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M5Clive

Little Friends Weekend - Countdown to H-Hour

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WARNING - Only to be read and digested if your not planning on going out for the evening!

 

To all event participants (and one or two fence sitters!)

 

Well despite very little feedback from myself in recent weeks (GMC restorations and work keep getting in the way of things) I am pleased to announce that the event planning is going very much to schedule.

 

From the many phone calls, e-mails and chit-chat at recent shows, it seems that other than a couple of far-flung enthusiastic attendees, the vast majority of people will arrive on Friday 15th - Which suits me well. If their is enough interest and sufficient numbers have arrived by lunchtime, we can easily run a couple of Jimmy's on a route to visit some of the local WWII USAAF crash sites in the locality if anyone is up for that. Of course much will depend upon the weather and also whether people have got their encampments all set-up suitably. Ultimately, the day can be whatever people want it to be - A lazy afternoon with light hearted banta or simply help Jack fix the alternator on his car..............He's already gearing up for the trip cos he's bought another car especially!! (Don't tell him I said anything though.)

 

Friday evening will be a full-on presentation in the warbird hangar, detailing the history of the USAAF in the East Anglia, using archive photographs, original 8mm colour movie film and veterans interviews. A coffee bar will be available. If you have a passion for what the weekend event is all about and what it represents historically, don't miss this one - It has taken me literally hours and hours and hours to put this presentation together, which is why I haven't been on HMVF much.

 

Saturday morning the convoy (which by my calculation will be approx. 50 vehicles including people who will just turn up on the day unannounced) will depart Topcroft at approx 9.00am. I have a meeting with Ed Abbott tomorrow to review the finer details of the convoy and exact route, which will be published beforehand for those wanting to watch us trundle past. We will motor from South Norfolk to South Suffolk (approx. 35 miles of picturesque country roads) to participate and somewhat dominate the 447th Bomb Group reunion at Rattlesden Airfield. Rattlesden Airfield is owned by a longstanding Suffolk MVT member and we will be assured an extremely warm welcome. Also a few local MV vehicle owners who are too tight to participate in the vehicle convoy will also join us at Rattlesden, swelling the ranks of Allied war metal even further. (If we behave ourselves, one or two have said they 'might' convoy back with us a few miles when we leave in the afternoon.............last of the big spenders............!! Whilst at Rattlesden, you will have the opportunity to chat with the Veterans of the 447th BG (Heavy) and hear the stories of their combat missions flown from Suffolk soil. Also look around the many displays and many original buildings still surviving and watch the Glider Club activities. We will return to Topcroft (Hardwick) in good time to allow participants to unwind a little after a heavy day behind the wheel and to allow time for a change of clothes before the evening bash.

 

The Wartime Hangar Dance (kicking off at 19.30) is admission by ticket. We have had 500 printed and it looks like we are going to need some more! The tickets are £12.00 each and Maurice Hammond has politely requested that all adult participants at the weekend event buy a ticket as a means of supporting the charitable cause behind the weekend. I have so far received ticket orders from many of you and have dispatched many tickets by post. I am trusting that this situation will meet with your approval and you will enter into the spirit of the things. Having watched the Big Band perform a couple of weeks ago at Maurice Hammond's wedding anniversary bash, I don't think you'll be disappointed with either the quality or the sound of the performers. And if (like me) your not really into dancing, you'll be in good company, because I would estimate that half the people going are there for the atmosphere and not to dance, but of course plenty of people will (and can) dance. Your are very welcome to dress appropriately in 1940's garb, but it is not mandatory.

 

It is my intention at about 20.30 hours (for those that want to participate) to quietly sneak our vehicles out the back entrance of the airfield around dusk and to form up a convoy off site. (We are going to have a one-way system in operation for the evening) I will then telephone Maurice to tell him we are in position and he will have an announcement made over the PA that a Supply Convoy is due through shortly and that all music must stop. As everyone gathers outside, we will appear in the distance with headlights on and approach the event at suitable speed and drive straight through without stopping. If it all goes to plan, it should work out magic and give all concerned a real buzz. We will then loop-around and return to the Dance and form up our vehicles in echelon alongside the aircraft right outside the hangar and dance. I know some of you will want to drink and that is why participation in the twilight supply convoy is entirely optional. (It will only however involve driving approx. 3 miles in total)

 

Sunday will be primarily a static display with WWII aircraft coming in and out of the field during the day, but I rather get the impression that their will be so many cars of the general to park-up, that it will not be easy for us to move around very much. That said, if the Supply Convoy spectacle works really well on the Saturday night, their is no reason why we cannot do it again during the open day on the Sunday, providing their is sufficient access for the big vehicles. A case of suck it and see on the day, but primarily Sunday will be a lazy day for participants. You will be free to go Sunday afternoon at whatever time suits you best depending on the distance you need to travel. For those who want to stay on until Monday, this will not be a problem as long as I am advised accordingly.

