Hundreds flock to nostalgic wartime weekend at Papplewick Pumping Station

WARTIME SOLACE -- a WRVS rest centre, re-enacted by Carol Deane and Paula Westerside-Downes and her 12-year-old son, Finley. (PHOTO BY: Sarah Washbourn)
WARTIME SOLACE -- a WRVS rest centre, re-enacted by Carol Deane and Paula Westerside-Downes and her 12-year-old son, Finley. (PHOTO BY: Sarah Washbourn)
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Almost 2,000 visitors stepped back in time to get a taste of life during the Second World War as Papplewick Pumping Station hosted a 1940s weekend.

Re-enactments of wartime battles and displays reflecting civilian life captured the essence of one of the most important periods in history.

WARTIME SOLACE -- a WRVS rest centre, re-enacted by Carol Deane and Paula Westerside-Downes and her 12-year-old son, Finley. (PHOTO BY: Sarah Washbourn)

WARTIME SOLACE -- a WRVS rest centre, re-enacted by Carol Deane and Paula Westerside-Downes and her 12-year-old son, Finley. (PHOTO BY: Sarah Washbourn)

And the organisers, Terry and Deanna Bocking, of the C Troop re-enactment group, hailed the two-day event a huge success.

“This was the ninth year the pumping station has staged a 40s weekend, but many regular visitors said it was the best one they had been to,” said Terry, who is from Stafford.

Several re-enactment groups were involved, including the Von Prueschenk Feldjager Corps, who represented the German infantry and took on the British airborne forces and parachute regiment of C Troop in fascinating mock battles.

Groups also represented included the Home Guard, the American forces, who took along wartime jeeps, the Intelligence Corps, the Women’s Land Army and the WRVS. Others dressed as civilians in 1940s’ clothes and costumes and provided live entertainment with well-known songs of the time.

It wasn’t all about re-enactment, however. The British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy all held displays, featuring vehicles and weapons, and gave talks. And arguably the VIP guest of honour was 92-year-old D-Day veteran Arthur Jones, of Birmingham, who recalled his wartime operations with the Royal Tank Regiment, serving under Field Marshal Montgomery.

The weekend attractions also included vintage vehicles and trade stalls, while the pumping station itself was in steam and tours of the landmark museum’s underground reservoir were on offer.