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Jessie The Jeep

1944 Flying Control Dodge WC51 - The Story So Far

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The next picture shows the two filter triggers. The longer trigger is the blanking disc, blocking the bulb from the mirror. The shorter trigger is the green filter.

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This shows the sizable dent in the tube. Due to its position not being opposite to the opening in the bottom of the tube, it was difficult to knock back into shape. I couldn't get much of a swing with my little pin hammer. Instead I resorted to a heavy round metal bar, held inside the lamp tube, which was then knocked on the carpeted floor of my workshop. The heavy round bar slowly knocked the tube back into shape while the carpet protected the tube's external face.

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Once the lamp was reassembled, it was time for a test. The following two images are from the main viewing end, showing the white light and green filtered light running on 6 volts. The inset images also show the other view along the lamp. They show the small feedback prism, reflecting light from the tube, back towards the operator so he knows what colour he is sending.

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The rubber plug cover wasn't in great condition, but it was useable. The new flex was a bit thinner than the old rubber one, so I used the rubber strain relief from my broken angle grinder to take up the space between the cable and cover. The final job was to make a socket to go with the plug. Brass sheet was folded into a terminal for each pin and embedded into a wooden disc. Another cable was soldered to these brass sockets which would in turn be connected to a power supply in the Dodge. A larger ply disc was glued to the back of the socket which would be the flange used to attach the socket in the Dodge.

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The next time the Dodge is home, I'll try and get it fitted.

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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 18/19th

Like last year, I decided to take a Jeep for the first day and the Dodge for day two. New to see this year at the Battery are the two replica naval guns, installed in the gun emplacements in the Spring. The first picture shows the Battery as seen from the beach, with the various buildings marked.

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The drive up on Saturday was shrouded in light mist and as I drove onwards, it gave the impression of heavy rain on the screen while the hood and fenders remained bone dry. It dried up briefly upon arrival and I started to look around when the rain started. I quickly retired back to the Jeep and waited for it to pass.

The Jeep from day one.

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The Dodge on day two.

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It dried up late morning and was brighter by the time of the beach battle at noon. The Germans did the attacking on day one while the British made the assault on day two. It was during this that the commentator announced that the German attack on Norway, was the only attack they made during the war that involved a beach assault.

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There were only five Jeeps there including mine on day one, but several other interesting vehicles were on display. One of the more unusual ones was this "Bedouin" car, originating with a Citroen 2CV. A Harley, some Austin Champs and Land Rovers and the German truck were also on display.

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As previously mentioned, the Battery gun emplacements now have replica Mk VII, 6 inch naval guns installed and look much better for being occupied! Both emplacements had re-enactor displays, but in one, a gun crew ran simulated ranging, loading and firing displays. The port of Blyth can be seen in the background of the last gun image. At the end of the car park, looking in this direction, there is also a search light building.

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There were a number of dioramas around the site. One item which put a smile on my face was amongst the Royal Navy Beach Assault diorama. There were several sticks of explosive and in the end was a slow burning fuse - which was smouldering! As usual, the Allied displays were to the left of the battery while the Germans were to the right.

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The following pictures are of the battery buildings. The grey tower is the World War One Ranging Tower, while the square tower was the World War Two replacement.

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The second picture is the wartime plan of the site, showing the battery and associated buildings, plus defensive block houses and barbed wire defences around the site.

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The third picture is from the WW2 ranging tower, looking to the South East while the last building is a surviving defensive block house. The gun slits have long since been filled but their rectangular outlines can still be seen in the outside walls.

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Blyth Battery was just one piece of the coastal defences around the port which can be seen in the following picture.

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The journey home in the Dodge was uneventful and we went straight back to the storage yard. The Dodge was then packed away in the container and we made the last three miles back home in the car left there when I collected the Dodge the night before.

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Barnard Castle 1940's Weekend - June 22/23rd

Barnard Castle is only about 40 miles away from home, but with the route almost all two lane 'A' roads and up and down hills, it's not a quick trip when driving in the Dodge, out for its third event this year.

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We set off soon after my daughter got out of school on Friday, but were held up a couple of times by Friday afternoon traffic and road works. In the end, the journey to the camp site just over the river from the town took around 90 minutes. It was a hard drive, but we got the tent up fairly quickly and settled down to relax for the evening. Since we were camping off site from the display area, we just used the modern plastic tent.

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After breakfast on Saturday, it was a three mile drive back into town to the display area, located on the green next to the castle. 

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There were not as many vehicles and dioramas as last year, some due to illness and unavailability, but I suspect a number of people had spent up their fuel allowance on a trip to Normandy earlier in the month. There was still plenty to see and the good weather brought lots of public around both days. Lots of interest in the Dodge.

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In addition to the military vehicles, there were a number of vintage cars on display on Saturday, most of which were parked on the road beside the church, close to the military displays.

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There were several dioramas and displays close by on the grass next to the visitor's centre, ranging from home front to front line.

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There were plenty of re-enactors around all weekend and a number of the town's people had also dressed suitably for the occasion.

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The military content was down again on Sunday, with three of the Jeeps from Saturday, only attending for day one. Even so, the public seemed to all be enjoying the weekend and I have no doubt the event will be repeated again next year. There were a number of more modern vintage cars on display in the show field, bringing a bit of colour to the khaki and olive drab.

