Battery Goes to War
- May 19/20th
Photos and report by Stephen A. Carr
Day one of the Blyth Battery event was sunny, but there was a bit of a breeze off the sea which pulled the temperature down. Further inland it was quite hot, but on the coast, I had my HBT overalls on. The displays followed the usual format with the German camp to the South of the battery and Allies to the North.
Following ignition trouble at the start of May, I'd fitted a new coil
and had given my Jeep a 24 mile test drive around Washington a couple of days
before Blyth. The replacement coil seemed to be performing as it should, so I took the
Jeep up to Blyth for the first day of the event as a further test that wasn't too far away from home.
I wasn't the only RAF content, and only a few yards from where I was parked was an RAF truck and Rolls Royce Meteor engine, the tank version of the RR Merlin aircraft engine. The engine was run several times a day during the show.
Below are four pictures from the battery which was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. The construction of the battery began in 1916 and was completed in February 1918 to guard the port and submarine base. The battery was then upgraded for WW2 use. The WW2 ranging building, the WW1 ranging building, looking out over the port approach from the WW2 ranging building and one of the displays inside.
I only took the compact camera on the first day, but due to the bright conditions, many of the pictures were a bit contrasty, with the shadows very dark and the sky detail blown out. For day two, I planned to take the DSLR. I missed the beach battle, but judging by the machine gun fire and number of big bangs, it was a good fight.
The following eight pictures are from the German camp to the South of the battery gun emplacements.
The military vehicles were spread around the site, with some in the allied field, some in the German camp and others parked around the battery buildings. There were also several re-enactor displays of weapons and personal equipment.
With the Jeep performing well I was happy that could go back to bed in the garage when I got home, and then went straight over to the storage yard and collected the Dodge for day two. Other than a few miles test drive about a month ago, the Dodge hadn't been out and about since the Shildon Railway Museum classic vehicle show at the start of October.
The weather forecast for day two was for hotter than the previous day. However, after an uneventful 20 mile drive to Blyth, the forecast 8mph Southerly wind was a bit stronger and off the sea, pulling the temperature down again. Wifey and daughter came along too, hoping for a nice afternoon on the beach, but the cool breeze soon changed their minds! I parked up in the same spot as the day before and set up the truck equipment.
I caught the battle on day two and looking out to sea at the hazy horizon, I could easily imagine a huge fleet appearing, as on the morning of June 6th at Normandy. There's beach as far as you can see North and South along the Blyth coast, and picturing thousands of troops storming ashore gave an impression of the task the German defenders would have faced at the D-Day beaches. For the Blyth battle, the Allies stormed the beach under mortar fire, had to scale the sea wall, before then attacking the German positions in the dunes.
Despite it not being as warm as we hoped, it was a good day and nice to be out in the Dodge again. As we moved further inland, it got hotter and we then realised what a nice day it had been out of the wind. After a quick unload of personal possessions, the truck was taken back to the storage yard after a successful first run out of the year.