Bowes / Springwell 1940's Weekend - June 30th / July 1st
Photos and report by Stephen Carr
I'd been looking forwards to the Bowes/Springwell event for some time. Being only a few minutes drive from home, it was a rare chance to have all three of my vehicles on display. The weekend began with a trip to Bowes, early on Friday afternoon, with the Jeep and trailer. This trip was to set up the signal square and ropes to reserve a space big enough for the three vehicles. The original plan was to take all the vehicles on Saturday morning, but to save time and effort, I took the Dodge early on Friday evening.
The two Jeeps were ferried over on Saturday morning around 9am and their accessories were set up soon after. The Dodge was then assembled, adding the windsock, aerials and the small internal items such as the M8 pistol, flares, headphones etc.
There were a number of other vehicles turned up on Saturday, mostly Jeeps, but also a Kubelwagon, a GMC CCKW 353 an a civilian car.
What made this event a bit different was that the whole village was
involved, and there were a number of different activities around the
village. The community centre, village pub, church, and social club
amongst others all had 1940's themed activities during the weekend. As I
stayed watching over my vehicles, I didn't see anything outside the
railway, but my wife and daughter spent much of the weekend wandering
around to the various locations.
There were no locos running around the Bowes goods yard this year. The normal steam loco had its boiler certificate run out the day after last year's event, and as yet, they don't have the funds for a rebuild. They do have diesels, but they just wouldn't have the right character for a 1940's event.
There were several dioramas dotted around the railway museum site, which included German, French, British and Russian re-enactors and equipment. The main areas were along the fence overlooking the goods yard and in the courtyard formed by the engineering shops.
As the Sun moved around during the day, shining more from the front rather than behind. This improved the lighting on my Jeeps, so I took several more pictures. It also improved the lighting on many of the other vehicles and displays too.
There was a battle on both Saturday and Sunday. This took place on a rather sunny "Eastern Front" between the Germans and the Russians. These pictures are from the battle on Saturday where the Germans won the fight. There was a small skirmish on Sunday morning prior to the main battle later on. There were also firing demonstrations of various weapons on both days.
Lynne was away for Saturday morning taking our daughter to her dancing class. In the afternoon, she spent much of her time at the various other activities held around the village as part of the whole event. We brought both Jeeps home on Saturday evening and took them back on Sunday morning.
Just as we were indicating right to turn into the railway car park, and still in a 30mph limit, we were both overtaken at speed by a numbty doing around 60mph ( I worked out the time over a known distance ). Just a few seconds later, and I would have been turning across the right lane, and would have been hit side on by this idiot, probably killing my daughter and myself, with Lynne watching from the Jeep behind. Fortunately I heard his engine getting close so was aware of the car passing before I turned. Before leaving home, I had also set up my compact camera in "Jessie", to make a video of the two Jeeps driving to the event, and caught the incident and registration of the other car. The police are now "Having a word".
After the near death experience just getting there, the rest of the day was very enjoyable, though a little too hot for me. It was great to see my collection all together in the sun and this was the first time for them all in RAF markings.
Before too many people arrived on Sunday, I had a good wander around the Bowes machine shops. There were some huge lathes for turning very long items and wagon wheels in addition to woodworking machines and a forge.
There was a slight change in vehicles on show with one Jeep, civilian car and GMC missing and a fire engine in there place. I started packing small accessories away around 3pm and we took the Jeeps home at 4:30, returning a little while later for the Dodge. A very enjoyable weekend.