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4 Days of Beamish Museum's "Dig for Victory" - Aug 29th~Sept 1st

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"Dig for Victory" Day 1 - Thursday - August 29th

Here's the first few pictures of Beamish, taken on Thursday 29th - our first day. After packing "Jessie" ( still in Ordnance Depot markings ) and the trailer with as much camping gear as would fit, we set off for the 10 mile trip to the Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham. We arrived around 11am and although we had missed the briefing that day, we bumped into the organiser on the way in and he cleared us to drive around as we'd been before.

Rather than helping with the tents, daughter cleared off with a friend shortly after we got there and I was left to set up camp next to some friends who were already there. I had a 10ft and 12ft ridge tent with a gap between for cooking. This was covered by an old canvas fly sheet that I'd spent the previous day painting with shed paint, interrupted frequently by rain. Each tent had a small pop up tent inside for an extra layer of warmth and draughed proofing.

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The rest of our camp was made up with Andy and Derek in pup tents. Derek brought his Jeep. Chris has his brother's GMC and his own Dodge WC51.

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Neil brought his GMC and had the fire we all gathered around each evening. Paul also had his Jeep, but he was staying in his camper in the staff car park.

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Last year I attended the show Friday to Sunday and travelled each day. This year we decided to camp, but it was complicated by the fact that the two Jeeps couldn't carry everything and Lynne needed to work on Thursday and part of Friday. Daughter also had a party to on Saturday! Lynne planned to call in and collect us on her way home from work on Thursday. We would go home, eat, collect some more stuff and take the second Jeep back to Beamish. Lynne would join us later on Friday.

So the morning of day one was really just a set up day, 'though I got to play out in the Jeep during the afternoon. So not as many photo opportunities. This is a feature that makes the Beamish event special, the freedom to drive or convoy around the site freely.

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By early afternoon, I was done and took the Jeep and trailer around the site for some photos. The trailer usually doesn't feature much in pictures so it made a nice change in my pictures. Next year, I may tow it around more as none of the other Jeeps had trailers and it gave it a different look to the other vehicles there. The following pictures are two from the station goods yard, the colliery and pit village.

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Later on, there were a few convoys around the site until Lynne arrived at the end of the day after work as planned. She brought the rest of the camping gear in the normal car and then took us home. We collected the Ford which I drove back at dusk. My daughter and I would camp on our own for Thursday evening and Lynne would come along later on Friday.

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"Dig for Victory" Day 2 - Friday - August 30th

Day two - We now had both Jeeps there and the despite a poor forecast for the whole four days of the event, it was another bright and dry morning. After breakfast, we hung around the camp waiting for the 10am briefing. There was a briefing each day, after which we were allowed to drive around the site. We could do this singularly or in convoy and park up at a number of locations around the museum. The museum site is designed with an access road that follows the tramway, for the most part keeping us separated from the public, except in the town and various tram stops. This freedom to drive gave the public the chance to see the hardware in action and us have lots of fun and plenty of photo opportunities.

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After the first drive around the site, I took "Hope" to a number of locations for pictures. The buildings, around the town, colliery, pit village and station lend themselves for great period looking pictures, so long as you can keep the public out of shot! It's a big site with the site road being around a two mile circuit. At the 12mph speed limit, dropping to 5mph in town and at the tram stops, plus having to give way to the museum busses and trams, it can take 10 to 15 minutes to make one circuit.

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The vehicle owners and re-enactors looked for every parking space and opportunity to set up interesting scenes for both ourselves and the public and I don't think any of us have waved so much in our lives. Part way through the day, I spotted some of our gang in the gateway to a field with the kettle on!

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While the troops had the kettle on, a tran rumbles along close by.

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Lynne turned up late afternoon, but still in time to have a drive around the site and down to the pit village for coffee.

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While still a week day, there were now an impressive number of vehicles on site. While they were based on the show field, for much of each day, the vehicles were scattered around the site.

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With day two over and the public gone, we all had something to eat before heading back out for another convoy and more photographs around the museum's 1913 town.

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Paul's Jeep around the corner to the right, then "Jessie", Derek's Jeep, Neil's GMC and Chris at the far end.

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The sun set over Paul's Jeep.

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The period street and buildings make a great backdrop for the vehicles.

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While we didn't have a great sunset, it had been a second dry day and there was a lovely golden evening light on the buildings.

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That was the end of day two, when at normal shows, people would have packed up and gone home. We'd had two great days with dry weather and still had two more days to go.

More of the next two days activities later.

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"Dig for Victory" Day 3 - Saturday - August 31st

Day three - For most of Saturday, I was left on my own again as wifey and child left after breakfast to attend a birthday party. So until late afternoon, I was down to one Jeep at a time. The day started at 10am with a large convoy around the site to show any new arrivals the site rules and where they could and couldn't go. We had pretty much the freedom to go anywhere except the 1800's area where we would be a bit out of place.

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Here's a video I shot after the first convoy of the day, showing the route around the site from the show field, up into town, on to the farm tram stop, past the main entrance, past Pockerly Manor tram stop and back into the other end of town again.

