Wartime in the Vale

The summer hasn’t exactly been spectacular this year and late June set the tone for the rest of the year with heavy rain causing widespread disruption and even cancellations for many a show up and down the country. On this particular occasion I attended two shows that fell on the same weekend, firstly the Yorkshire Wartime Experience on the Saturday (show report coming soon) and the Wartime in the Vale show on the Sunday. As it turned out the Saturday would have been the better of the two days to attend Wartime in the Vale because heavy overnight rain saw the already soggy site turned into something of a mud bath — sound familiar?

Having arrived at the show (taking advantage of my ‘Press’ status to park in the exhibitor support car park and out of the mud) I soon met up with a number of the regulars at the show and I quickly started to realise that I had picked the wrong day to attend, having driven north to Leeds the day before, but being the consummate professional I battled on regardless and did what I could in the conditions, which although windy and overcast, were at least dry. During my initial conversations with exhibitors it transpired that some vehicles had left the show earlier following the overnight rain, but those that remained (and there was plenty of them) offered a varied selection of both wartime and modem vehicles with living history displays amongst them.

While a great many of the vehicles attending the show were regulars, having attended since the start of this popular Worcestershire show, there are usually a few newcomers to be found, be they newly acquired vehicles or simply people attending the show for the first time, and 2012 was no different, with a number of new vehicles on display at the show.

One of the largest and heaviest of the newcomers at the show this year was the Vickers Viper 6×6 Long Range Patrol Vehicle. The armoured 6×6 vehicle was in fact a prototype, formerly owned by a collector in the north east of the country (see page 10 of the February 2010 issue of Military Machines International) and now owned by collector Dave Perks from Shropshire. Needless to say it attracted a great deal of attention, offering visitors a rare chance to take a closer look at this impressive prototype.

The Ashdown Camp replica World War Two army camp, which features a watch tower, Nissen huts and various other buildings, has been a popular feature of the show since it began, and once again it played host to a number of wartime dated vehicles, including a fine trio of Tillies, a very tidy Daimler Dingo Scout Car, an Austin K2 Ambulance, various Jeeps and a superb selection of wartime motorcycles and plenty more besides.

As reported in our October issue, the Austin Champ Owners Club chose to celebrate the Austin Champ’s 60th Anniversary at the show with a ‘Champ Camp’, which attracted a wide and varied collection of Champs from around the country, including several rarities and prototypes as well as Champ owners from overseas. If you missed the October issue check out our back issues for the report.

With the exception of the weather conditions, which I fear may have followed me back from my trip north the day before, the show was well supported with plenty to see and do for visitors to the show. Unfortunately some of the arena events were curtailed by the soft ground conditions, during my visit and wellies were definitely the footwear of choice for some areas of the showground, but I’m assured that the Saturday was a much better day in terms of weather and action at the show, it’s just a shame I missed it! That said I had a very enjoyable day, meeting lots of friends at the show, making new acquaintances and getting plenty of photos into the bargain, some of which are featured here for your enjoyment and hopefully offer a flavour of this popular military vehicle show.

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