Overlord brings history back to life

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Tanks, artillery and entertainment make the Overlord Military Spectacular an event to remember. Stuart Anderson went along to check it out.

You might have been forgiven for wondering if the war was truly over in Denmead this weekend.

The Overlord Military Spectacular. Pictures: Allan Hutchings

The Overlord Military Spectacular. Pictures: Allan Hutchings

Fields outside the village were filled with hundreds of tanks, artillery weapons, armoured personnel carriers and camouflaged lorries for the Overlord Military Spectacular.

Thousands of people visited the three-day show, which included re-enactments of Second World War battles, demonstrations and the firing of big guns.

There were dozens of stalls where military enthusiasts could buy everything from vintage clothes and helmets to samurai swords and replica rifles.

One trader was selling Second World War machine guns worth up to £1,700.

Ben Kynoch, of Hartley Wintney in north Hampshire, was one of hundreds of military re-enactors at the event.

The 21-year-old was dressed as a US Army soldier and said is part of the Screaming Eagles Living History Group.

He said the Overlord show was a way of paying tribute to the armed forces.

‘I do it to try and keep the memory of the guys who went over to Normandy, went through Belgium, went through Holland and sacrificed their lives so that I to I can be speaking English,’ he said.

‘I don’t think enough of us know how much they went through.’

Mr Kynoch said he was pleased everyone was enjoying the show.

He said: ‘It’s a good atmosphere for people who aren’t re-enactors and are just civilians who want to come and have a look.

‘After a long, hard day of re-enactment, doing a battle, getting hot and sweaty, you go down to the pub tent and you’ve got Germans and Americans all having fun, having a laugh. That’s what it’s all about.’

Peter Weller, 75, of Horndean, was there with his wife, Anne, 73.

Mr Weller said had always been interested in fighting vehicles, and had once worked as a design engineer for the MoD.

He said: ‘It’s a great show for those of us who are interested in military things.

‘When I was with the MoD I worked on the Warrior, which was part tank, part armoured personnel carrier.’

Mrs Weller said: ‘It’s amazing how much they’ve got. One wonders where they all came from.

‘It’s interesting how many nations are represented.’

Peter Edmunds, 63, of Chandler’s Ford, is a member of the Solent Overlord Executive Military Collectors’ Club, which organises the event.

He said the show was a lot busier than last year, when rain had made for muddy conditions on the site.

Mr Edmunds said: ‘There’s a lot of interest in the war years now because there’s a lot more about it in the media. We have to keep it going because there are not many veterans left now. It’s good for the education of children as well.’

The show has also featured tug-of-war battles, marching bands and evening concerts.

The show is being held at the Lawns in Forest Road and concludes today at 5.30pm. Visit solentoverlord.co.uk.

for more details.