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New Year at Stony

2024 started with Vintage Stony on New Year's Day at Stony Stratford where streets were closed to traffic and packed with classic vehicles. We were unable to display at our usual corner as the paving slabs had recently been relayed, so were directed to a space outside the old cinema.

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Christmas Classics

MVs were well represented at Brackley Christmas Classic Car Meet, Northants, on December 30. Members came from the South East Midlands and Cotswolds and North Oxon Areas. Steve Myles managed to kidnap the Brackley Mayor in his LR Pulse Ambulance.

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Back to school to see a hero

A Northampton school marked November Remembrance time, 2023, with a project called "A hero in the family" ... and what a hero they found! Eddie Habberley, from Duston, Northampton, is 100 years old and told children at St Luke's School. near his home, how he volunteered to join the RAF during the Second World War when he was just 17-and-a-half years old. He chose the RAF because of a hero of his was Royal Flying Corps fighter ace Albert Ball and by volunteering instead of waiting to be called up, he could choose which branch of the Armed Forces in which to serve.

Eddie learnt to fly on Tiger Moths in England and was then sent to America for further training on Stearman and Harvard aircraft. Then it was back to Britain for a course on the Miles Master before being sent to Egypt to fly Spitfires.

He was then posted to Burma to fight the Japanese invaders and while there crashed his Spitfire in the jungle. After recovering in hospital, he ended the war in Hong Kong . Even then, the action didn't stop, as he patrolled the South China Sea in his Spitfire hunting for pirates!

After his talk he joined the children in the playground to look at our MVs. Richard Hall brought his ex-USAAF Jeep, Norman Head his ex-Gulf War Land Rover 110 and Peter Clarke his Ex-Bosnia peacekeeper Land Rover 110 and his half-scale electric Jeep. The children were able to sit in the Jeep, Norman's Land Rover and the small Jeep and even tried on Peter's Clansman radio manpack. The Jeep's siren and horn were particular favourites!

Of course, we were not allowed to photograph the children, so you will have to imagine queues of them, just out of shot, waiting for their go...

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Neill is top Area Sec

MVT chairman Tim Hawkes (left) presents Neill Elliott with the Area Secretary of the Year Award, which was announced at the club AGM on October 29 but somehow kept secret from Neill until the November area meeting. A delighted Neill said the running of the area was not down just to him and he had a great team behind him. SEM now has the opportunity of hosting next year’s MVT AGM. Neill is the third SEM leader to win the shield. John Denney was awarded it in 2014 and Ian Gardener in 2017.


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Operation Poppy 2023

John Underwood (left) lays a wreath at the Weldon War Memorial on behalf of the South East Midlands Area. MVs were parked around the memorial and after the 11am service, compete with Last Post, we convoyed to Deenethorpe Aerodrome, once the home of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the United States Army Air Force.

We were treated to a remarkable flying display by two large-scale radio controlled models of a B-17 and Mustang fighter. The huge B-17 was one of three models made for the 1990 film Memphis Belle.

Peter Clarke was delighted to meet a veteran who served in Bosnia with the UN's Stabilisation Force (SFOR) at the same time as his Land Rover 110. Sapper Stu Cranage, of 29 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, was tasked with clearing land mines left behind after the civil war.

MVTSEM photographer Kevin Lamberth took the pictures.

Deenethorpe Aerodrome runway bash

Picture by Ashley Lowe. Here's a link to his video (cut and paste it into your browser): https://www.facebook.com/groups/708871319708565/?multi_permalinks=1380381752557515&notif_id=1699867380689778&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif


John Underwood's pictures of East Carlton, Spanhoe airfield, Gretton village memorial and veterans at the White Heart PH in Corby

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Gary Stock with his Jeep leading the parade at Deanshanger

Selling poppies at Dobbies Garden Centre, Harlestone Heath, Northampton, November 4

Selling poppies at Dobbies Garden Centre, Harlestone Heath, Northampton, October 28.

We raised a magnificent £1,367.55 selling poppies etc at Dobbies in Northampton. To this we must add other amounts from elsewhere in Northants and Bucks. Well done everybody!

