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North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Report Autumn 2009.

I am writing this on the hottest day of the year so far. Hard to believe that this time last year just about every show I wanted to go had been washed out. I am cautiously wondering if the War and Peace show will regain its nickname of “Sweltering Beltring” after a few years of cloudy weather. Saying that it is only June and we still have time for the weather to change once again.

The number of shows that our Area members have been attending is quite staggering, so as opposed to listing them all I will just pick out a few highlights. Once again we had our own convoy go down to Trucks and Troops which everyone really enjoyed. Sadly, due to other commitments I could only make the last day. The weather report had been poor with heavy showers due from mid day. In fact this was totally wrong and it was the hottest day of all. A number of MV owners took the warning very seriously and upped sticks in the morning which left a much reduced display. Still, we had a good time and met lots of friends even if there were not many MV’s left to look at.

It seems that the success of some shows rises and falls as part of a natural pattern. Those of us who went to Evesham really thought it a superb show and certainly one to go to next year. The facilities were excellent and we all had an excellent time. This of course clashes with the dates of the Bloxham steam rally, with some of our members going to both and passing each other on the Sunday. I have not heard much about Bloxham yet, other than the vehicle attendance was very much down on last time. But at least this now allows you to see everything on this otherwise large show. Brize Norton families day was another well attended event. I must admit that the security people made us jump through hoops in order to come and support them and then when we did arrive they lost the key for the gate so no one could get in. All fun and games which came to a satisfactory conclusion. The highlight of the show everyone agreed was watching the Vulcan flying. I do hope that this is something that we will be able to continue to see in future years.

Although these big shows are great fun we still like to support smaller local shows such as the one at the village of Aston on the 6th of June. There were nine MV’s at this one and it was very enjoyable. The organisers seemed to be a little confused and initially asked us to park up at the far side of the visitor’s car park. About half an hour later on they decided this might restrict our visibility to the visitors so they asked us to move back into the show ground. All good fun.

The very knowledgeable Bill King gave us a guided tour around the Home Guard Auxiliary training site at Coleshill. The story of the Auxiliaries is only really now coming to the fore but basically they were trained to remain behind in the instance of a German invasion and commit acts of sabotage on the invaders. The tour was well attended by 15 members who all appear to have had an enjoyable (although a bit chilly) time.

Tony, Don and Nathan have been marvellous in arranging guest speakers for our every meeting. We have had talks on Britain’s Special Forces and Brize Norton air base by serving officers which were both marvellous. We were however exceptionally lucky in having Lord Saye and Selle talk to us about his role and experiences as a Royal Tank Regiment Officer who landed in Normandy and then of the Battle at Hill 112 and then beyond to the end of the war. A marvellous gentleman who it was a privilege to listen to.

On a final and sad note our Area will miss the charm and wit of Hank Schumacher who sadly passed away. Hank was a great personality who always had a funny story to tell. The Church was packed for his funeral and as his coffin left for its final journey the theme tune from “The Great Escape” was played. I am sure that Hank would have been laughing.

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