Monday, 17 October 2011

A Step Back In Time - Pickering War Weekend 2011

This weekend I visited the North Yorkshire town of Pickering. The reason for the visit was that every year for one weekend in October, Pickering is transported back in time to 1940's wartime Britain. It is an amazing experience and the whole town really gets into the wartime spirit of things.

As we made my way into town it was like arriving on a film set of a WW 2 blockbuster. Ahead, a couple of officers in authentic uniforms lead the way into the town centre where it was heaving with servicemen and civilians all in their finest vintage 1940's garb. 

Strolling through town we came across the local primary school which had become a makeshift 'Soup Kitchen'. The children, clutching handmade ration boxes and flat caps, sang touching renditions of wartime favourites - more than a few eyes were moist by the time they had finished 'The White Cliffs of Dover'.

The next stop was Pickering Railway Station, as we made our way onto a packed platform a steam train was just departing. All the stations along the railway line take part in the event but unfortunately there just wasn't time to visit any of them this year however just by strolling along the platform there was plenty to feast our eyes on.

We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the many vintage clothing stalls, shamelessly people watching and visiting re-enactment camps - one of which looked remarkably like the Homes and Dreams stockroom!

It’s unlikely that Pickering was quite so jolly back in the 1940's.
Then, the country was preparing for the D-day landings of 1944. Britain was at its peak of rationing and, for women, make-do-and-mend was not a trend but a harsh reality. In stark contrast to the days events it was a sobering experience to return home and watch World War II:The Last Heroes, a program about the grim realities of the D-Day Landings told through the personal stories of the soldiers who fought in World War II.
Although we had a wonderful time this weekend we must also not loose sight of the reality that took place. By visiting events like this it does help those of us fortunate enough not to have lived through the harsh realities of the war remember those who did and the sacrifices that they made.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing idea and what a great opportunity for children to get a real sense of history.



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