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Ponderosa Wartime Weekend - July 10/11th
Pictures by Stuart Wright, Mike Humphreys, Alex Rippingham, and James Taylor
Report by Mike Humphreys

  This was only the 3rd time this event had been held, but this year thanks to the tireless efforts of Stuart Wright from our club this became something of a much bigger affair. I had not been there previously as I suspect had been the case with most other club members. Stuartís rekindled interest in military vehicles has found himself carrying the flag for British WW2 and on show over the weekend was an impressive line up of Austins, Bedfords and Morris amongst others. For the first time at a show that I have been to these were lined up together which made a refreshing change. He had been promised some tanks, but sadly they did not appear.

Our own 69th Field boys had brought along 3 x 25 pounders, 2 of which were used for a firing demonstration in the arena along with a Command Post set up featuring Stuartís Austin Tilly. I provided the commentary for the crowd. pond1.jpg (128673 bytes) pond2.jpg (115978 bytes)
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It was fortunate that Frank and Angela Brown from over the Lancs border were there with their No5 bodied Quad because he and I (in the Bedford OXD) were called out to recover Mike and Chrisís gun sets after Mikeís Quad had blown a cylinder head gasket and Chrisís was suffering from the heat. I hadnít expected to be so busy, but it all ended well.
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It was in fact a glorious weekend for weather and the huge site swallowed the vehicles and stallholders. Brian Leathey had organised a sizeable battle in the arena with the US v Germans. The encampments in the top field were sizeable, well set up with plenty to see. Period and non period camping was available for those who wanted to stay and enjoy the eveningís entertainment and drinks in one of the large sheds. A free packed lunch was available to all vehicle owners which was a nice touch. Next year promises to be even better and this event has the potential to become a major one given the huge site and the enthusiasm of Howard Cook the owner. This will be a good addition to the calendar for the Lancs, Yorkshire, Durham Tees Valley and NE MVT groups.
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The following article appeared in the Spenborough Guardian written by their reporter Olivia Midgley and is published here with her permission.
More than 5,000 people flocked to Ponderosa in Heckmondwyke for a weekend of 1940's nostalgia. Visitors wearing period costume were treated to a forties feast, with authentic food, clothes, music, dancing and a range of stalls. And the weekend certainly went off with a bang, with battle re-enactments and live 25pdr guns, which havenít been fired since the war. pond25.jpg (130387 bytes) pond26.jpg (89050 bytes)
pond23.jpg (131013 bytes) pond24.jpg (122695 bytes) More than 100 genuine World War II vehicles, including a British Austin K2 ambulance, a firing M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer and an AEC Matador Ė one of the biggest wagons ever used in battle Ė descended on the fields for the war time extravaganza. A Dakota aircraft also flew over the site.
The bash also saw several war veterans attend, including 90-year-old Henry Cooper, who visited the site to see the 25 pdr guns which he used to fire in the war. Henry, who was called up in August 1939, was shipped down to Coventry and organised with fellow countrymen into the 255 Battery along with the 254 and 253 which made up the 81st heavy AK AK Regiment firing anti aircraft guns.  pond27.jpg (115545 bytes) pond28.jpg (137597 bytes)
pond29.jpg (123185 bytes) pond30.jpg (122028 bytes) Later, he was moved out to North Africa and on to the rapid fire 25 pdr guns with the Eighth Army, and subsequently moved on into Italy where, North of Florence, he supported Harry Seacombeís Regiment. He ended his service in Austria, working with the Military Police. Henry said his trip to Ponderosa had been Ďthe best day of his life and he did not want it to endí. One of the organisers, Debbie Burton, said: ďHenry had a fantastic day out. He hasnít seen a 25 pdr gun since the war, so he was really thrilled."
The event was a huge success and we had record numbers attend. Weíre hoping for an even bigger turn- out next year.