GUEST COLUMN: Crowds expected at Battle of Britain event, by Coun John Knight, committee chairman for culture at NCC.

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The Battle of Britain will be remembered as part of Rufford Abbey’s popular On the Home Front 1939-45 event taking place this weekend.

It’s the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this year and thousands of visitors are expected at the annual living history event at Rufford on September 26 and 27 organised by Nottinghamshire County Council in conjunction with EventPlan. It takes place both days between 11am and 4.30pm.

On the Home Front 1939-45 has become a key date in the calendar in recent years and has extra poignancy with the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The weekend event gives everyone a chance to see what life was like during these war years at our historic Rufford Abbey and a service and church parade on Sunday provides a chance to reflect and remember those who sacrificed so much for their country.

Among the highlights are:

• Spectacular firing display by two 25 pounder WW2 Howitzers, A Stuart Light tank and a wartime Russian T-34 tank, the famous Soviet medium battle tank will all be on display.

• A recreated emergency scenario involving a bomb in the Abbey ruins. Firefighters in period costume will tackle the resulting blaze using hoses and a turntable.

• There will once again be appearances from characters such as Winston Churchill and General Montgomery, and the popular talk by Harry Parkes about life as a Bevin Boy – Britain’s underground army - also takes place again.

And on the Saturday, subject to confirmation, a Battle of Britain Lancaster Bomber will fly overhead from its base at the Memorial Flight Headquarters – but no time has yet been announced.

Further highlights in the programme include displays from NFS and Civil Defence services, dance demonstration (Festival Swing Dance Society), learn the basic swing jive and stroll (The Jitterbugs), ‘Mr Punch versus Adolf Hitler’ (Ancient Wisdom), send them to safety (The Evacuees Reunion Association), What was it like to be a British Paratrooper on D-Day? (Foreign Field), continuous programme of dancers, singers and performers all day with the war time theme, Training for D-Day (69th field, The East Yorkshire Regiment and friends), period cars and other vehicles and traders with 1940s clothing, uniforms and equipment, and assorted period items for sale.

Admission to the event is free and car parking costs just £5 per day. For more details visit the Nottinghamshire County Council website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/whatson or EventPlan’s website: www.eventplan.co.uk where you can download the full programme.

www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/whatson