World War II Blacksmith – The REME Workshop
In this event, Ian Thackray will be offering a fully interactive opportunity for people to use the tools and equipment of the Second World War blacksmith – a vital cog in maintaining fighting efficiency at the front. The session will include welding and cutting and field engineering techniques.
World War II Blacksmith – The Hedgecutter
It was US Technical Sergeant Curtis Culin, a former garage mechanic, who created the first hedge-cutter, or ‘Rhino’ as it became known, in early July 1944. This giant steel fork was fitted to the front of a Sherman tank which then cut through the base of the hedgerows that dominated the Normandy ‘bocage’ landscape. In these events, Ian Thackray, with the help our tank crew, will be creating a hedge-cutter from a German beach obstacle and fitting to the front of a Sherman tank.
The T-34 Tank
We are very fortunate to have a real, working T-34 tank at the history festival this year. Newly arrived in Britain, it served in the Red Army and is one of some 84,000 built, making it the most built tank ever produced. The mainstay of the Red Army, this extraordinary armoured fighting vehicle will move from the WWII area to the Proving Ground, while our all-female Red Army crew will explain how it is maintained, driven and fired and will discuss the role of women combatants on the Eastern Front.
The Garrison – Anti-Tank Gun Demonstration
The Garrison will be moving three different anti-tank guns from the WWII area to the Proving Ground then unhooking them, setting them up and firing each in turn. Using the training, instructions and techniques that were practiced by British anti-tank gunners in the Second World War, they will be show-casing the 2-pounder of the early war as well as the mighty 6-pounder and 17-pounder ‘Pheasant.’ This one will be very loud!
Our wartime farmers will be demonstrating the machinery, tools and skills of the increasingly mechanised farming from the wartime era throughout the festival weekend, including an array of tractors, steam power, and a threshing machine. We will also have a display of wartime artefacts, local photographs and recorded memories alongside veterans who actually worked the land at the time.