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My Former WC51 "Flying Control Dodge" - A New Chapter


Jessie The Jeep

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Colin was having some starting problems with his Austin. He was one of the singers, performing at East Tanfield station, so Andy took him down in his Jeep while the rest of us tinkered with the engine. After much fiddling and giving the battery a full charge, we got it running again by the time he finished singing.

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It was another wet drive on the way home, but had stopped by the time we got back, so were able to pack away without getting wet.

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It was another very tiring, but enjoyable green weekend. It was my tenth and penultimate event for the 2023 season, 'though the vehicles have made an equal number of non-show outings.

More pictures here - https://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2023/tanfield.htm

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National Museum of the Royal Navy ( Hartlepool ) - Sept 30th/Oct 1st
 
The show at the National Museum of the Royal Navy is likely to be my last public show of 2023. While only 16 miles from home, I didn't want to spend a fortune on fuel at the end of the season, so decided to take the Dodge the first day and the Jeep the second.

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I took the Dodge on the first day because of possible rain during the afternoon, so that I had some cover to hide in. Andy was there with his Jeep, so we set up a maintenance diorama with the Dodge and his Jeep.

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A number of the usual local groups were set up around the historic quay with HMS Trincomalee as the backdrop. This was the first 1940s event held by the museum.

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The Trincomalee is one of two surviving British Leda-class sailing frigate, built shortly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Work on the Trincomalee began in May 1816 and was launched on 12 October 1817. Trincomalee holds the distinction of being the oldest British warship still afloat, as although HMS Victory is 52 years older, the Victory is displayed in dry dock.

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The Royal Navy Bomb Disposal display, demonstrated disarming a parachute mine during the show and the Wizz Bangs gave a talk and firing display of various weapons once each day. Another Jeepwas parked near us, with another two in the Wizz Bangs display.

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The rain held off until mid afternoon, so I got wet on the trip home and while packing the Dodge away into the garage.

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This appears to be our last event of the year, ending the season at Hartlepool, very close to Heugh Battery, where we started the 2023 season.

More pictures here - https://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2023/royalnavy.htm

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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September 29th - Dodge Rear Canvas

I got a second hand rear canvas for the Dodge earlier in the season. It is meant to be attached to the bow by a spiral of rope, wrapped around the top of the bow. On a normal Dodge, having it permanently fitted isn't a problem. On mine, having the crane fitted and having to dismantle the roof bows to get it in the garage, makes the standard way of attachment a problem. So far this year, I only fitted it if it looked like it was going to rain overnight. I wanted a quicker way of attaching it than threading the rope around the bows and through all the canvas eyelets.

The wires that support the crane usually hang a little way below the bow, stopping the canvas from rolling down from the top as on a standard Dodge. When the tailgate is closed, that will support the crane, so the lifting cables can be given a bit of slack. A small chain was added to the bow, to hold the cables up out of the way of the canvas, allowing it to hang below.

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So after a bit of messing around with ideas, I came up with a new way of attaching the canvas. Small lengths of rope were cut and fed through pairs of eyelets in the canvas, knotted on the outside. They now hook over small dowels on the inside of the bow, without any need for being tied or wrapped around the bow. It is a quick job to unfasten the sides and unhook the ropes from the dowels to remove it. If I need to see out the back to move the truck while at a show, I can just unhook the tops and the whole canvas can drop down to the truck bed, without removing the side ropes.

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Longer lengths of rope are attached to each side, which do wrap around the sides of the bow to pull it out at the edges. It is now a quick job to fit or remove and the crane lifting wires don't cause a problem. It's quite thin material and could do with painting in a waterproof fabric seal like Nikwax to help keep the rain out.

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  • 3 months later...

First Run Out of the Year - February 3rd, 2024

The Dodge hasn't run or moved since the Historic Quay event at the end of September. While it felt mild today, it wasn't warm. As with the Jeep in the morning, I began with a fan heater under the sump to pre-heat the oil. After that, I turned the engine over several times, to get some oil moving around the engine. Once I felt I'd moved enough oil, the carb was primed and I went for the start. Oil pressure was up straight away.

I pulled out of the garage and let the Dodge warm up on the drive before going for a drive. There wasn't much fuel in the Dodge, so this drive was only a couple of miles around a lane that loops around the village.

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I stopped a couple of times for some photos, then returned home and tucked it back up in the garage again. Springtime servicing can wait until the weather warms up.

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  • 3 months later...

Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 18/19th

I've already had several Jeep events this year, but Blyth Battery was the first show for the Dodge. It was warm and sunny as I packed the Dodge and was a nice drive North until I turned East for the coast, at which point I drove into the sea mist and the temperature dropped.

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Visibility was very poor with the sea not even visible from the gun emplacements. It wasn't raining however and I got the tent set up without getting wet. By late evening, torch light was showing the density of the mist as a strong beam of light.

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The following morning, the mist hung around until a little after noon, but did clear to give some blue sky and sun. Many of my photos were taken on Saturday morning during my first wander around the site and so have a dull sky.

