I had a usual mad rush trying to get in before the gates shut - this time Graham Cufley was just coming back from his car so helped me to get in. On arrival, I noticed there were only three guns set up. The fourth was en route, Dave Nesbitt’s Quad being towed by Don’s van from Tilbury following a breakdown. Next thing we hear is that the Quad and fourth gun have gone into the back of the van - oops! Eventually, the ensemble arrived with Jonathan going out in his tractor to fetch the Quad and gun, Detling Hill preventing Don from towing such a weight in one hit (if you‘ll excuse the pun). The van was bashed in but hopefully this will be repaired in due course. So, we finally got the Troop together, and quite impressive it looked I must say.
Gary Howard wanted to know where the searchlight and Bofors was so Ian Hagger and I fudged the issue and pointed to Keith! This year, I had the 19 set again, but for some reason it didn’t want to work properly (good job there wasn’t a war on!) In the afternoon, there was the usual WW2 battle, but this year with the added draw of the Jagd Panther - bit of a monster of a tank with an 88 mm main gun. The barrage put up by the Garrison was great, particularly on the Monday, as we were getting the hang of it by then! Saturday night we had a few beers around the campfire (well, wood burning stove), where there was another political debate. Sunday night we headed down the beer tent and were outnumbered by Germans! John Bush made it for the first time (albeit on the wrong side!) but efforts by Andy Davis to galvanise us into the disco next door failed. It didn’t look very busy anyway.
Once again, Jane was in charge of catering and did a great job, with help from other members. The Garrison kitchen is always a focal point but I still think we should be more accessible to the public as much of our display is hidden or a long way away. On the other hand, it’s less likely to get nicked!
There was a large militaria market as usual - even comedian Vic Reeves was having a look around. Another successful event but talking to other groups, there seems to be a general feeling that perhaps the format is tiring a bit and some are looking at Twinwoods next year instead. As usual, most of the magazines failed to recognise the feat of getting a troop of firing guns together (apart from Gun Mart, who described the tractors as Matadors - oops!) As Graham Cufley pointed out, the Garrison rarely get credited.
Meanwhile, avoiding the Nazi hords at Detling, the ATS were putting on a mini VE/VJ event at Tilbury Fort, which E.H. and Joe Public were apparently very pleased with, so well done girls!