Blast from the past at 1940s weekend event

WEAPON A Vickers machine gun being fired at the Royal Marines Museum
WEAPON A Vickers machine gun being fired at the Royal Marines Museum

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A 70-year-old machine gun will be fired during a 1940s weekend at the Royal Marines Museum next month.

The Vickers Machine Gun, which has been fully restored at the museum, will blast out hundreds of rounds in a deafening demonstration on Saturday, September 24 – the middle of a 1940s extravaganza at the museum in Eastney.

Crowds of visitors will step back in time for the ’40s weekend, where there will also be re-enactments, drills and a big band dinner dance.

The 1942 Vickers Machine Gun was one of thousands produced between 1912 and 1945 and can fire 500 rounds a minute.

It was recently test-fired for the first time in over 40 years and will be demonstrated with blank ammunition as part of the arena programme for the 1940s event.

Royal Marines Museum curator Ian Maine said: ‘It’s been hugely satisfying to be able to get the gun working again. It’s a very impressive sight to see over 500 rounds per minute firing.

‘We’re hoping to train a modern Royal Marines crew to operate the gun for the display at the 1940s weekend, to help illustrate some of the technology used by their forebears.’

Marines first used Vickers in the trenches during the First World War, then as part of commando units during and after the Second World War.

The guns were used in many environments, in the mud of the trenches, the jungles of Burma and Borneo, and the hot, arid environments of the deserts of North Africa.

Visit royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk for further details of the 1940s weekend event.

BACK IN TIME

FROM Friday, September 23 to Sunday, September 25, the Royal Marines Museum will step back in time to celebrate the 1940s.

At 7pm on the Friday, the famous Cockleshell Heroes film about the daring Second World War commando raid will be screened and an expert will talk about the mission.

From 11am to 4pm on the Saturday, a fete in the museum’s grounds will have lots of family activities, with re-enactments, a 1940s fashion show and the firearms display. This is followed by dancing lessons from 5.30pm before a big band dinner dance at 7pm.

The fete continues from 10am on the Sunday, finishing with a concert performance by the Highbury Area Band at 3pm.