Glimpse of wartime during Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Weekend

Wiltshire Times: US  Army girls Isobel King and Annette Wells during the 1940s road show. Picture by Trevor Porter US Army girls Isobel King and Annette Wells during the 1940s road show. Picture by Trevor Porter

People had the chance to experience what life was like in the forces during the war at the Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Weekend in Trowbridge at the weekend.

The commemorations, which are held annually to celebrate and remember the veterans and serving members of the armed forces, included a bomb disposal demonstration, a weapons display and skirmish re-enactment, and a walkthrough timeline showing the evolution of the military soldier from the First World War to present day.

It was rounded off with a parade of serving members of the forces, veterans and cadets through the town, before a traditional military drumhead service in the park.

Dave Tiley, from Corsham, is part of An Airfield Somewhere in England - a Living History Group dedicated to keeping alive the memory of the Royal Air Force.

He said: “We explain how the weapons work, let them get a feel for it and pull the trigger.

“We don’t believe in keeping all this locked up out of the way. They have been around for years and have not broken.

“We have a lot of interest from a big age range. The older generation remember when they used them. Middle ages are interested because they are in the forces and the younger age love seeing all the weapons.”

Clare Chester and her 11–year-old son Archie, from Westbury, had the chance to see weapons used in the Second World War.

Mrs Chester said: “My daughter Maisie was in the parade a few years ago. You have to show support.

“Archie would love to join the forces like his sister (who is in the Navy). He would love to be in the Army so today he has been in his element.”

A section called Blitz Street contained a tent with household items from the forties, a tent with toys from that era and the recreation of a 1940’s police station.

After parading through the town, 14 Regiment Royal Artillery’s equipment was on display and included an AS90 self-propelled howitzer, 105mm light gun, Warrior observation post vehicle, high velocity missile system and multiple launch rocket system.

Trowbridge Museum had a display of pictures of the town during the First World War and they are appealing to people to donate memorabilia to be used in its exhibition on July 12.

Nikki Ritson, education assistant at the museum, said: “People have found the pictures very interesting. They recognise places and look out for family members.”

Entertainment was provided by Warminster Military Wives Choir, Wiltshire Youth Marching Band, a field gun run and 1940s roadshow to name a few.

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