1940s Day for The British Legion at Weyhill Fairground Craft & Design Centre

Living Military History visit Weyhill Fairground Craft & Design Centre, Near Andover for a 1940s day in aid of The Royal British Legion on Saturday 4th May. 

Graham Bandy WW2

Daytime:
Vehicle Displays, Re-enactors, Make Do & Mend
Dance Lessons and 1940s style
Make-over’s, Vintage Fair, Childrens Activities.

Evening Entertainment:
Grand Nostalgia Dance 7.30pm,Tickets £7.50 in advance £10 on the night

All proceeds for the Royal British Legion.

The Fairground Craft & Design Centre is a “not for profit” Community Interest Company.
It aims to promote, support, educate, involve and develop public awareness, within the framework of art and crafts.

Previously run by Penton Grafton Parish Council, it first opened its doors in Weyhill, Hampshire in October 2003.  Open to the public,  it is now a Community Interest Company, run by volunteers and tenants for the benefit of the community.

Find out more about the history of the Fairground here.

The Weyhill Fairground Craft & Design Centre
Weyhill
Nr Andover
SP11 0QN
Google Map

Weyhill Fairground Craft & Design Centre

Weyhill Fairground Craft & Design Centre

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice – Two brave women who led double lives in Nazi occupied France

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne

By Susan Ottaway.

What must life have been like for two young women plucked from their ordinary lives and transformed into SEO Agents fighting the Nazis in occupied France?  And what was life like when the war was over and it was time to pick up where they left off?

It is over seventy years since the start of the Second World War and there are still so many awe inspiring tales to be told.

This new book tells the story of two amazing women. Sisters in arms who faced unimaginable danger, and made astonishing sacrifices, the effects of which were to last long after they returned to civvy street.

False identities, hidden radios, secret messages – all the stuff of Hollywood films. But what followed was the sickening reality of capture, torture and hard labour in a German concentration camp –  experiences not many would have had the strength and courage to survive.

Their hidden contribution to the war effort cost them their youth, their chances of motherhood and almost cost them their sanity. They were remarkable women who went on to lead modest lives, keeping their heroic past to themselves.

Now it is time for the inspirational story of these two brave sisters to be told.

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne by Susan Ottaway is published by Harper Element and you can order your copy now.  Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice also available for Kindle.

 

PATHE NEWSREEL – OCCUPIED PARIS
And for a look inside occupied Paris during WW2 take a look at this Pathe Newsreel It Happened in Paris (1944).

 

At great danger, Pathe cameraman Gaston Madru concealed his film camera in a bicycle basket under a pile of wine bottles and then rode through the streets of Nazi occupied Paris. He filmed Nazi flags flying from buildings and offices of the German Slave Labour Todt organisation. There are shots of a cinema for German soldiers only, German officers at the races and a Nazi rally at City hall.

We see Nazis in the heart of Paris – at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and the Arc De Triomphe. We also see ordinary Parisians queuing for bread and fighting breaking out in the streets as they object to the Nazi presence.

And then as the long occupation nears its end, we see German troops  on the retreat, resistance posters being put up and celebrations as the French flag is once more able to fly freely .

 

Living Military History on TV: Country House Sunday

Ragley Hall Warwickshire Living Military History

Ragley Hall,  Warwickshire

Living Military History were on TV last week in ITV’s new series Country House Sunday made by TwoFourProductions.

The show featured The Warwickshire Regiment 1914-1918 Living History Group at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, family seat of Lord and Lady Hertford, for a Great War weekend Event. The Warwick’s gave a fine display for the visitors and the camera crew which featured in this new TV series.

The medical display was also featured and according to Lynda Bellingham’s voice-over, its Medical Officer was “perfectly placed for complete historical accuracy”.

This episode is available to view on ITVPlayer until the end of May.

Graham Bandy WW1 Display - Country House Sunday Ragley Hall 28 april 2013

WW1 Display at Ragley Hall

This Daytime series sees Lynda Bellingham take a tour around some of Britain’s most beautiful stately homes.

