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SEM Area Secretary Ian Gardiner said he was surprised at the MVT AGM to be awarded the Warwick Affredi Shield for area secretary of the year. He said it was in recognition of the area’s efforts with Wicksteed at War and leading the way in safety training and was earned by all the SEM members. Tim Cross took this picture of members with the shield at April's meeting.

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Our May, 2017, monthly meeting was held at the Carpet- baggers Museum, Harrington, where we were shown around and learned of the history of the airfield.
We were made most welcome by Fred West and Keith Taylor of the museum. They gave us a very detailed presentation of the workings of the airfield and really brought it to life. With over 70 aircraft and some 5,000 men, it must have been a hive of activity supplying the French Resistance and agents, all done in total secrecy. The visit was much appreciated by all.
Picture by Tim Hawkes

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Arthur Jones was guest of honour at our Christmas meeting. He is pictured below pointing to the beach where he landed in Normandy. Neill Elliott is operating the laptop.

SHERMAN tank driver and war veteran Arthur Jones entertained at the December meeting with two love stories, one his mother’s love for her son and the other the love of a family in France who took him in when his Sherman tank broke down.
Arthur joined the army in 1944, aged 18, and, after just a few weeks learning to drive a tank, landed at Gold Beach on D+7. His was an observation post tank and had a dummy gun!
He ended the war in Bremen, aged 19, but was not demobbed until 1947.
He and a friend traced the family who had looked after him in 1944 and 62 years later there was a reunion, filmed by Central News TV.

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The Royal British Legion asked for a few vehicles for Armed Forces Day on North- ampton Market Square on June 25 and, as in other years, we were happy to oblige. Jim Poole’s 1944 Bedford MW radio truck was joined by Tim Cross’s 1945 Ford GPW and Peter Clarke’s 1996 Harley-Davidson MT350E. All were much admired by a sizeable crowd who watched a march past by Reservists and Cadets and were addressed by the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and the Northampton Mayor.

Mayor and Mayoress with Jim Poole's MW

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Congratulations to area member Tim Hawkes who received the chairman’s award for the person who has contributed most to the MVT during the year. It was awarded by chairman Terry Till at the club's AGM on Sunday, April 24. The award was in recognition for his work in his new role of Organised Events Co-ordinator. Former area member, treasurer and Wicksteed at War co-organiser Peter Hamblin, who has moved to Somerset, was elected vice-chairman of the MVT. Tim is pictured by Neill Elliott receiving his cup from Terry (right)

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It is sad to report the death in February of Brian Shoebridge, one of the earliest members of our area and its former secretary.
Peter Clarke, MVTSEM webmaster, said: "Brian owned a fabrication business, so was well placed to restore old MVs. He was a former Airborne REME soldier and proudly displayed the REME badge on his Champ. He also restored and showed a Bedford MW, Fordson WOT 1/1A and Morris Quad, complete with limber and 25 pounder gun. Brian was always ready to help out other members and was particularly helpful to me when I was restoring my first Jeep."
Steve Gascoigne, MVT vice-president and founder of the SEM Area added:  “I’d not seen Brian for a while, but knew him well as he and I worked opposite each other in St James Mill Road, Northampton, for about 10years.  I remember moving his 25 pounder on the back of my plant transporter on several occasions, once to Mereway Police Station to be inspected by Northants finest!”
Brian's funeral, with an escort of military vehicles, was on Thursday, February 25, 2016, at Weston Favell Church, Northampton.

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It is with great sadness that we hear that Ken Haverson died on October 8, 2015, after an illness. The area members send their con- dolences to his wife Lorna and family.
He is pictured at the 2013 Poppy Day event in Northampton.
Ken's funeral was on November 3, at St Mary's Church, Rushden town centre.

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At the request of the Royal British Legion, Tim Cross arranged for a handful of MVs to display some vehicles on North- ampton Market Square on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, June 27, 2015. A march around the town centre by Regulars, Reservists and Cadets culminated with the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire taking the salute. A sizeable crowd showed their appreciation and support for the Armed Services and MV owners were kept busy throughout the day answering questions about our vehicles.

Jim Poole leans against his 1944 Bedford MW, talking to Mike York, who brought his 1946 Willys M38 Jeep. The other MVs were Tim Cross's 1945 Ford GPW and Peter Clarke's 1993 Land Rover 90

Army cadets try a vintage Clansman radio

The Lord Lieutenant takes the salute as the Air Cadets band leads the parade

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Torrential rain was a feature of the open day at the unique Weedon Garrison, near Daventry, on Sunday, August 10, 2014. This depot, built in Napoleonic times, is not open to the public very often. Fortunately, the rain cleared later and members were able to explore the fascinating depot.



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Millway School, Duston, Northampton, had a WW1 commemoration day on Saturday, July 12, 2014,  and one of the stars was Roy Sharman in Gordon Beale's First World War uniform. Roy also brought his Jeep, Jim and John Poole a Bedford 15cwt and Morris 8 and a nice display of memorabilia and Mike York and Tim Cross a Jeep each. The teachers were delighted with our support and the children were all over the vehicles!


