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Keito's A & E Diary

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My Diary of Armour and Embarkation and Maiden Newton at war!!!




After packing the Dodge the previous night we set off for Dorchester in Dorset, 114 miles away and having just about finished repairing the Dodge there was a certain amount of finger crossing going on, Halfway driver swap at Rownhams services on the M27 and all appears good!

Arrive in the vicinity of the camping venue after an un-eventful journey down south, now the hard bit begins...trying to find a dirt track to a farmer’s field that has no signposts on it! Couple of phone calls later and we find out we have passed it by some 5 miles, not the only ones I hasten to add!!

Apparently they were trying to keep the campsite secret as there was about 5 million quid’s worth of military hardware parking there! Eventually arrived and got down to the task of pitching the tents, a small wall plus awning and a pyramidal (this we took down for Tony and his mates and for J-Mac who joined us on Friday evening). After everything was set up we had a few grenades and went to bed!




More heavy armour arrived overnight and more vehicles arriving during the day, Tony Rich and Hugo phoned in their ETA and J-Mac confirmed his arrival in the evening, had a lazy morning, topped up the Dodge with fuel for the forthcoming road run, Tony, Rich and Hugo arrived in the afternoon and settled in to camp N44, J-Mac arrived at around 9:30pm so the N44 contingent was now complete.

It was press day so we helped with transporting the reporters from the lane to the site and back again in the evening volunteered our services to load Wellworths bags ready to hand out for the following day, a very nice lady called Sue had all the bags etc so she was also welcomed in to camp...along with her two puppies ;o)




We introduced her to N44’s grenade box and some 2 hours later she was ringing her husband to apologise for not coming home earlier (she said she was going to be 20 min), Steve offered to give her a lift down the lane (mmmmmmm not sure why) and promptly disappeared in the Dodge with a giggling Blonde!

A long, long, long long time later Steve finally reappeared with tales of a low loader being stuck in the lane so they had to take a de-tour etc etc etc.... We all ended up with a few more grenades inside us and a few bottles of Red to top it off!




Up early for breakfast and prepare everything for the day, not quite sure what to expect so we top up the canteens and take the grenade box along too, eventually everyone lines up ready for the convoy, we start out with a short hop to Maiden Newton at War which was a short run from where we are camped, the convoy then parks up and takes up the whole access road outside the event.

Met up with Mick Wilson and his gang from the 514th QM Truck Regiment who are looking forward to joining in the fun at War & Peace. After about an hour or so we mount up and head out on the road run in convoy.

The convoy was fantastic 62? WW2 vehicles down narrow country lanes was a sight to see with dispatch riders on classic bike weaving in and out the convoy to stop the traffic ahead it was well worth the trip.



Talking of dispatch riders we came across one in a ditch, he had taken a fall trying to overtake a diamond T, being the lads we were we jumped off the Dodge and pulled him out the ditch to his cries of “leave me leave me the convoy has to go on” a bit like the fella telling you to leave him with a pistol and one bullet etc etc, still we laughed!


Arrived in Martinstown for a rest stop, that village didn’t have a clue we were coming, very picturesque etc so the grenade box was opened and rings were pulled ;o).





Mounted up for the push in to Dorchester, again the road run was awesome and arriving in Dorchester as one solid column of vehicles was bloody amazing (sod the red lights and give way signs and roundabouts and pedestrian crossings etc etc etc), parked up in the old brewery with everyone smiling and full of anticipation for the carnival run.



Jack asked us if we could help out with distributing the bags outside Wellworths, we were only too pleased to assist, somehow I managed to persuade the Chief Inspector that it would be ok to take de-activated weapons, bayonets, fighting knives and grenades in to the high street, (god knows how)!

Had a laugh with the public handing out bags with not a lot in them (rumours of a £1000 being in one of the bags didn’t start with me), after a couple of hours made our way back to the brewery to mount up ready for the carnival.


We made sure everyone left the site and posted ourselves in the Dodge as tail end Charlie to pick up any stragglers and also to pick up our rangers who by this time had blagged a ride on the hellcat, funniest sight for me was the marching band who tried to keep up with us as we made our way down through Dorchester!!! 10,000 people smiled, clapped, cheered, waved flags and made the whole experience very special.

On the way back we took a wrong exit at a roundabout following a couple of vehicles bound for Maiden Newton, the rest of the convoy carried on up a different route.....Bugger! Steve chucked a very quick non changing gear last minute right turn and we ended up driving very quickly (well Dodge Quickly) down narrow roads through a village, then another right down even narrower roads and then bugger me we saw a Dingo waiting at the junction with the main road.


As we pulled to a halt the first vehicles in the convoy were coming through and we had the privilege of watching the convoy we were meant to be in drive past us, what a great site and sound, Steve promptly joined the end of the convoy and we followed it back to the campsite, We then waited for the Ward Le France’s towing the Sherman to arrive, what a sight well done guys.




Saturday evening and we were headed to town for their 40’s night loaded the Dodge with a few bodies and headed down the lane off road to Maiden Newton, on the way stopped and picked up some more bodies (15 in the back of the Dodge)! looking a bit like a ww2 ker-plunk set we made it safely in to town and hit the beer tent.


Hen nights, don’t you just love em, we were quite happily stood there supping our warm beers when there were two blasts on a whistle and several not very slim ladies threw themselves in our direction the idea was to get their feet off the ground on the nearest unsuspecting souls (us)! This carried on a few times before we got a bit fed up with it (yeah right) so we decided to help the Airborne guys pretend fight with the MP’s etc.




We made our way to the local pub and bumped in to a couple of guys from the ww2 reenacting forum and settled in for a few drinks and a giggle, what went on in there will have to be told round camp fires in the future however I will leave you with this...


Quote from At Ease on WW2 forum


“Not long surfaced after a long drive back. Sadly missed most of the Sunday as had a brilliant night in the pub with Keith and the lads from N44.. man I thought I could drink! Loved the game of cards Keith you all looked brills with them stuck on ya heads and good to put a face to the name.. by the way, how the hell did those vibrating cock rings come into the game ?????????”


Made our way back to camp with 13 people in the Dodge (Steve wasn’t drinking I hasten to add) up the lane we had come down earlier, saw another 2 lost souls so threw them in the back to make the number up to 15 again, promptly fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow (about half one I think).


Up early (ish) tony, Rich Hugo and J-mac helped take down the camp ready for the off that evening, we said our goodbuys to Tony, Rich and Hugo and made ready for the convoy to Maiden Newton Memorial, some confusion over start times etc however we arrived en-masse and stopped near the memorial, you couldn’t have timed it better, very moving service and all the more surreal surrounded by all this vintage machinery etc.



Once finished we parked up and people enjoyed the Maiden Newton event in its own right, for us we re- accounted ourselves with our buddies from the 514th QM Truck Regiment and found that we were invited in to the battle aboard one of the halftracks, had an excellent day and made it back to camp for David’s superb roast dinner.


We packed up the Dodge said our goodbye’s and left camp around 6:45pm, arriving home around 10:30pm.


If this event never happens again I am delighted to have been a part of it and do hope that someday I can be a part of another similar event on UK soil!


Thanks Jack!

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