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Tail gunner Henry returns

We were delighted and privileged to once more to provide period transport for a visit of the families of US airmen who flew from Grafton Underwood in their B-17s. In earlier years returning USAAF veterans were a common sight but inevitably they have now become fewer and fewer. This year just one vet made it and 98-year-old former B-17 tail gunner Henry Kolinek was driven around the crumbling perimeter track by Roy Sharman in his Jeep. Roy later presented a delighted Henry with a tea towel showing all the USAAF bases in the UK.

Pictures by Katie Brown


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Glimpse of once-powerful airbase

MVs visit the former RAF Upper Heyford - pictures by Peter Clarke

More pictures by Kevin Lamberth

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Getting steamy at Turvey

A few shots from Bedfordshire Steam Fayre, Turvey on September 16 by Peter Clarke. Here's a link to a short video: https://youtu.be/h1SCkfw6pfs?feature=shared

... and from Will Needham

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Ambulance sends pulses racing

Congratulations to Steve Myles, whose Land Rover Pulse Ambulance won Best Military Vehicle at the Rotary Club's Classic Car 100 rally at Chapel Brampton today. His award was presented by the Mayor and Mayoress of Northampton.

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Armed Forces Family Weekend at the NMA

Neill Elliott reports:
Roy Shakeshaft (above) is a RBL veteran who sits on one of the committees at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Through a chance conversation he had with the events organiser, SEM was invited to bring along a small selection of British WW2 and post-war vehicles. Thanks to John and Judith Underwood, Will and Jane Needham, Stephen Myles, Roy Shakeshaft and myself ,we were able to muster a Chevrolet C15, Morris Commercial, Willys MB , Matchless 350 (all WW2) , Daimler Ferret, Austin Champ and Land Rover Pulse Ambulance (all post war).
We were asked to display for the whole weekend, so we arrived on Friday evening to set up. We were given an amazing location right next to the huge Armed Forces Memorial which is one of more than 100 memorials dedicated to military and civilian personal. The weather was perfect and, as owners of vehicles that many of the visitors had actually used, it was a privilege to chat with them. The staff at the Arboretum were all very friendly and we were superbly looked after.
Obviously it is quite a way to the Arboretum, too far to drive for all of the vehicles except the ambulance, so I would like to thank the two transport companies who helped get us safely there and back . . . thanks Mick and Mike.
On behalf of the National Memorial Arboretum, Maria Howes, head of marketing and business development, said:
"It was fantastic to welcome Military Vehicle Trust members to our recent Armed Forces Weekend celebrations. The impressive MVT display, featuring motorcycles, Jeeps and other armoured vehicles, was a brilliant addition and the passion of their owners was evident, with the vehicles being brought to life by the informative and engaging stories shared by those manning the stand. Thousands of people visited the Arboretum over the two-day event, eager to show their support to the whole Armed Forces community, and the involvement was a great boost to the visitor experience and we are eager to explore how we could work together with MVT in the future"

... and from Will Needham

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Bletchley Park MV Day

 Pre-war, wartime and post-war MVs featured at a Military Day at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, on July 16. We were invited to the famous Codebreakers HQ after Neill Elliot and others attended a 1940s day last year. Our suggestion that an all-eras display would be popular was taken up by the Park and proved a hit with the public. Our vehicles included the Morris 8 Radio Car of MVT president Richard Beddall., pictured above. Here's a link to a short video. You have to cut and paste it in to your browser: https://www.facebook.com/100005750018373/videos/1009291103587673/

Timewarp at BP

More than 30 years separate these photos. The one above, taken In the early 1990s, shows the late Gordon Beale's two Bedford trucks and Peter Clarke's GPW outside Bletchley Park mansion. The below photo, taken in July, 2023, shows Chris Naylor's Austin Gantry, Sean Crompton's Bedford breakdown truck and Peter Clarke 's Land Rover 110 at the Military day at BP.

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Flying high at Shuttleworth

A Flying Fortress, Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang cavorting overhead and airshow crowds admiring our MVs – what a great day we had at the Shuttleworth Collection on Sunday, July 2!

