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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 20th/21st
by Stephen Carr

In past years, the weather at Blyth Battery hasn't always been friendly! As a result, rather than camp, I've travelled to Blyth each day. Since moving to Durham from Washington, it's added another 12 miles each way to the trip, so to save fuel, I took the Dodge and decided to camp for the weekend. This year, the event had unusually good weather. I arrived on Friday afternoon to sunshine, clear sky and no wind ( I had to check I was at the right place!! ). It was hot work setting up camp, but a nice change for Blyth! The clear sky allowed the temperature to drop quite a bit overnight.

The sea breeze pulled the temperature down a little on Saturday and it took until late morning to burn the sea mist off. The misty start didn't stop the public turning out in their thousands. An email on Monday from Arthur, estimated around 46,000 visitors across the two days of the show.

The show itself is located around the gun battery. The displays are on either side of the battery complex, a few on the edge of the car park, in addition to the museum exhibits within the gun battery buildings. Looking at how far the displays were spread along the sea front this year, it looked to have been the biggest show so far; certainly since my first trip there in 2009. The show field to the North of the battery was full and to the South, the displays were spread along both sides of the coastal path, much further than usual. In past years, the area to the South was always the German area, but this year, there were so many displays, it also included a US re-enactor and vehicle group.





In addition to the various dioramas, a number of vehicles were parked up around the battery and towards the edge of the car park. Some only attended for one day of the show.





Many of the dioramas had a large amount of kit on show, so I've combined several photos from each group. I've tried to include all the displays in the attached pictures, but I know some have been missed or not shown in their entirety.

Late on Sunday, my Dodge was used for a photoshoot, adding a splash of colour and style to the olive drab.

The next few photos are of the gun battery and its associated buildings. On a Saturday evening walk, I also spotted a pill box on the edge of the beach at the far North of the site.





A battle was held on the beach each day at noon. I didn't see the Saturday battle, but the last of the mist was still clearing at the time, so it wouldn't have been great for photos. I believe the Germans were attacking on Saturday. On Sunday, the sky was clear and it was the turn of the British to storm the beach and carry the fight into the dunes to capture the Germans. There were also firing demonstrations from some of the re-enactor groups.

The event finished at 4pm, but I'd already got my tent and camping gear packed into the trailer by then. This allowed a fairly quick getaway for the hour trip home. It then took a couple of hours to get the Jeep out, empty the Dodge and trailer and put the trailer away, put the Jeep away, take the canvas, bows and crane off the Dodge and finally put that back in the garage.