HISTORIC battles were brought to life as Fort Nelson hosted its annual tattoo on Saturday.
Nearly 700 miliary enthusiasts of all ages turned out under scorching sunshine for the afternoon event at the Portsdown Hill fort.
Billed as the highlight of the Royal Armouries’ Dangerously Entertaining events programme, performers and military bands put on a show fit for the historic venue.
Breathtaking gunfire from the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers opened the show before the band of the Parachute Regiment and British Young Corps of Drums performed in front of the packed crowd.
Colonel Robert Hammond’s Regiment of Foote re-enacted battles with the New Model Army during the English Civil war.
The Solent Overlord Executive Military Collectors’ Club, dressed in authentic US army attire, brought back memories of the D-Day landings in 1944 with the backing of the Parachute Regiment band.
But some spectators were left disappointed at the last minute cancellation of the Douglas C-47 Dakota fly past.
The famous plane, which was used by allied forces during the Second World War, encountered problems with its engine and is undergoing extensive repairs.
Spectator Peter Durrant, 87, of Rowner, served in the Grenadier Guards in the Second World War.
He said: ‘It was a very nice day. The Parachute Regiment band was brilliant and the re-enactments were good.
‘It was quite realistic. Some of it brought a tear to my eye, especially when they played the Operation Market Garden tune.’
Keith Lambert, from Clanfield, took his grandson Oliver, 10, to the event.
Oliver was looking forward to the fly past but was disappointed at the cancellation.
But Mr Lambert said: ‘We’ve enjoyed the battles and it’s good to see the uniforms.
‘We come every two to three years.
‘It was wonderful weather, just right.’
Roger Sheppard, producer of the event, said: ‘It was great.
‘It’s a fantastic location and it’s a real honour to be asked to run a show like this for Royal Armouries.
‘It’s about the visitors’ experience from the moment they get out of their car to leaving and making a donation in the box on the way out.
‘We hope that we have entertained and engaged.’