Wartime nostalgia to sweep the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway and Winchcombe town this weekend!
Wartime in the Cotswolds - 22nd and 23rd April
King George VI and Field Marshall Montgomery as well as Winston Churchill giving rallying speeches
Working Spitfire will be displayed at Toddington station
Wartime nostalgia and lots of 1940's fun is expected to break out over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd April when the railway and its volunteers step back over 75 years to the 1940s for 'Wartime in the Cotswolds'.
And once again the railway has joined forces with Winchcombe town, which is also entering into the wartime spirit over the weekend. A classic bus service will link Winchcombe station (which is actually at Greet) with the town centre.
A packed two days will enable you to soak up the wartime atmosphere in this lighthearted effort to cock a snook at the enemy and get a taste of what life was like when there were all sorts of restrictions on travel, rationing, shortages of food and luxuries and never showing a light at night. You would have been encouraged to 'do your bit' for the war effort and, if you wern't called up, you could of course join the Home Guard!
It was also a time when the country was buoyed up with camaraderie, music and when everyone looked out for each other.
John Rodgers, one of the co-ordinators of the small but dedicated team of organisers says: "There's so much going on it's hard to know where to start!
"But you can expect plenty of cameos performed by re-enactors from all over the country at all of the stations as well as on trains. There's a packed programme of musical entertainment and a chance to dance your cares away.
"You might even find yourself caught up in a 1940s wedding or, on Sunday, a special Remembrance Service."
Packed programme of fun
Attractions at Toddington include a Spitfire replica aircraft, with working engine; 1940s beauty salon, the acclaimed RAF Plotting Room which is extremely realistic as well as lots of military and period vehicles and hardware while the narrow-gauge railway is operating. The marquee of course, is hosting plenty of musical entertainment including the Glenn Miller-style Kalamazoo Dance Band.
At Winchcombe station it's worth taking the air-raid shelter experience: this is extremely realistic - in the darkness you can her the sound of enemy aircraft passing over and bombs falling. Also here are the Worcestershire Home Guard, the Allied Axis Society and 'dig for Victory’ display as well as a field hospital.
This is also from where a vintage bus service operating frequently to and from Winchcombe town.
At delightful, rural Gotherington you'll find a range of displays as well as musical entertainment and the ’NAAFI’ in the station building (thanks to the private owners of the station who are throwing their doors open) where you can enjoy a cuppa.
At Cheltenham Racecourse - the best place to park your modern car - you will immediately enter the 1940s atmosphere before catching your steam train back in time.
Of course the trains will be filled with military personnel and civvies and you'd better keep your eyes out for spivs flogging ill-gotten merchandise such as hard-to-buy American nylons and watches.
A note of caution - keep your identity card with you at all times as the Military Police could ask you to produce it!
To make sure that everything is tickety-boo, King George VI will be visiting along with Field Marshall Montgomery - and both will also inspect Winchcombe town. They'll arrive in period vehicles - 'Monty' in his staff car with a military escort.
Winchcome town prepares for Royal visit!
The Royal party will be visiting Winchcombe on both days at Abbey Terrace where, and will rouse townsfolk to put their all into the war effort.
Gay Fryer of the Sue Ryder shop in Winchcombe and who has been co-ordinating the town's effort, says: "I'm so thrilled that the town has entered into the spirit of the occasion.
"Shops are putting on themed displays and staff will be wearing period clothing - and many will have their windows taped and sandbagged just in case there is an air raid.
"On Saturday there will be musical entertainment outside the Tourist Information Centre - with plenty of encouragement to join in the singing!
"Of course we are very excited that we're going to be honoured by a Royal visit so we've really 'gone to town' with plenty of bunting!"
Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or ian.crowder @ gwsr.com