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2008: In Retrospect





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Before I lake a look back at 2008, I feel I must draw attention to next year.  2009 is, of course, the 65th Anniversary of both the Normandy Landings and Operation MARKET GARDEN.  89FSS, the re-enactment group, and members of our affiliated British Airborne groups from the wider 39-45 LHS will be attending commemorative events in France and Holland.  This anniversary, said by many to the last significant commemoration, may be the last journey to the continent for many of the veterans of 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions.  If that is to be the case, may we take the opportunity, here and in person, in June and September 2009 to thank you one more time for 1944.

2008 has been perhaps the busiest of our years in WW2 re-enactment after a quieter 2007.  Many thanks to the Fleece Hotel in Cirencester for putting up with the Regimental Dinner – they may even ask us back! Events at both the RA and RE Museums, were again well received with veterans and even a serving member of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, appearing at Chatham – a “busman’s holiday” (and a long suffering girlfriend!).  Again the VE Show at Waltham Abbey went well (lucky with the weather again Les), with new features and a swing around of the battle – out thanks to our German colleagues and the 514th and 29th – two countries separated by a single language! The novelty of having a live band (as retro as the 60s and 70s get) made the RSM’s “At the word of Command – you will appreciate the music through the medium of dance” a very entertaining order.

Normandy again made some special memories – and was a WAGs on tour trip! with the ladies forming part of the programme.  Long Jeep journeys and the accompanying “Jeep Arse” did not deter them from seeing what we get up to.  They must have enjoyed it, as some are returning for 2009.  The 65th may call for a tighter programme and see us near the centre of things – more later.

The new event “Maiden Newton @ War”, was managed in large part by the 39-45 LHS (you know who you are!) made the lengthy excursion in to the wild-west (well southwest) very worthwhile – see November’s Skirmish magazine for pictures and detail, many thanks to Ian H - already thinking about 2010.  The Church Parade and march to the War Memorial brought home the reality behind what we do.  Many thanks to: Matt for the Drill, Al for the “Reverse” and of course, Tim for the words of quiet reflection.

What can you say about Military Odyssey, one member of the group will never forget it – even though, there’s bits he can’t remember.  Actually, what was odd is that it wasn’t a self inflicted wound, unlike most of the rest of us – he’s ok now, however, and looking forward to the 09 season.  Tim, your lecture was, again, inspirational – much more effective than bromide ever could be.  Many thanks to Gary and Deborah for all the hard work, making sure we have somewhere to look good.

A happy few got out to Arnhem – and popped over the border into Germany for a VARSITY tour. Expecting a full debrief in due course.

NVR goes from strength to strength, aided by excellent weather, and the Battle of Britain Memorial flight, we succeeded in our missions to educate and inform as well as the portrayal of the French SAS - actually blowing up the bridge and cutting communications (well done Matt!) - our thanks, to Murray and the team (in the office, the “NAAFI” and of course the yard, at Wansford.

Bring on 2009!

"Educate, Inform, Commemorate, and Remember".





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