Tag Archives: military vehicles

Solent Overlord Show 2010

Scimitar light tank

I spent a couple of hours earlier at the Solent Overlord Military Show 2010 at the Horndean Showground.

Organised by the Solent Overlord Executive, a group of military vehicle enthusiasts, this annual show brings together hundreds of military vehicles from the Second World War to the modern era – plenty of WW2 jeeps, half-tracks (includking a German one), several guns, a host of Land Rovers, Bren Gun Carrier, a Scimitar light tank, and an FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier. There was even a Rapier Unit to provide anti-aircraft cover!

Rapier 2000 anti-air missiles

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It obviously takes real dedication to own and run a classic military vehicle. Obviously something like a WW2 military jeep is going to be harder to maintain than a Ford Focus. But there is usually something pretty redoubtable about a Jeep or a Land Rover. Military vehicle enthusiasts are a dedicated bunch. The only comment I would make, is that too few vehicles had any kind of information. I suppose I come from a museum background, but when I eventually get my Land Rover I will set up display boards about it, its history, the equipment, markings, and such like.

They might seem a bit nerdy but these kinds of shows are certainly popular, especially with the kids. And you can always see people huddled around vehicles, inspecting each others work and swapping notes. Throw in a host of military surplus stalls to rummage over, a beer tent and arena events and you've got a pretty good day out. And whats more, any surplus income from the show goes towards a suitable military charity, this year the Gurkha Welfare Fund.

Have a look at my flickr album of pics here - let me know if you can help identify any of the vehicles, or if I have made any mistakes!

56th (London) Division Jeep

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Filed under Army, cold war, event, Military vehicles, out and about, Uncategorized, World War Two

local military history events this summer

Its looking like a bumper summer for all things military history in the Portsmouth area. If I’ve missed any out, feel free to comment!

Overlord Vehicle Show – 28 to 31 May 2010

This event takes place every year at the Horndean showground near Portsmouth, and is organised by the Solent Overlord Executive Military Vehicle Club. For 4 days from 9am until 5.30pm you can take a good look at a whole host of military vehicles, re-enactors, arena events and stalls. This year the shows designated charity is the Gurkha Welfare Trust. For more information click here, and to look at some pictures from last years event, click here.

South Coast Proms – 25 and 26 June 2010

This is a brand new event, featuring the massed bands of the Royal Marines – only the best military band in the world! Its taking place on Whale Island, a naval base normally closed to the public. Pre-show entertainment starts at 6.30pm each night, and the evening will end on a high with the traditional Naval Ceremonial Sunset and a fireworks finale. For more information click here.

Para Spectacular and Veterans Day – 3 and 4 July 2010

This event began life as the Pompey Paras spectacular over twenty years ago. This year, for the second year running, its a two-day event and incorporates the Armed Forces and Veterans Day. It takes place on Southsea Common, and features a range of dislays, arena events, and parachute displays. According to the local media an Apache might even make an appearance! The day ends with a marchpast of veterans and a performance from the Parachute Regiment band. As the Grandson of a Para I always try and make an appearance if I can. For more information click here, and to see pictures of last years event click here.

Navy Days – 30 July to 01 August 2010

This biennial event takes place at Portsmouth Dockyard. Aimed at showcasing the Royal Navy past, present and future, we can expect a wide array of ships, displays, arena events, aerial and water displays, and a whole host of entertainment. Already confirmed to appear are HMS Daring and Dauntless, the two new Type 45 Destroyers; RFA Argus, an aviation training and casualty receiving ship; two Type 23 Frigates; HMS Cattistock, a mine-countermeasures vessel; HMS Tyne, a fishery patrol vessel; and HMS Gleaner, an inshore survey launch. Nearer the event we can also expect some foreign warships to be announced. As well as the modern ships visitors will be able to see all the usual attractions of the historic dockyard. The Royal Marines band will be performing, along with the Royal Signals white helmets motorcycle display team, and the Brickwoods Field Gun competition. In the air, the Royal Navy Black Cats helicopter display team will appear, along with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, and the Royal Artillery Black Knights Parachute Display team. Looks like a great day out. For more infomation click here.

Shoreham Airshow – 21 to 22 August 2010

The last event of the year is the annual Battle of Britain airshow at Shoreham airport. Headlining the show this year are contributions from the RAF, in the shape of a Harrier GR9, Hawk T1, Tucano T1, King Air, Grob Tutor, the Lancaster, Spitifire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the Falcons parachute display team (saturday only). On Sunday the Red Devils Parachute Display team will be performing. A wide array of civilian displays are expected – Hawker Hunter, Folland Gnats, BAC Strikemaster, De Havilland Vampire, Catalina Flying Boat, a large number of Spitfires and Hurricanes, B-17 Flying Fortress, and a number of aerobatic displays. As well as the aerial displays there are always a wide range of static displays, including from the armed forces, and re-enactors. I’ve been the past two years and always had a great time. For more information click here.

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Filed under airshow, Army, d-day, Dockyard, event, maritime history, Music, Navy, out and about, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, Uncategorized

Military Vehicles: a confession

I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for military vehicles. I guess theres no way about getting away with this one: in this respect, I’m a geek.

My favourite military vehicle has to be the good old Land Rover, stalwart of the British Army for years. I’ve never heard anything other than good words from people who have driven them, especially the 110 long wheel base versions – the military counterpart of the civilian Defender. There are some fantastic examples out there – 109′s restored as SAS ‘Pinkies’, Lightweight airportable verions, Gurkha versions, Royal Signals FFR (fitted for radio) versions, and ambulance versions.

There are even a number of communities dedicated to the restoration of ex-military vehicles – The Military Vehicle Trust and the Ex Military Land Rover Association are both fine examples. Just take a look at some of the vehicles in their galleries! There sure is a wealth of expertise out there.

I guess you could say it is an ambition of mine to own one. The plan, eventually, is to pick one up at a knock down price and take it on as a project – research its service history and restore it back to something like its original condition, complete with markings. The great thing is that you can research the service history of every ex-army Land Rover via the records of the Royal Logistics Museum.But, alas, as I haven’t got a driving license yet the Land Rover project is there on the backburner. But that doesnt stop me looking in the classified ads in military vehicle magazines, an on auction websites.

Not only do I find them interesting, but I can imagine a Land Rover 110 being a pretty darn practical vehicle – you wont find the snow stopping you driving round a Lanny. I can see it being an ideal fishing wagon too. And any vehicle that is designed to serve in action with the Army is going to be reliable and easy to maintain, surely?

If money were no object, I would like a WW2 airborne Jeep too. Now that would be something to drive along Southsea seafront in Summer. And while we’re at it, how about a DUKW amphibious vehicle? Is it a truck, is it boat? Its both! It beat Top Gear to it by 60 years!

The Land Rover is gradually being phased out as a combat vehicle in favour of more armoured and mobile vehicles. This is especially important given the inadequacy of the Snatch Land Rover at protecting troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I’m sure the Lanny will keep on serving away from the front-line for some time to come.

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Filed under Army