As well as all the action up above, there was plenty to look at on the ground. Lots of “Living History”: people dressing up in uniforms; re-enactments of battles; ancient tanks and vehicles trundling around; plus lots of loud bangs. Let’s begin with one of the bangs:
Apparently Sir Peter Jackson’s team contributed to the setup, props etc. It looked good. But back to the beginning. Some enthusiasts took us right back to Roman days, with a legionaires’ camp.
Later in the day I missed a great shot involving this bloke. It had been raining and my camera was back in its bag. The Roman soldier had just taken a picture of a very smart officer in a white World War I uniform, complete with black jackboots, jodhpurs and mustache. They were standing side-by-side looking at the display of the digital camera, with a Fokker triplane in the background. I had no show of capturing that wonderful anachronism, but that’s the way it goes.
Before the big battle, the troops had to be inspected. (I think I’m getting mixed up here – these look like World War II troops and did not take part in the mock battle later, but never mind.)
The various players moved into position. This tank was popular with the kids, its guns swivelled around watching them, rather like the eyes of a chameleon.
I was impressed that it carried its own fuel for the boiler for its steam engine. (A joke – I’m sure it was hot and smelly enough inside without having a firebox in there.)
Next came a double-decker troop transport:
The top brass travelled up top (of course). I found myself wondering just who would want to dress up as one of the buffoons that were responsible for the idiocy shown in that war, but that may have been unkind.
The battle started, with air support for the British troops (harried by the German fighters). They strafed the field and dropped bombs (simulated by fixed explosives), even shot down enemy fighters.
It was quite realistic. The British troops charged across open ground, urged on by their officer, and were all duly mown down by a machine gun. The German troops countered, on the way despatching anything that wriggled.
The top brass were not quite quick enough to get their transport started and were rounded up too (not sure if that part was realistic).
Later there was a drive past of various other stuff, from other eras. Some of the participants looked very impressive.
All good fun!