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Further photos can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/barnard.htm

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June 24th - Signal Lamp Fitting

The signal lamp socket that was made in early May was fitted into the Dodge today. The front left locker contains the 12 volt battery and amplifier for the radio chatter, so the socket was mounted on the bench seat back rest close by. This position is also just under the dome on the roof, so the signal lamp cable doesn't have to trail far.

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The cable was routed down behind the back rest and into the locker where the other wiring goes and there's enough of a gap between the bench and locker lid that I didn't have to carve any wood away for clearance. There's also enough space in that locker to keep the lamp when not in use.

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June 26th - Wiper Blade Replacement

I noticed the Dodge wiper blade rubbers were looking quite perished while out at the weekend. Driving home, I had a brainwave for a repair idea. I had a roll of neoprene rubber strip left over from my observatory build a few years ago. I guessed it was about the right size to replace the Dodge wipers, if I could get the old rubbers out. After a closer look, I realised that each wiper was a different design.

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One wiper was a plain 'U' channel while the other had a pinched in design near the blade. The rubber came out of that wiper fairly easily, but the 'U' channel type was firmly glued in. I ended up using a diamond rotary cutter to carve out the old blade from the holder.

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Here's the roll of neoprene rubber.....
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.....and the new blade in the pinched metal holder.2019_wiper4.jpg

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The 'U' channel holder had a number of rust spots along its length, so the whole thing was stripped with a wire brush back to bare metal. The end of the wiper arm also had some rust spots, so both the left and right arm ends were stripped to metal too.

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Once cleaned up, the parts were all painted and left to dry in my curing cabinet.

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Posted (edited)

Bowes Railway/Springwell Village 1940's Weekend - June 28~30th

Friday the 28th was the start of a busy weekend. With the event only 2.4 miles from my house, I planned on taking all three vehicles to the show. Three vehicles and two drivers is especially difficult when my wife wasn't available to stay on Saturday due to my daughter's dancing rehearsal for a performance that evening. More about getting there later.

Today, I took the Dodge over for about 9:45am and began to set up the display. Around sixty school children were due to visit, so I began with unloading the Dodge and setting up all the aerials, windsock etc., so there would be something to see when the came around. With that done, I began to rope off an area for a display table, the signal square, the two Jeeps and the trailer.   

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For the rest of the day, small groups of children and their handlers, came to look at and chat about the various displays which had been set up for their visit. It was good weather and surprisingly tiring, just sitting talking!

After my daughter finished school for the day, my wife collected her before making her way over to the railway to pick me up and bring me home.

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Tomorrow, I'll have to take one Jeep over, with my wife following in the normal car. She'll then have to drive me home so I can get the second Jeep. She will then be free to go to the dance rehearsal, before reversing the shuttling at the end of the day.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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The following morning, I took "Jessie" over to the railway, towing the trailer and got them parked up. It took a bit of shuffling the Jeep back and forwards through the gap in the rope to get it turned parallel to the fence. Lynne came over in the normal car soon after and took me home.

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I returned a few minutes later with the Ford, which also contained all the accessories for the truck and photo display.

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In 2017, the railway still had a steam loco operational. That event however, was its last use, as the boiler certificate expired that weekend. With an overhaul bill of around £80,000 and their other steam loco with a burst steam pipe, needing a boiler off overhaul, the railway has been left with only their vintage diesels operational for the 2019 weekend. The trackwork is also being slowly overhauled and upgraded, so no passenger trains could be operated during the weekend.

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There were battles amongst the wagons in the rail yard, plus a firing demonstration, with Russian and German forces fighting it out. 

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Around a dozen military vehicles were in attendance, mostly Jeeps, but a couple of Kubelwagons were nice to see together, plus a German bike and sidecar and a classic MG.

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I used my video capture technique to catch the muzzle flashes during the firing demonstration. Amongst the various goods yard buildings were a multitude of dioramas of different themes, with a large selection of weapons, equipment and artifacts from various armed forces.

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It was great to see my three vehicles all together again, the first time this year. Since everything was marked up as RAF last year, all three vehicles wore their normal USAAF markings for the 2019 show.

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My photo-recon and target analysis display included my Fairchild F-71 Stereoscope, Folmer Graflex Corp K-20 aerial camera and 100th Bomb Group photo album. The stereoscope was very popular, with few people passing the table without having a look.

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It was another enjoyable event with at least a couple of thousand people passing through the museum on Saturday alone. The three hour tidy up, which included returning the Jeeps home, plus the Dodge into storage, was exhausting.  

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On 6/26/2019 at 10:51 PM, Jessie The Jeep said:

June 26th - Wiper Blade Replacement

I noticed the Dodge wiper blade rubbers were looking quite perished while out at the weekend. Driving home, I had a brainwave for a repair idea. I had a roll of neoprene rubber strip left over from my observatory build a few years ago. I guessed it was about the right size to replace the Dodge wipers, if I could get the old rubbers out. After a closer look, I realised that each wiper was a different design.

2019_wiper1.jpg

One wiper was a plain 'U' channel while the other had a pinched in design near the blade. The rubber came out of that wiper fairly easily, but the 'U' channel type was firmly glued in. I ended up using a diamond rotary cutter to carve out the old blade from the holder.

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Here's the roll of neoprene rubber.....
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.....and the new blade in the pinched metal holder.2019_wiper4.jpg

Clever!

Goes to show its not always neccessary to buy new.

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