SEM was invited to Old Warden Aerodrome for the Military Air Show by display organiser Debs Bobka, who was impressed with our showing at the opening of Sywell Aviation Museum. We had a generous allocation of two free entries per vehicle and the use of the direct entry gate by the aerodrome restaurant and arrived in a convoy of eight Jeeps, two Land Rovers, a Dodge and a German Army VW Beetle.

Many of us took part in a parade of MVs along the crowd line and we were joined by the Shuttleworth Collection’s own vehicles and a brace of WW1 trucks brought along by Tim Gosling and friends of the North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area. Then it was back to our vehicle display areas between the hangars and the airfield to enjoy a varied airshow, which included warbirds, rare and unique aircraft and the RAF Falcons parachute display team.

Everyone enjoyed the show, Shuttleworth was pleased with our input and this was hopefully the first of many regular visits.

Here's a link to a Facebook video of us arriving at Old Warden, filmed by Nick Blacow:

External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://www.facebook.com/reel/629493292250011

More pictures from Kevin Lamberth and Vaughn Glynn

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School experiences the Blitz


Tim Hawkes, Tim Cross and Neill Elliott were invited by St Mary's School in Kettering to talk to some of their pupils aged between 8 and 10 years old. Tim H took his GMC while Tim C and Neill took their Jeeps and did two sessions, talking to more than 100 children.

The pupils are studying WW2 and Neill started with a general introduction about the vehicles and what they were used for. Quite amazingly for children so young the history module was entitled " Is conflict ever justified" and they had been learning about things like the Blitz and Homefront along with media propaganda. This is where Tim C was able to show his Press jeep along with his collection of cameras, highlighting how technology had changed. The pupils were amazed how large a stills camera was. Many of the children were able to hold the camera and feel how heavy it was and then compare it with an even heavier cine camera.

Tim H then did a talk about the home front, dressed in his ARP uniform, first showing a range of tin helmets and getting the children to guess what role they had by the letters on them. He went through what would have happened if the German bombers had dropped gas. A wailing air raid siren, gas rattle, all clear whistle and then another wind of the wailing siren enthralled the children and I think they will certainly remember this part of WW2.

Neill Elliott.

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Armed Forces Day Northampton

Two MVs took pride of place outside All Saints Church, Northampton, as the town celebrated Armed Forces Day on June 24 with a military march past and entertainment. Councillor Stephen Hibbert, the 783rd Northampton Mayor, was impressed with William Bourne's Willys MB and Peter Clarke's Land Rover 110.

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Olney Motorama

Congratulations to Will Needham, who came third in his category at Olney Motorama, June 11, 2023, with his Chevrolet CMP, beaten by a Maserati and a Ferrari!

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Vintage Newport Pagnell

Newport Pagnell Vintage Day was attended by George Jackson (Ferret), Will Needham (Morris Commercial) and Neill Elliott (Willys MB). The veteran pictured in the Jeep is named Eddy who did National Service between 1950 and 1952, serving in Cyprus and Egypt. Now 91 years old, this was the first time he has sat in the driver's seat of a Jeep. Will Needham’s instruction on the firing position with his Bren proved very popular.

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Classic Stony... hot and packed!

SEM made its presence felt at the annual Classic Stony car meet on June 4. The town centre was closed to traffic and jammed with rare and desirable vehicles. SEM Corner included the Ferrets of Peter Bird and George Jackson, huge Federal 94X43C truck from Chas Jellis, Sean Crompton's Bedford RL Light Recovery, Chris Naylor's Austin K6 Gantry, Mike Lousada's Humber staff car and Peter Clarke's Land Rover 110. Town Crier Matt Ireland joined George on his Ferret and the day ended with a Lancaster fly over.

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Gaydon Land Rover Show

Steve Myles (right) with his Pulse Ambulance and Peter Clarke with his 110 (and Tri-ang Land Rover pedal car) at Gaydon Land Rover Show to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the marque. Roger Higgerson was also there - in his DAF!

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Brampton Rotary Club show

Congratulations to Tim Cross who won the best military vehicle award at the Rotary Club's classic car show at Chapel Brampton on April 29.

