Stannington Battle of Britain Day - June 18th
The Stannington show was only a one day
event. It really should have been two days, after the amount of effort that
had gone into it and all the exhibits already there. We had planned to drive
there and back in a day, but a few of the guys suggested we camp near by and
make a weekend of it. So on Friday afternoon, we set off for the camp site at
the former RAF Morpeth, where we'd all stayed during the easing of covid
restrictions in August 2020. It was only a few miles from Stannington village.
The drive there was a bit torturous and by trying to avoid the motorways and
fast roads, it resulted in crawling through Gateshead and Newcastle during
rush hour(s). The 30 mile trip took 90 minutes in the end. Neil's Jeep had a
broken spring, so he was without his vehicle, but Chris had his Dodge, Derek
and Andy came in Derek's Jeep and we had our Dodge and trailer. Despite being
a breezy day, the campsite was sheltered and we had a nice evening with a
On Saturday morning, our three vehicle convoy set off the few miles to Stannington Village where we were then redirected to Lough Farm, about 3/4 mile up the road. We were told that all the vehicles were displaying at the farm. As it turned out, this wasn't true and only three Dodges and four Jeeps were at the farm, including ours. We later found out that all the other military vehicles and classic cars were in the main village show field. It didn't give us the feeling that our contribution was valued.
I originally parked the Dodge pointing in the same direction as the other vehicles, but when it became clear that nobody else would be joining us, I turned it and the trailer side on. The last Jeep to arrive at the farm looked to be a CJ2 or derivitive, judging by the body. Part way through the morning, Derek, Andy and Charlie headed off in Derek's Jeep to see what was going on at the other site.
While they were gone, I did a mini photoshoot with my daughter in her Land Army outfit at a few locations around the farm, then went indoors to look at the displays. They'd set up a vintage shop, house and school room, plus several other smaller displays inside the barn. It was clear that a great deal of effort had gone into the displays.
The public ( or those who actually knew about the farm display ) were shuttled between the two sites by two buses, one being vintage and the other with disabled access. A little while after lunch, we took the bus down to the village to have a look around.
The main feature in the show field behind the community centre, were some fullsized fibreglass replicas of a Spitfire MkIX and Hurricane fighter aircraft, both in Battle of Britain camouflage. There were a number of dioramas and quite a few military vehicles, many of which we felt should have been at the farm with us.
One of the most interesting displays was an air raid shelter. Along side was an officer with a tablet computer connected to some loud speakers. He was playing an air raid siren, followed by the sound of bombers, a raid with the bombs falling and the all clear signal. There were a number of radio controlled model aircraft on show, most of which were the usual club sized aircraft, with a few larger scales. In the car park around the community centre were a dozen or so classic cars. Inside were more stalls and displays, including a group working an RAF plotting table, recreating the tracking of a raid on the North East of England. We've seen them before at Barnard Castle.
There was a huge queue for the bus back, but we spotted Chris' Dodge parked out front, so jumped in for a lift back to the farm. After we got back, my daughter took a few pictures of me using the Dodge crane.
By late afternoon, we were waiting around for the go-ahead to start the convoy through the village. The other Jeeps had already disappeared by this time. Around 15:30hrs, the convoy set off, consisting of Derek's Jeep in the lead, then Chris' Dodge, my Dodge and Paul's Dodge, with the two buses following after that. We made two laps through the village, before breaking up the convoy.
Derek and Andy headed straight home after the convoy split. Chris took some of the gang back to the camp site before heading home. We made a small detour to the RAF Morpeth water tower to get some photos. It wasn't far from the camp site and could be seen above the tree line from certain parts of the site. Neil's family and us stayed at the camp site on Saturday evening and packed up to return home on Sunday morning.