Stoke Bruerne Village at War 2018

The Village at War this weekend appears to get bigger each year with more and more re-enactors tacking part. The whole village now gets swamped with people dressed in 1940s clothing - some dressed in military uniform, some impersonating characters such as Churchill and Montgomery and some simply enjoying dressing-up. There are even a few German Forces re-enactors involved.

Montgomery has a chat

German Forces occupy a lock

The event now has less direct emphasis on the canal and wartime boating but this is largely because more and more it has become a re-enactment event. To me that is fine because its success brings a wider range of members of the public to the canal and it financially helps support the Friends of the Canal Museum. However, don't let me give the impression that the canal is overlooked, they was a fine selection of working boats and canal traders.

NB Eclipse with its Lister (Video)

The wonderful coffee boat with its bespoke coffee machine in the bows

Now that's how to get chocolate on a crepe!

In the past I have reported the weather at this event being an Indian summer, but not this year. Despite this year's gloriously sunny and dry summer, that led to navigation restrictions, the recent weather has become mixed. Weather play an important part in the success of outdoor events such as Village at War and on Saturday with cloudy skies and early rain I did wonder about the event's successes. However, on the Sunday the crowds came out in force and Stoke B was just full of people.

We don't boat to this event because pride of place is given over to the historic boats and traders, but we bring along Harvey our 1932 Austin Seven RN box saloon. Not many non-military historic vehicles come to this event but those that do are nearly always pre-war. This year around a dozen turned up over the weekend. Being keen we brought Harvey on both days. There was in fact a lot of interest in our car, largely because it fitted in well with the theme of the event. I suspect that like many other private vehicles Harvey would have been laid up "for the duration" because the lack of petrol coupons.
Harvey and its much bigger cousin at the start of the show

In the past there have been well publicised fly-pasts of WWII aircraft. This year there was no real publicity but a RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire did a couple of low passes much to the crowd's delight.

Spitfire Fly-past

Every year a George Formby impersonator Paul Casper entertains. But this year we watched the singer Lola Lamour delight the crowds on the Sunday. One of our favourite moments was when she did a duet in French with 92 year-old WII veteran Arthur. He had been in Normandy and sheltered from the Germans by a Belgium family.

Lola Lamour with Arthur under the bridge 

The picture of Lola doesn't appear to show much of an audience. That's because most of the audience were above the "stage" and the area in front was set up to allow dancing - we saw a young couple demonstrate some great jiving.

Model RC working boat (Video)

James Griffen (from Wyvern Shipping) was there with his model working boat. The boat carried munitions (full-size bullets). Watching it manoeuvre, I realised that it was producing an authentic sounding engine note. James informed me that it comes from a Lister HA2 but he would have preferred to have had the sound of a JP2! Unfortunately that but that wasn't available on the internet. The model has a steerer who moves the tiller (or perhaps it is actually the other way round!).

The event gave us the chance to meet up with some old friends, chat about boating and cars, enjoy a couple of drinks and food (hog roast), and marvel at the lengths some people go to recreate the past.


Halfie said...

Perhaps it's my elderly iPhone 4S, but I don't seem to be able to view your videos. The symbol just goes round and round ...

Steve Parkin said...

I initially I had a problem uploading them.

I think they are now OK. When I click once the movie viewer appears. You can then play, stop or rewind them. I tried this with Windows and an Iphone 6S.