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The Royal British Legion's Honour Walk 2014, took place on The Racecourse, Northampton, on June 29. A small but select collection of MVs added to the attractions and Tim Cross, who co-ordinated our participation in the event, also took part in the walk.
Among the VIPs was Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, who took a special interest in the vehicles and said he was ready to help the club if we had an event which needed its profile increasing.
Pictures by Tim Cross. 

Michael Ellis MP takes a shine to Peter Clarke's Land Rover


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Sywell Air Show on August 17, 2014, was a sell-out, which will mean a record amount raised for the local air ambulance. High winds meant that the much-anticipated two Lancasters did not make it but other aircraft made up for them. Our vehicles in the car park were much admired by the record crowds.
Pictures:
Two seat Spitfire owned and flown by Carolyn Grace
Picture by Harry Measures

Jim Poole and his Bedford MW

Tim Webster's newly-restored shiny red "Green Goddess"

On display were a variety of WW2 Jeeps, plus an M38, M38A1 and a Champ

Peter Clarke having trouble with a hungry LR90






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The MVT was out in force for the opening of Sywell Aviation Museum on Easter Saturday. This report is from the excellent website www.airshows.org.uk:
(first picture: Northants Telegraph, second picture Stuart King)

Easter Saturday marked the Grand Opening of the Sywell Aviation Museum for the 2014 season. Each year the Museum marks its opening with in great style with visiting military vehicles and a flying display. This year was a particularly special year for the museum which officially unveiled and re-dedicated the refurbished airfield memorial and also celebrated the 60th Birthday of its resident Hawker Hunter F.Mk.2 ‘Heidi.’
Sywell Aviation Museum, like so many other aviation heritage endeavours, is a purely voluntary organisation. Based in three Nissan Huts carefully transported from RAF Bentwaters and a further two from the Prisoner of War Camp at Snape Farm in Derbyshire, the Museum is home to a fascinating collection of relics and artefacts not only covering the history of Sywell Aerodrome, but also that of Northamptonshire as a whole. The Museum has won several local heritage awards too including for 2013.
The Museum’s season traditionally starts on the long Easter Holiday weekend with a flying display and ground event. Returning to open the event this year was Peter Teichman in his wonderful Hawker Hurricane IIb BE505 ‘Pegs.’ The Hurricane is just one of five fighter that Peter’s Hangar 11 Collection owns. Also airworthy are examples of the North American P-51D Mustang, Curtiss P-40M Kittyhawk and the sole airworthy Supermarine Spitfire PRXI. Also nearing the end of restoration is a Supermarine Spitfire IX found in the Russian tundra which will be an exciting addition to the display circuit, particularly as it will be finished in its authentic markings from the Russian Front.
As ever, Peter’s display was a smooth flowing sequence of loops, rolls and low passes for the crowd under some lovely blue skies. Following his display, Peter taxied right up to the main event area taking some well-deserved applause for the crowd.
Following Peter’s display, there was a rededication of the Airfield Memorial. Opening in 1928, Sywell has remaining in private ownership ever since. However, the 1930’s saw Brooklands Aviation Limited set up a large flying school to support the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The outbreak of the Second World War saw training expanded even more plus a maintenance base set up to support the RAF’s Wellington plus completion and flight testing of 260 Avro Lancaster B.Mk2s.
It is estimated that 2,500 RAF, Commonwealth, Allied and Free-French pilots went through flying training at Sywell. The end of the war saw basic and reserve training for the RAF continued at Sywell plus maintenance of some of the RAF’s bombers and transport aircraft.However, by the 1960's Sywell had returned to entirely civilian operation. Mainly the Aerodrome has been a general aviation base, though on occasion it has operated scheduled services to the Channel Islands. Today, many private owners base their aircraft at Sywell alongside flying clubs and businesses. The airfield is home to 2Excel Aviation and The Blades Aerobatic Team plus the Aviator Hotel.
The memorial has just been refurbished and reset in place just outside the airfield perimeter fence. It was good see the local community and Royal Air Force very much involved with the ceremony. The ceremony also saw the museum receive a US Army Air Force Cap recovered from the crash site of a B-17 which had collided with radio masts in poor weather returning from a raid in December 1944. The Cap was recovered from the crash site soon after the crash by a School Boy who kept it all his life until he died recently. His son inherited the hat and has passed it to the museum. Peter Teichman was also honoured for his efforts supporting the museum and received an honorary lifetime membership from the Museum and some cannon shells for his Spitfire!
The Museum also marked the 60th Birthday of its Hawker Hunter F.Mk.2 ‘Heidi.’ The Mk.2 Hunter is unusual as it was powered by the Rolls Royce Sapphire engine rather than the Avon. Sywell’s Hunter, WV904, arrived from the former Waterbeach Barracks in July 2012 following the closure of the base. Since arriving at Sywell, the Hunter has enjoyed some much needed TLC and the Museum have reunited with airframe with many of the parts that went missing over the years including the Sapphire engine and one of her 30mm Aden Cannons. Also, for protection against the elements the Museum have even invested in vinyl covers! WN904 currently retains the joint 1 and 56 Squadron markings she wore as a gate guardian, but the Museum aim to restore her to her full 257 Squadron markings worn when she entered service at RAF Wattisham in 1954/55.