Another driver heading out on a mission!

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I spent a bit of time later in the day with my flying kit on for some pictures. About half an hour was the limit before I started to melt due to the heat. I crash landed, tried to catch a chicken for lunch but was captured fairly quickly near the Swiss border. I've only included a couple of pictures from the pit village as I've had to thin down the photos from almost 600 taken.

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Another ride around the site, this time down to the pit village.

It was nice to see the bigger and heavier vehicles out and about too. These included several GMC trucks, a halftrack, a Scammell and a Universal Carrier. As can be seen from the pictures, we all had to watch out for dust storms, but for the problem of getting it in our eyes, and for giving away our positions!!

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The girls came back late afternoon, allowing both Jeeps to make a few trips around the site and stop for coffee in town. Fortunately the weather was once again good and I could manage with just one green canvas roof. If the weather has turned, "Jessie" would have gone back to 'Flying Control' with the checkered roof which was with us. I'm now on the look out for a second had Jeep canvas as I don't really want to buy a new one for occasional use.

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My daughter was an evacuee for the rest of Saturday and Sunday. The gas mask box holding her two way radio so we could keep in touch as she explored the site with a friend.

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That evening, our troops set out on another photo shoot mission at a number of locations around the site. With the public gone, we didn't need to worry about out of time people in shot.

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Day 3 - Evening Photo Shoot

After a bite to eat on Saturday evening, the troops were back on patrol, starting at the pit village. We heard rumours of enemy troops in the village, so cleared the houses one by one from the back lane. Job done with no casualties!

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From there, we set some explosives on the nearby branch line. Paul thought he could hear an enemy train coming, so we made a quick getaway back through the village and to the Jeeps.

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Our convoy of three Jeeps made its way back to town, where for yet another year, we had a go at breaking into the bank.

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Knocking on the door didn't get us anywhere!

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Kicking the door didn't break it down either.

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Small arms and grenades didn't have any effect, so our 'Monument Men' sat down to rethink the options.

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Paul then had the bright idea of using the rope on the front of the Jeep to connect the Jeep to the door handles.

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Once again, the bank put up a fight, so we'll try again next year during opening hours!!

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Once more we piled into the Jeeps and drove on to the goods yard at the station to check that out. No other forces there, friend of foe. Once we knew it was safe, we returned to camp as the sun was setting. Drinks awaited.

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Waiting for a train that never comes! or does Andy know something the others don't!!

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We felt pleased with the evening's work. A village cleared, a railway mined, a station secured and the bank, well; that's been an ongoing "work in progress" for the last three years!! 

 

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"Dig for Victory" Day 4 - Sunday - Sept 1st

Day 4 - The last day of the show and another bright and dry day, if a bit breezy. We had a three Jeep convoy to start the day, dropping one off at the bottom of the farm hill while Lynne and I continued around to the town for coffee. After we finished our coffee, we returned to the show field and dropped off one Jeep there. We then headed back out to the tram stop at the bottom of the hill leading to Home Farm.

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Each area of the museum covers a different time period. The farm is a working farm and is permanently a 1940's display. Many of the re-enactor's dioramas were set up around the farm property, so we spent some time looking around there and chatting to friends.

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The barn had been converted to a dance hall for the event. There was a little space in the farm yard near the barn and on the side of the road for vehicles to display. Due to the number of public walking up the museum road to the farm, the military vehicles exited the site at the staff entrance and drove up the public road which bisects the farm property.

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We caught up with our daughter at the farm, doing the washing! If only we could manage that at home.

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After the farm, it was back to the show field for lunch and then out again with both Jeeps to the pit village. There we managed a rare picture of Lynne and myself together. I'm usually always behind the camera.

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Another visit to the town followed, parking up outside the Co-Operative Society. This spot gives enough clearance for the trams to still pass the parked vehicles.

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 Back on the road again late afternoon, driving down to the pit village to meet up with friends at the chip shop where we had a well earned rest. There had been rain forecast from mid afternoon onwards, so we'd already dropped one of the tents and packed everything into the other. That way we'd only have one to dry if we got caught.

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Fortunately it stayed dry and towards the end of the afternoon, we made one last drive back to the show field. We dropped the last tent and brought the modern car in to pack away the camping gear that wouldn't fit in the trailer. Our friends headed off next and we took both Jeeps home soon after, getting caught in a bit of a shower on the way home. Once the Jeeps and trailer were away in the garage, we then returned in our other car to collect the one with the camping gear that we left in the staff car park.

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 It was an amazing four days and is now firmly fixed as my favourite military vehicle event of the year.

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It must be over 25 years since I was at Beamish excellent photos and report :thumbsup: it looks like a really good event 

thanks for posting

Pete

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1 hour ago, Pete Ashby said:

It must be over 25 years since I was at Beamish excellent photos and report :thumbsup: it looks like a really good event 

thanks for posting

Pete

Well , I live in Weirddale so only have to go over the tops of the Browney & Deerness valleys.  I had better get a £14.50  1 year OAP ticket for unlimited  , as only attended once and that was the summer of 1970 ,,

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