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Drive It Day at the Depot

SEM was well represented for Drive It Day on Sunday, April 23, at Industry and Supply at Weedon Depot. The Napoleonic-era barracks later became a Royal Ordnance depot, hence the sign above a door. Most of the pictures are by Kevin Lamberth.

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Sywell Easter opening

Easter Saturday saw the annual grand opening of Sywell Aviation Museum, our crank-up meet. Warm, sunny weather brought out the public in their thousands and they were treated to a display of 22 Jeeps and dozens of other MVs. WW2 songstress May Blossom sang from the back of Tim Hawke’s GMC Deuce-and-a-half. Museum honorary member Peter Teichman flew in from North Weald in his Mustang which in 1945 was assigned to the 332nd fighter group, 99th Fighter Squadron, which became famous as the first all Afro-American manned Group known as “The Tuskegee Airmen”.

More pictures from Kevin Lamberth

More pictures from Vaughn Glynn

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Roger's Road Run 2023

Sunday, January 22 saw the annual Roger’s Road Run, a 37-mile trek through south-west Northamptonshire with the temperature not rising above freezing.

Roger Higgerson started with a minute’s silence in honour of John Marchant before leading us off from Harpole in his white Land Rover Series 2a London Ambulance Service command vehicle.  This was the last project of the much-missed Gordon Beale, who restored this very rare vehicle with a new chassis.

The 16-vehicle convoy consisted of four Jeeps, seven assorted Land Rovers, Austin 12, Dodge M37, Fordson WOT2, Austin K6 and a Chevrolet M1009. Once again we were joined by friends from the adjacent North Oxon and Cotswolds Area.

Photographers Kevin Lamberth and Vaughn Glynn positioned themselves along the route, which culminated in a Daventry pub. Their pictures can also be seen on our Facebook page.

Many thanks are due to Roger and his team for organising yet another successful road run.

Pictures by Kevin Lamberth

Pictures by Vaughn Glynn

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Vintage Stony, New Year's Day, 2023

Pictures from the annual Vintage Stony car meet on New Year's Day, 2023, at Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, are by MVTSEM photographer Kevin Lamberth and Vaughn Glynn.

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Death of John Marchant

John Marchant “the grandfather of the MV preservation movement”, died aged 95 on Christmas Eve 2022 and many tributes to him have been made on social media.

John was a founder-member of the both the MVCG (forerunner of the MVT) and the South East Midlands Area. His MVT membership number was 167.

MVT president Richard Beddall said: “This is very sad news. John was very knowledgeable and was always interesting to chat to. RIP.”

Neill Elliott, SEM Area Secretary said: “John was always very generous with his support of SEM. I remember just after I had joined the MVT he invited our area over to his place. In addition to looking around his wonderful collection, we were able to do a bit of off-roading in one of his fields where he joined us driving his Universal Carrier, which I know he was particularly fond of. He will be sadly missed, not only as a member of SEM but as one of stalwarts that started the whole ethos of collecting military vehicles."

CoM member Tim Hawkes said: “John was the longest serving member in our area having formed part of the group of founders of the MVT.  His passion and knowledge for CMP vehicles made him a global hub of knowledge and parts.  He also owned and showed many himself.  John used to make his annual pilgrimage to Stoneleigh and ran a small stall of eclectic items drawn from the back of his many sheds.  John leaves a legacy in the MV world many of us will not forget."

SEM founder Steve Gascoigne added: “I was chatting to John on the phone only a week or two ago, and he seemed the same affable chap he always was.  I remember him from the early MVCG tours and saw him frequently as I lived about 15 miles away for 30 years.”

Our condolences go to John’s family.

The funeral on January 17 was at St John the Evangelist Church, Wicken, where John was Church Warden for many years.  The MVT was represented by local members, vice-presidents and members of CoM – and a GMC CCKW353, Austin K6, and Land Rovers 109 and 110 parked outside the church.

Peter Clarke, another SEM founder-member, has known John for 50 years and interviewed him for Windscreen magazine on the occasion of his 90th birthday party in July, 2017 (when he demonstrated his Bren Gun Carrier for us). The report is repeated in part below.

