounders being brought into action and fired, or the NFS at work etc. rufford8.jpg (104027 bytes)
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The period cars were in superb condition and made me wonder whether one of these might be a more sensible approach to getting involved as age takes its toll – heresy I hear you say.
rufford11.jpg (115899 bytes) rufford12.jpg (106976 bytes) As well as a large café there is a restaurant which I should have had a look at. A large marquee was available for Saturday night dressing up, drinking (your own) and dancing, but was a little short on seating and seemed odd without a bar. I think I needed a bar.
The BBMF Dakota did the honours with a series of low level flypasts with the loadmaster hanging out of the door waving to the crowd. The Garrison had set up a very authentic looking plotting room in the abbey undercroft with Wrens and ATS ladies.  rufford13.jpg (109898 bytes) rufford14.jpg (89535 bytes)

I failed to take a photograph of this, which is very remiss of me, but my camera was mysteriously broken over the weekend and even when working produced very poor shots with the flash. I hope someone did because a lot of effort had been put in. They also operate a large field kitchen for their members providing 3 cooked meals day on wood burning ‘stove pipe’ cookers.

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Chris Jones and his wife Jen, from Todmorden, provided lead vehicle with their Jeep for the mini convoy home via the A1. This was followed by 2 Quad limbers and guns and a Matador and 5.5. I was in the latter, and I must say, apart from the noise level in the cab, was most impressed by its towing capabilities and the ride generally as we tootalled along at 35mph.

Overall a small but very relaxed event with plenty of civilian wartime things to see, with enough military for the enthusiasts. Most of the photos were taken early morning before the site got busy. People photos were taken by Red Zebra and can be seen on their website.  

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