Lynda and her team of presenters and chefs explore the very best that the house and estate have to offer, unpicking their rich history, revealing their secrets and uncovering life both upstairs and downstairs from cooking in the kitchens to tending the grounds.

The series also features the beauty of the local countryside, afternoon walks, antiques and days out at markets rounding off each episode with a hearty Sunday lunch.

For more on the history of some of the wonderful Stately Homes of England or inspiration for more great days out, why not invest in one of the handy pocket guides available such as the AA’s Great Days Out

Living Military History – Wartime in The Cotswolds at Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

Pitsford Home Guard

Pitsford Home Guard

This weekend Pitsford Home Guard  will be at The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Honeybourne Line for their Wartime in the Cotswolds event.  The Home Guard will be setting up camp at Gotherington and look forward to seeing you there!

Pitsford Home Guard

Pitsford Home Guard

During the wartime weekend there’ll be plenty of opportunity to travel the line between Cheltenham Race Course and Toddington (air raids permitting) when they’ll be operating an intensive steam-hauled timetable.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Toddington

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

There’ll be lots of other things to keep the whole family entertained with wartime music,  soldiers on leave and on duty;  the auxiliary fire service and displays of military and civilian vehicles from the period. The extensive model railway will also be up and running.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota will be visiting the railway on Sunday 28th April, subject to weather and operational considerations. The low-altitude flypast is expected between 2pm and 3pm.

Free parking is available at Toddington and Cheltenham Race Course stations. Please note Winchcombe Station will be closed.

Gates open at 0930 on both days.

Fares for this event:

Adult £20, senior £18, child (aged 5 – 15) £10, family ticket (2 adults and up to three children) £55.

Tickets can now only be purchased on the day at Toddington or Cheltenham Racecourse stations.

A copy of the timetable for the event can be downloaded here.

 

A Weekend of Medieval Fun for Living Military History!

This weekend sees Living Military History making a first furtive excursion into the land of the medieval and the life of a Benedictine monk.

Graham Bandy Benedictine Monk

Benedictine Monk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event is at Riverside Country Park, Gillingham, Kent for The English Festival with Black Knight Historical.

Riverside Country Park is a large coastal public park in Kent, situated alongside the River Medway estuary between Gillingham and Rainham.

Riverside Country Park Map

Riverside Country Park Map

 

There is limited parking on site but there are park and ride buses from Chatham Historic Dockyard and Rainham Mark Gramar School from 10am to 6pm. More details here.

 

 

 

And on Sunday, Medieval Living History will be at the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle in Sussex.

Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197

Bodium Castle  East Sussex

Bodiam Castle – East Sussex

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Trust are giving away Free Entry for up to four people this weekend (20th and 21st April) to a number of places – and Bodiam Castle is on the list!

 

All you have to do is register on their website http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355774281951/ and download a voucher (valid for up to four people).

Remember – the offer is for this weekend only!  

 

 

Reminiscence Therapy: Living Military History Working with Age UK

Age UK

Today was spent in discussions with Age UK (formerly Age Concern and Help The Aged) Oxfordshire,planning Reminiscence Therapy  for Veterans in Oxfordshire. We are putting together a unique project which will fill a gap in current service provision and create a much needed resource for ex-service men and women.

Group activities such as listening to period music and handling authentic uniforms or military items from my collections, will help participants by triggering memories and encouraging interaction. The scheme will also help to combat the loneliness many elderly people and particularly veterans can feel.

We are aiming for an initial pilot project of 6 consecutive weeks with a bid to the local Civilian Military Partnership Forum for funding in order to roll it out county wide.  This is an exciting project which has the potential to provide a valuable service not currently available elsewhere.

Graham Bandy sits on the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Forum and is experienced in handling bids from local projects wishing to access Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme Funds. Please visit the Living Military History website for more information.

