CHOCKS AWAY

1940s weekend at South Devon Railway a big success...

A FULL-sized replica Spitfire took centre stage at the weekend as World War Two enthusiasts, military vehicle owners and people reminiscing about times past join forces at a 1940s weekend.

Troops prepared for action have been digging trenches and taking to the rails to give the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh the look and feel of the station just prior to the D-Day invasion in 1944.

To add to the atmosphere, a special US military encampment has been set up alongside the line’s nearby Staverton Station.

The full-size replica Supermarine Spitfire was of a type made famous during the 1940 Battle of Britain and is modelled on plane number EN398, which was the personal aircraft of British flying ace Johnny Johnson.

The aircraft boasts a complete original cockpit and a working Rolls Royce Merlin engine which visitors can hear roar at regular intervals during the day.

Recreated wartime refreshments were available at all stations and on some trains.

The Devon Area Military Vehicle Trust provided the wartime vehicles with uniformed members building a military style camp.

Devon MVT spokesperson Alec Small said: “This is always a fabulous event and after 20 years on this site is becoming a must-do on the summer calandar.

“It’s a fabulous location and the mixture of steam trains and all the vehicles and uniforms makes it unique.

“It’s an event that continues to develop and is now attracting vehicles, living history groups and enthusiasts from all over the UK.”

There are more than 50 military vehicles including lorries, Jeeps and motorbikes with a number of living history groups adding realism.

The home front is represented by a number of commandeered civilian vehicles.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.