Can you imagine a time when Bren Gun Carriers could be bought for just £15 and a running Jeep for £70? A time when redundant RAF airfields were full of thousands upon thousands of World War Two vehicles?
This was when contractor and farmer John Marchant first began to buy, restore and use green machines, recently let go by the Armed Services.
John has owned an astonishing 169 MVs and is one of the earliest members of the Military Vehicle Conservation Group, later the Military Vehicle Trust, joining in January, 1974, with a membership number of 167.
He was born in Wicken, South Northants, just a few miles from his present home in Old Stratford, on the borders of Milton Keynes. The first vehicle he acquired, in 1947 and for £15, was a Loyd Carrier.
“We used it for ploughing and harrowing,” said John, “but it was fairly useless. It steered by using the brakes and the engine wasn’t powerful enough.”
A few months later he bought a 1942 Canadian Ford F60S three-tonner, a vehicle which incredibly he still owns and drives – surely the longest partnership of owner and MV in the world. This sparked a lifelong passion for Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) Ford and Chevrolet vehicles and led to him setting up the Canadian Ex-Military Vehicle Register.
His enthusiasm for all things Canadian led to him being invited as a VIP to the College Militaire Royal in St Jean, Quebec in 1988.
John was one of those MV pioneers who went to Normandy on a Peter Grey-organised tour in 1974. He took a Daimler Armoured Car but only made it as far as the south coast owing to a gearbox failure. “We couldn’t fix it in time to catch the  ferry but offers of help came from everyone and we soon had all our baggage stowed in corners of other people’s vehicles and a lift to France arranged for us, all from people we had never met before, which shows the great comradeship and help which still exists today.”
The breakdown did not put John off foreign tours and he has since taken his vehicles to Normandy and Arnhem. Other vehicles he has owned include the £70 Jeep (“it was running when I bought it but when I collected it I found someone had stolen the half-shafts”), Stuart tank, Vickers Vigor armoured bulldozer, armoured cars, carriers and a staggering 64 CMPs.

John, who for many years was the MVCG/MVT chief judge, had a retirement sale a few years ago but, even at the age of 90, still keeps and drives his beloved 1942 F60S, a 1942 Chevrolet HUP and a 1944 T6 Carrier.

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Operation Poppy 2022, totals


Here are the totals raised for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal at the three Northampton venues:
Dobbies, Wootton £650.42.
Dobbies, Harlestone Heath, £964.42.
Riverside 05/11 £518.10, 12/11 £500.63, Total £1,018.73.
Overall total raised by the MVT SEM teams in Northampton:  £2,633.57.
Simon Stacey, the Poppy Appeal Organiser, is overwhelmed with this result and sends his thanks and appreciation. He has also extended an invitation to any MVT member that participated in the Poppy Appeal to St Crispin Social Club on 8th December. There will be food laid on so Kevin Lamberth will need names of those attending via Facebook PM by Thursday, 24th November.
If individuals want to know what they have collected send Kevin a PM via the MVTSEM Facebook.
Many thanks for Kevin for organising the poppy supplies and, of course, well done and thanks to all those who helped.
Weldon branch of the RBL Poppy Appeal organiser and SEM member Tim  Webster has thanked all members of the MVT for their support and attendance at Weldon Remembrance Day service and fund-raising events . "With your help the branch raised over £9,300 for Poppy Appeal. THANK YOU!"
Kevin Lamberth adds: "We as a group were invited to a social gathering by Simon Stacey of the Duston Branch RBL Poppy Appeal, Attendees were Stephen Myles and partner Janice, John Green, Guy Voice and myself. The branch was informed that we had raised a considerable amount of money and recognition was given to the MVTSEM group for raising £3,000 in Northampton. A round of applause was also given. They look forward to our continuing support next year."

Operation Poppy 2022, Day 3

Remembrance Day service at Weldon with a wreath laid on behalf of the MVT by John Underwood, followed by a run to Deenethorpe airfield where a 25 pounder field gun was fired.

 Pictures by Kevin Lamberth

Operation Poppy 2022, Day 2


 Collecting at Riverside, a very successful day with our three veterans getting very engaged with the general public.

Peter Clarke's Land Rover 110 and BSA Parabike at Dobbies Garden Centre, Wootton.