An Interesting WW2 Northamptonshire Regiment Picture

Nptn SL RA

An interesting picture from my collection…401 Searchlight Battery Royal Artillery….They are all badged Northamptonshire Regt, including the officers, but they have RA collar dogs.

This unit formed part of 50th (The Northamptonshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, R.A. (T.A.) – South Midland Area, Southern Command

HQ, Northampton

400th Company – Northampton

401st Company – Northampton

402nd Company-Peterborough

403rd Company-Kettering

They were converted from the 4th bn The Northamptonshire Regt

A couple of other points to note…x2 of the ORs are wearing the Northamptonshire black FSC, and the officers are all wearing the silver and gilt cap badge, although this wasn’t “officially” sanctioned until late 1944/early 1945

The ATS girls are seen also to be wearing Northamptonshire cap badges just above the left breast pocket. When attached to a unit is was the norm that the badge of the parent unit was worn thus

The picture was taken at Quebec Bks which later became Simpson Bks, home of the Royal Pioneer Corps, now sadly demolished and built over

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Search for Relatives

Commonwealth War Graves

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission intends to carry out work on a number of the War Graves in the UK.

They wish to make contact with any family members of the casualties concerned.

If you are a relative of any of the casualties listed here please contact:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Jenton Road
Sydenham
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
CV31 1XS
E-Mail: ukaoffice@cwgc.org
Tel: 01926 330137

Lost WW1 documents found

An interesting story which shows that there are still surprises out there…. 🙂

FIRST World War documents that the Government wanted destroyed have been found by a Herefordshire man.

Jeremy Arter, from Callow, was clearing his aunt’s home in Talybonton- Usk, near Brecon, when he came across the archives.

They were due to go in the skip and it was only when he checked them fully that he realised their significance.

“I noticed the stamp MI7 (b) on some of the documents and realised they were worth holding on to,” said Jeremy.

“I checked MI7 (b) on the web and didn’t find much, but further research showed that the Government ordered the destruction of the official papers of MI7 (b) shortly after the Armistice in 1918.”

Historians have said that the documents were destroyed on the grounds that they would have been too incriminating, especially because of the way they showed the Government’s support for the war.

The author of the documents was Jeremy’s great uncle – Captain James Lloyd Price of the Welsh Regiment.

He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme at Mametz in July 1916, but survived and was recruited by MI7 (b) to write extensively for them.

He told the stories of individual heroism and contemporary accounts of daily life of fighting on the front line.

Jeremy read through around 150 of the documents, each between 1,500 to 2,000 words long, and has now put pen to paper about his discovery.

“I have written a book about his story and my intention is to generate as much interest in the archive as I can so that it will be freely available for enthusiasts and scholars to read,” he added.

Jeremy is due to take the archive to the National Library of Wales’s roadshow in Brecon today (Thursday).

The library is currently undertaking a project, entitled World War One and the Welsh Experience, in which it plans to digitalise a wide range of archive material revealing the hidden history of the war.

Project manager Rob Phillips said that up until now, they had failed to find anything about military intelligence and the role that Welsh people played in that.

“I nearly fell off my chair when Jeremy rang about his discovery,” he said.

“It’s definitely a significant find in terms of the project. It will bring a new dimension to what we will be able to show people.”

For more information about the roadshow, visit  http://cymruww1.llgc.org.uk/

 

From…http://www.herefordtimes.com

Thanks to Danny Rees for the story 🙂

 

Northamptonshire soldier is awarded posthumous VC

As many of you may know, my roots are in Northamptonshire, and one of the local lads has been honoured with the Victoria Cross

A soldier from Northamptonshire who died as he protected the lives of his comrades in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

LCpl James Ashworth VC

Lance Corporal James Ashworth, 23, will receive the medal in recognition of his “extraordinary courage” while serving with the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards in Helmand province last year, it was reported.

The Victoria Cross, the country’s highest award for gallantry, has been awarded just 10 times to UK soldiers since the Second World War.