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Twelve members attended the vehicle marshalling and fire safety course on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at the VOSA Testing Station, Cavalry Hill, Weedon, Northants. Kevin Lamberth, our RBL friend, conducted the marshalling course and Tim Webster, Wicksteed at War safety officer, instructed on fire safety. The lessons learnt and experience gained were put into practice at Wicksteed Park in June.

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Gordon Beale with Mike Lusada in his Ferret

Several area members took part in the British Military Festival at Earls Court on December 7-8, 2013, in front of VIPs such as Prince William. Four Ferrets displayed with the Royal Signals White Helmets motorcyclists and they included those belonging to George Jackson and Mike Lusada.
Mike drove his Ferret down the M1 to London with Gordon Beale but suffered a failure of a front wheel drive station. Gordon phoned the recovery service and said he needed a Daimler taken to London . . .
Once at Earls Court, the failed drive was disconnected, turning the 4x4 armoured car into a 4x3 but this didn't stop it performing in the show. See ? The White Helmets-British Military Tournament 2013 - YouTube The Ferrets come in about 8.30 in to the film.


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2013: MVs at final goodbyes

Restored military vehicles escorted hearses at two funerals on Friday, November 22, 2013. The service for Tony Robinson, long-standing MVT member, was at Kettering Crematorium and the service for Reg Spittles, an honorary member and friend of the South East Midlands Area, was at the Counties Crematorium, Milton Malsor.

The following obituary and the first two pictures are reproduced from the Northampton Chronicle & Echo by kind permission of the editor:
A World War Two tank commander from Northampton will have a parade of military vehicles to mark his funeral procession.
Born in 1918, in Kingsthorpe Hollow, Reg Spittles went to work in the clicking room of the Crockett and Jones shoe factory as soon as he left school.
During the war years, he served with the Territorial Army’s 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry, and he travelled to Normandy in 1944 as a Troop Corporal Tank Commander.
His experiences, including being twice injured in action, led him in his retirement to give numerous historical talks to schools and community groups and he gave several interviews to the Chron.
In one he talked about how he responded to pupils who asked if he had killed people: “I explained that, as a tank commander, I had four other men in my tank, so I explained that my job was to look for suitable targets and tell my operator what type of shell I needed and then I gave a fire order to the gunner. Although I was responsible for having a lot of people killed, I hadn’t killed anyone personally.”
Mr Spittles, of Henry Street, The Mounts, began to collect his war stories in 1988 after his father, Walter, died and he decided his own memories should be recorded for posterity.
He has since recorded many tapes of his experiences, some of which are held by Northampton’s Central Library and some by London’s Imperial War Museum.
He has also written more than 30 accounts for students at Northamptonshire’s Huxlow Science College in a study which formed part of a BBC history project.
He and wife, Florence, now deceased, had one daughter, Elaine and a grandson. Reg died on November 6, aged 95.

Escort for Reg Spittles

Tank- themed wreath for Reg Spittles

Some of the Jeep drivers who escorted the hearse

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Peter Hamblin’s got one. Peter Clarke’s got one. They are jackets painted by Suffolk artist Jane Tebbutt. Peter C admired Peter H’s nose art painting and asked who did it. He got in touch with Jane and together they came up with a design paying tribute to war cartoonist Bill Mauldin. The painting features Mauldin as he was on the Italian Front in 1944  and his famous cartoon of a heartbroken cavalry man shooting his broken Jeep. Jane is taking commissions for jacket art and you can contact her via her website www.janesjackets.com

Peter Hamblin's jacket

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Webmaster Peter Clarke was reunited with one of his old projects at the Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden Aerodrome, near Bedford. The 1938 Hillman Minx was owned by Peter from 1995-97.  He obtained it from South East Midlands Area member Terry Feltham in a swop involving Peter’s 1942 Ford GPW Jeep, the one with the Cortina engine, mentioned elsewhere on mvtsem.com
Peter sold the Minx to build a kit car and a later owner sold it to the Shuttleworth Collection.
The pictures show the Minx in 1996 as an RAF staff car, complete with mannequin in uniform, and as it is now, in RAF Bomb Disposal markings. The number plate has changed but Peter was delighted to see that the Minx still had a plastic radiator fan. The original metal fan lost a blade due to a stress fracture – a common complaint on the Minx – and Peter sourced a more modern one from a scrapyard.