 

Sticky Wickets

 

As far as I see it, we have a couple of issue's that may compromise the weekends events and I want to let you know about these before hand.

 

Firstly, let me make it totally clear how the organisation of this event is being funded, because that will allow you to draw your own conclusions and opinions as to how you feel about the sticking points. Well to be blunt, the event isn't being funded at all and neither Suffolk MVT or the MVT Council of Management have put up any funds. Why you ask yourself? Well, I haven't asked anybody! Although I am treasurer of Suffolk MVT this isn't an event that is open to all members vehicles (due to the age eligibility to attend) and therefore I did not feel comfortable asking for funding under these conditions, esp. from the CoM who I know would certainly have frowned at such restrictions. Therefore, it was a lot easier just to fund the odds and sods out of my own pocket in the hope that we can keep expenses to a minimum and all have a fun weekend, which is ultimately what the event is all about.

 

Having taken that on board, I must also stress again that this is a charity event and that all proceeds from the dance and the Sunday Open Day will go directly towards this cause. It is no secret that Maurice Hammond's wife Diane had a bad run-in with Cancer a few years ago, and although fit again now, it was this family situation that ultimately focussed his interest in the Cancer fund raising, which both myself and Ed Abbott also fully endorse.

 

Through the good nature of the land owners at Topcroft and the good relations both Maurice Hammond and myself have with the Woodrow family, we have been able to organise this event without having to pay any fee to use the site. Maurice Hammond has also personally paid for the toilet hire for the weekend out of his own pocket and extended the hire to include Friday solely for our benefit.

 

Now in my opinion, the one thing that lets the event down is the poor site we have for our camping and this has been playing on my mind constantly, but I honestly cannot think of better solution. Space at Airfield farm in mid July is limited. If the event was after the harvest it would be different altogether, but it isn't. Therefore, we are camping on an area of set-aside up against a tree line, with the pig sheds behind the trees. (I can't glam this up however I try, so I'm just telling you like it is!) Yes, its a compromise. If we travelled a few miles off-site we could probably get a nicely cut meadow, but certainly not without charge and then we would have the hassle of 'commuting' on and off site all weekend. I happen to think that being camped in the thick of it, where we can hear the Merlin engines running-up when we are in our tents and being just a few minutes walk from the dance in the evening on a site which we are not having to pay for out-weights the shortcomings of the facilities. I am hoping that this decision is a correct one and that you will make allowances based upon the above details.

 

The other consideration you guys need to take onboard is food. We are really out in the sticks at Topcroft (nearest civilisation is approx. 5 miles away at Harleston) so you need to make adequate food provision for your stay. BBQ's will be allowed (within reason) but at this stage, I don't envisage food being available on site for purchase. Just something you need to be aware of so that you can prepare accordingly. We do plan to have some form of hot food available for purchase at Rattlesden on the Saturday, either a BBQ, chip van etc. We are also going to try and have a small fuel supply available on-site for those that need to purchase fuel prior to the Saturday convoy. In an ideal world, you will all be splendidly well organised and be ready at 09.00am on Saturday with your tanks brimming, but having organised these type of events since 1990, I know this not to be the case. But it would help us greatly if you could be self sufficient prior to departure. Convoy route maps and drivers notes will be issued beforehand on Friday evening at the talk in the hangar.

 

And finally.

 

For those of you that came on Operation Bolero in 2007 (Four years ago can you believe it!) I had successfully landed a £10k lottery grant to stage the event. This time we have virtually nothing other than a lot of good will. This is why I have purposely not promoted this event at Bolero 2, although that will come in due course and with a lot more paperwork and forward planning and a date more that one weekend away from Beltring! I have to say, I have been somewhat taken-aback with the high level of interest in this new event, especially considering its close proximity to Beltring and I never envisaged more than about 25 vehicles, let alone participants supporting the event from North Wales, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Surrey etc etc. We will do our upmost level best from this end to ensure that your faith in us as organisers has not been misplaced and that you go home wanted to come back again at a later date to support a future event. Its all about having a lot of fun with like-minded people, learning a bit about history and also and more importantly paying our respects to the memory of the men and women who had to do it for real.

 

Its only a few weeks away now - I'm excited and it should be a blast.

 

Tell me if I've forgotten anything and call me if you have concerns - 07799 476169

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Blimey your fingers must be on fire!!!!!!!!!