The posthumous award to L/Cpl Ashworth, a former Lodge Park Technology College pupil, is just the second from the 12-year conflict in Afghanistan.

A Victoria Cross was awarded to Corporal Bryan Budd of 3 Para, who died fighting the Taliban in 2006.

L/Cpl Ashworth was killed in the Nahr-e-Siraj district on June 13 when his reconnaissance platoon became involved in a battle with the Taliban inside enemy-held compounds.

He is understood to have fought against huge odds, deliberately exposing himself to enemy fire, and died from a grenade blast as he tried to protect his men, The Times said.

Officials said he took care to ensure there were no civilians in the line of fire.

L/Cpl Ashworth’s comrades spoke of their pride in his bravery, and told how the death of such an “outstanding soldier” would leave a gaping hole in the battalion.

His company commander, Captain Mike Dobbin, said at the time of his death: “Lance Corporal Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds; leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men; and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his girlfriend, who should be extremely proud of the courage he displayed and the life that he led.

“I am humbled by what I saw of Lance Corporal Ashworth’s actions and will never forget him.”

Guardsman Jordan Loftus said: “Selfless, brave, courageous – words like these don’t come close to what Ash demonstrated that day.”

L/Cpl Ashworth was a soldier for five years and came from a family with strong military links, The Times said.

His father Duane was also a Grenadier Guard, while his younger brother Coran is also a soldier.

He also left behind his mother Kerryann, sisters Lauren and Paige, brother Karl and four-year-old niece Darcy, as well as his girlfriend, Emily.

His family paid tribute to him after his death, saying: “We are devastated by the loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend.

“He meant the world to everyone and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts.”

Sergeant Vandell McLean, his platoon sergeant, wrote at the time: “My sorrow is with his family at this time of loss. Please take comfort in knowing that Lance Corporal Ashworth died protecting me, his mates and the rest of the platoon.”

Lieutenant-Commander James Bowder, MBE, commander of the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, called him “an outstanding soldier”.

“Lance Corporal Ashworth’s death leaves a hole in the battalion – we have lost one of our very best soldiers. The battalion, and indeed the broader regiment, will never forget this quite exceptional man.”

The award will be officially confirmed by the Ministry of Defence next week.

The Victoria Cross ranks as the nation’s highest award for gallantry, along with the George Cross.

Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, the Victoria Cross is awarded for “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy”.

The bronze cross, which has a crimson ribbon bears the inscription “For Valour”, is cast from the metal of Russian guns captured at the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War, the campaign in which the first medals were awarded.

The Victoria Cross may be awarded to all ranks of the services – and also to civilians – to recognise gallantry in the presence of the enemy.

The medal has been awarded 1,356 times, the most recent of which was a posthumous award to Corporal Bryan Budd, of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, for acts of “inspirational leadership and the greatest valour” in southern Afghanistan in 2006.

Only 13 Victoria Cross medals have been awarded since the Second World War, nine to members of the British Army and four to the Australian Army.

L/Cpl Ashworth’s is just the fifth to have been awarded since the Falklands conflict, and all but one have been posthumous.

Private Johnson Beharry, from 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was awarded the honour for two separate acts of outstanding gallantry to rescue his comrades in Iraq in 2004, during which suffered serious head injuries.

The Victoria Cross has been awarded to the same person twice on three occasions – to doctors Captain Arthur Martin-Leake (1902 and 1914) and Captain Noel Chavasse (1916 and posthumously 1917), and New Zealander Captain Charles Upham (1941 and 1942).

The George Cross, which stands equal to the Victoria Cross as an award, recognises acts of gallantry by members of the Armed Forces or civilians in situations for which the Victoria Cross is not appropriate.

These can be incidents that are not in the presence of the enemy, such as bomb or mine disposal.

From…http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/community/award-events/victoria-cross-awarded-to-northamptonshire-soldier-1-4906914