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Last year was the biggest event I'd seen there, but 2024 saw an increase in the number of displays and vehicles on show. I've added a selection of general views of the displays, but there were so many artifacts on show from many different aspects of World War 1 and 2.

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These sunny pictures of the battery were taken late afternoon on Saturday. As time moved further into the evening, the mist returned and the wind picked up, from the North, so the temperature dropped further. I shut myself in my tent with the gas heater on and read a book on an RAF bomber pilot.

One of the gun emplacements with replica gun.

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The World War 1 battery observation post and ranging tower.

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There was a battle at noon on each day of the show. On Saturday, I put the long lens on my camera and took photos, while on Sunday, I shot a video on my phone, shown below.

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A short video of the battle on Sunday.

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The displays were located from the Searchlight Battery to the North, to the dunes to the South of the Gun Battery. Most of the Allied World War 2 displays were on the main field to the North of the Gun Battery. Some post war and the WW1 Royal Flying Corps display was by the Searchlight Battery. They are building a fullsize Sopwith Tabloid biplane.

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All the German displays were to the South of the Gun Battery. Behind the battery, there were several classic cars, plus a gazebo for live music entertainment.

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During Sunday afternoon, I got the tent packed away dry and everything loaded into the trailer, ready to go at the end of the show. The show closed at 4pm and I made my exit shortly after. It took a little over an hour to get home and then a couple more to dismantle the truck canvas and pack everything away in the garage and house. All done for just a few more days, then back out for the next show!

More pictures of Blyth can be found on my website - https://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2024/blyth.htm

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Tanfield Railway 1940s Weekend - May 25~27th

A full report about Tanfield has been posted on my Jeep thread since we had the Jeep and Dodge there ( see here - https://hmvf.co.uk/topic/6769-my-flying-control-jeep-the-ongoing-story/page/39/#comment-508838 ), but here's just a few pictures of the three day event for the Dodge thread.

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More pictures can be found on my website - https://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2024/tanfield.htm

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Village D-Day Beacon Lighting - June 6th
 
Both vehicles were back out a week and a half later.

Our village was planning on holding a D-Day beacon lighting ceremony and put out a request for anyone knowing any veterans to attend. Lynne replied to say we didn't know any veterans, but could bring some military vehicles. So the plan was set.

I got the Jeep and Dodge out late afternoon, as it took some time to fit the canvas roof to the Dodge and load up some crates. The Jeep also had its RAF markings added again, so the vehicles represented both Commonwealth and US forces at the event.

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We got there around 6:30pm to set up our display and the barbed wire fence, as I figured there would be lots of children around and didn't want them trying to climb all over the vehicles.

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A friend also turned up in his Morris 8 two seater. It was a recent purchase following the sale of his Dodge WC52.

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While it was a sunny evening, there was a stiff breeze pulling the temperature down. There was a coffee van there selling warm drinks, but the burger van broke down earlier in the day, so anyone wanting food went hungry!

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The village brass band was there playing a selection of 1940s music and there were poetry readings and songs by the local primary school children and other youth organisations.

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Posted (edited)

We had packed everything away by 9:50pm and made the short drive home, getting everything unloaded and the vehicles away as the last of the daylight faded at 10:30. The round trip was 0.8 miles, so probably the shortest ever trip to an event we've done!

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More pictures can be found on my website - https://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2024/dday.htm

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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  • 4 weeks later...

Northallerton 1940s Day - June 30th

It was going to be an early start on Sunday morning, so I got the Dodge out and assembled on Saturday evening. It was around a 40 mile drive to get to Northallerton. We stopped for a short while on the way, waiting for a friend who was going to follow us. However, he didn't turn up and couldn't be contacted, so moved on after 10 minutes ( his batteries had gone flat and the Jeep wouldn't start ).

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When we got there, it was already packed with military vehicles and classic cars. The military vehicles were parked up at the North end of the high street, while the classic cars were at the South end. Military content was mainly split between Jeeps and Dodges, with one Alvis Stalwart.

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The public were there early in their hundreds, so I didn't get a chance to get any photos early on without lots of people in the way. Instead I waited until a little later when the crowds spread out more and also took some selfie-stick pictures on my phone, held up high, over the top of many people.

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The next set of pictures show just a few of the many classic cars that were on show. To the North end of the high street, there was also a stage where there was 1940s music and dancing. Wifey and daughter spent some time up there. There were also several trade stalls spread along the street.

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The un-marked Dodge Command Car is one I haven't seen before around the shows, so I don't know if it's a new purchase by someone in the region.

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It was an early round front Dodge, the same as the other command car which attended.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dodge Put To Work Again - July 15th

The Dodge was back working again on the 15th. I needed some fence panels and posts for the garden and they weren't going to fit in the car. Now that the patio extension is done, I'm moving to working on the boundary behind the garage. I needed two 6ft x 5ft panels for behind the garage and a 6ft x 3 ft for behind the veggie planters. They were just the right size to fit in the back of the Dodge. I also found out that the Dodge was too big for the B&Q parking bays! It didn't take too long to get them home and unloaded, straight into the workshop for painting.

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