Wartime Wheels at Caldicot Castle

IMG_0598 copy.jpgWartime Wheels returned for its third year at Caldicot Castle over Sunday and Monday. Visitors came and joined in for a bank holiday weekend of wheeled and tracked classic military vehicles, and living history displays in the beautiful setting.

IMG_0601 copy.jpgPhotographed (L to R): Tina Best, Josh Cottrell and Chloe Davidson.

There was free entry and some exceptional exhibits that brought in crowds of interested people, with a castle packed full of World War II era machines: equipment and re-enactors. There were larger and heavier vehicles sprawling out in to the grounds around.

IMG_0610 copy.jpgPhotographed (L to R) the 4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry of the 129th Brigade Back row: Jack Bromfield, Jack Smith, Sgt Clive Best, Tom Delahoyde (15yrs old), Niel Howard. Front Row Paul Hurren, Tina Best, Maj David Harris, Chloe Davidson and Josh Cottrell.

Clive Best said: ‘We are providing the guard of honour today for a WWII veteran and on 6th June 2019 we will be on Gold beach in Normandy for the anniversary. We like to try and honour the veterans of WWII through accurate uniform, equipment and drill. ‘

British, American and German World War Two military exhibits were included with motorcycles, jeeps and trucks. The vintage military vehicles and displays stretched from World War II to the 1980’s.

IMG_0572 copy.jpgPhotographed (L to R): Steve Chamberlain, Lt Sam Thomson and Thomas Driscoll.

The German contingent were part of the 30 strong 304th Panzer Grenadiers, from the Living History Association (LHA), which includes a British and American contingent. The LHA try to add an extra realistic perspective recreating real living conditions, even eating authentic food. Thomas said ‘We eat Pumpernickel bread, and it is fine. It is a fun event, even manning this entry checkpoint. The 304th are from all over the UK, we are from Leicester, Somerset and Weston Supermare.’

The Military Vehicle Trust (MVT) are the world’s oldest and largest military vehicle club. They are a charitable organisation dedicated to the conservation of ex military vehicles. The members look after and restore the whole range of ex military vehicles with both UK and overseas origins. The vehicles include the well known Jeep through to tanks, transporters, lorries, Land Rovers, motorbikes, the humble folding bicycle and range from pre First World War to the present day.

IMG_0591 copy.jpgPhotographed (L t R): John Shears, Bev Thomas and Dave Cable

Part of the Pegasus Airborne Re-enactment Association (PARA), Bev said ‘This time it is bigger and better evn than last year. This event is going from strength to strength.’ The latest addition to the group is the 1944 Dodge WC52 (Weapon Carrier), named ‘Francis’. With a 3.8 litre engine it manages 10 miles to the gallon and was imported from France. ‘Francis’ was originally part of the  light airlanding Brigade supporting airborne artillery.

IMG_0615 copy.jpgPhotographed (L to R): Rob Cummings and Peter Young with the 1943 original jeep.

Part of the MVT, both Rob and Peter are seasoned veterans with 11 and 18 years membership respectively. Both own their own jeeps which were present at the event. Rob Said: ‘I joined the group as I was interested in the historic era, the vehicles and the uniforms. Caldicot is a good setting, friendly people and it was lifelong ambition to own my own jeep.’ Rob and Peter will both be taking their jeeps to Normandy this June for the anniversay commemorations and will visit the main landing beaches; Omagh, Gold and Utah beaches.

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