More of everything at WaW18
More vehicles, more re-enactors, more traders, more aircraft and more sunshine … that was Wicksteed at War 2018. The historic parkland at Kettering was packed on June 9-10 with MVs and uniforms represent- ing armed forces from the American War of indepen- dence right up to present, ongoing conflicts.
Highlights of the arena events included the mounted troop of the WW1 First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, making a welcome return to Wicksteed, and an Auxiliary Fire Service Mobile Column with their iconic Green Goddess appliances. Old favourites the VCR (T) display team entertained with plenty of pyrotechnics and pitched battles were fought between Germans and Allies and between Americans and the Vietcong.
A Cold War display reflected the increasing popularity of these post-war vehicles and VIP ticket holders were taken around the arena in a collection of Jeeps, Land Rovers, trucks and armoured cars. The 100th anniversary of the RAF was marked with a replica Spitfire and its opponent, the Messerschmitt Bf109 aircraft. They proved a big attraction, as did the nose section of an Avro Shackleton.
The tank park was dominated by the only Challenger tank in private hands, which towered over smaller CVR(T)s. Friday, the 8th was education day when hundreds of local schoolchildren descended on the park to learn about life in the Blitz and to learn skills such as Morse code and hand grenade throwing.
Vehicle owners, traders and re-enactors who turned up early for the show were treated to the now-traditional Purple Heart disco on Friday night with Hawaiian shirts being the dress of the day.
The Rosebowl for Best in Show was presented by MVT vice-chairman Peter Hamblin during the Saturday night Victory Dance. It was awarded to AIPS, the American Infantry Preservation Society, whose informative Vietnam War display included the only two working M113 armoured personnel carriers in the UK. The London area-based group also took part in the arena battle.
Saturday also saw a low-level display from the RAF’s Lancaster bomber, with their Spitfire appearing on Sunday.
Show director Tim Hawkes said: “I would personally like to thank all those who have put their mark on the show, however big or small. Without this team the show could not go ahead. I would also like to thank Graham Sykes insurance for their wonderful support of the show and for the Military Trust over the last 12 months.”
There is no Wicksteed at War next year as most of the volunteers will be in France commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-day.
Pictures below and report by Peter Clarke