 

Well done Clive (and everyone else involved) in getting this up and running. I am really looking forward to this event, BUT!!!!!!!!! The truck problems are playing on R cubes mind :cry: he doesnt want to spent a whole load of money hauling the truck and gun up there and then not be able to use it as its still poorly! He will begin the strip down this weekend and we will keep everyone updated. However, if the truck doesnt make it then we will travel up in civvy Audi power and find a local travelodge/premier inn/hotel whatever and blag a ride in one of the other trucks. So what ever we will be there!!!!!!

 

 

I am sooooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!

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Great work Clive and everyone involved.

 

I have a saying that I use quite often and that is 'putting your c*ck on the block' and this is what you have done here and well done to you. To me it is these sorts of events that is the way forward - 99% less red tape and egos involved and it is geared towards 'us' I like that.

 

Having lived on many pig farms it will feel like home :coffee:

 

And yes the Honda 1.4 automatic (with CD player) has gone - what a legend that car was :cry: and yes I have bought a boy racer car for the occassion (with AA cover) - so instead of a five hour trip - should be there in about two hours :)

 

@Rosy - you guys can come in the back of the GMC that will be chauffered driven by Neil and myself. Neil has promised not to wreck the gear box and I have promised not to run out of fuel........:whistle:

 

Well done Clive - so looking forward to it!

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Incidentally - pig have no sweat glands.

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Great work Clive and everyone involved.

 

I have a saying that I use quite often and that is 'putting your c*ck on the block' and this is what you have done here and well done to you. To me it is these sorts of events that is the way forward - 99% less red tape and egos involved and it is geared towards 'us' I like that.

 

Having lived on many pig farms it will feel like home :coffee:

 

And yes the Honda 1.4 automatic (with CD player) has gone - what a legend that car was :cry: and yes I have bought a boy racer car for the occassion (with AA cover) - so instead of a five hour trip - should be there in about two hours :)

 

@Rosy - you guys can come in the back of the GMC that will be chauffered driven by Neil and myself. Neil has promised not to wreck the gear box and I have promised not to run out of fuel........:whistle:

 

Well done Clive - so looking forward to it!

 

That is very nice of you Jack!!!!! I will be cracking the whip on the cubed one to make sure he tries his damnedest to get the GMC up there and running! But if all fails we would be honoured to ride with you guys!!

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just to let you know we have even been cutting the grass at Rattlesden!! Also Clive I spoke to you a while back about joining the convoy back to hardwick with our jimmy, what do I need to do about tickets etc? looking forward to seeing all the vehicles roll into rattlesden!

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Just to let you know we have even been cutting the grass at Rattlesden!! Also Clive I spoke to you a while back about joining the convoy back to hardwick with our jimmy, what do I need to do about tickets etc? looking forward to seeing all the vehicles roll into rattlesden!

 

Hi Tom

 

The dance tickets are £12.00 each. Tell me how many you want and i'll settle up with you at the Suffolk Area meeting next month. No problems running back to Hardwick in convoy. Had a meeting with Ed yesterday to work out the best route and via Bacton and Finningham looks favorite, arriving down Woolpit hill into Rattlesden and weaving our way through the village and up to the aerodrome past the memorial.

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Really looking forward to this and it's only 2 weeks away!!!

The dance might be tricky for us since we have two small kids that sleep in the tent and we don't like the idea of leaving them alone and being off somewhere else.

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Really looking forward to this and it's only 2 weeks away!!!

The dance might be tricky for us since we have two small kids that sleep in the tent and we don't like the idea of leaving them alone and being off somewhere else.

 

We can relate to this! However, 'play it by ear' as we say over here as we will be camping pretty close to the dance. But, we'll sort something out as we don't want anybody to miss the excellent music!

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2 tickets would be good thanks Clive, take it you'll cut across to wetherden and elmswell to get to woolpit, without Being to nosey about the route haha

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2 tickets would be good thanks Clive, take it you'll cut across to wetherden and elmswell to get to woolpit, without Being to nosey about the route haha

 

The route certainly isn't secret - Just not yet finalised !

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R-cubed giving a lesson to the cubelets about radial engines

 

A lovely couple we met, he used to build these engines and they had not long celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

 

The cubelets sitting inside an aircraft tyre!

 

Mustangs

 

The view from the back of Clives truck during the convoy

 

Lunch at Rattlesdon

 

Some hunk I met there!

 

Clive cooking, he is very good actually!!!

 

Another father and son chat re engines, I think the cubed one was explaining it was a V 12 by the position of his hands!!!!

 

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Edited by rosie

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oooops put the pictures on the wrong thread!!!!!! What a blond I am!!!!! and I suppose all the mods are either on holiday or at Beltring!!!!!!!:red::red::red::red:

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Great pics Rosie - I must try and get a decent shirt in that apron pattern as it makes me look 2 stone trimmer in that shot with the BBQ!

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