Heroics of Portsmouth's brave soldiers are remembered at tribute event

SHOPPERS and film fanatics were treated to a display of military vehicles, stalls and re-enactors.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 12:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 10:31 am
From left, Rosie Rixon, Richard Rixon, Jack Rixon and Gary Lamsdale from Hayling Island, all members of Solent Overlord Executive, with Richard's 1941 GMC CCKW swb truck Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-004)

To celebrate the release of Darkest Hour, a film based on Winston Churchill’s famous ‘finest hour’ speech made in June 1940, a historical showcase was put on.

Vehicles and artillery lined the front of the Odeon cinema for guests to admire, including a 105mm Howitzer gun and a 60-year-old Willys jeep.

Members of Pompey Pals set up a stall filled with paintings of men from Portsmouth who served in the war.

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From left, Mike Hill and Chris Pennycook of the Pompey Pals Project Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-006)

Mike Hill said: ‘I have been part of Pompey Pals for three years and some of the stories of these brave men are unbelievable.

‘We go into schools and say “Despite what you may think these men weren’t James Bond or superheroes, they may have gone to the pub with your grandad!” and that gets them interested straight away.

‘We’re honoured to keep Portsmouth’s history alive.’

As well as the impressive display, re-enactors were on hand, dressed in traditional military garb and ready to answer questions from families and passersby.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Lee Mason with event organiser Jo Hooper, who is holding a portrait of her great-great-uncle James Ockendon of Portsmouth who was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions while serving in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the First World War Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-014)

Re-enactor Roger Glancefield said: ‘History classes don’t focus on the Second World War as much these days so we like to surprise people with some of the gallant stories they may not know.’

Organiser Jo Hooper said: ‘It was a fabulous day and Pompey Pals have always celebrated my great-great-uncle getting a Victoria Cross in the war and so it was great to be able to support this fantastic heritage charity.’

From left, Mike Hill and Chris Pennycook of the Pompey Pals Project Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-006)
Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Lee Mason with event organiser Jo Hooper, who is holding a portrait of her great-great-uncle James Ockendon of Portsmouth who was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions while serving in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the First World War Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-014)