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Summer 2012 News Letter

The March meeting was primarily taken up with our AGM. This was given the usual amount of in depth discussion and after three minutes lively debate Tony King was re-elected as Area Chairman and I was re-elected as Area Secretary for the fifth time in a row. Although we do give prizes throughout the year the AGM is the time we give out the award for the person who has contributed most to the Area. This year it went to Nathan who’s contribution has always been unstinting. During the year he organised another Area coach trips to the Bovington tank and Imperial war Museums, put together a barbecue and road run and has entertained us with his marvellous sense of humour.

As an Area we still seem to be growing at a fair rate of knots. When I arrived for our February meeting I was confronted with a car park that was almost full and had to hunt around for a space at the very far end. We do seem to be averaging approximately 50 attendees per meeting now which really is a great turn out. It must be because we are a friendly bunch and there is always something interesting happening. Even if we do keep growing at this rate we won’t have to look for a new venue though as James is looking to double the size of the Hook Norton Brewery Visitor Centre so we should be OK for a few years yet.

One reason why we are able to draw so many members out on cold and wet nights is that we regularly arrange for a speaker. In the previous two Months we have had Area member Voytek talk about Poland under Communism and local historian Jim Tobin talk about Banbury at War. Being once a local centre of industry we are all very familiar of the importance of the town to the war effort. In fact the Germans had identified the town (and in particular the railway line) as being a target of high priority for bombing. I am not sure how Banbury got off so relatively unscathed. It may have been the dummy factories and railway lines they built nearby as decoys which threw them off the scent. Voyteks talk was also very interesting and post war Communist “Peoples Poland” certainly appeared to be a very grim place to live. Interestingly the Communist Government accused the American Air force of dropping Colorado beetles as “a weapon of US imperialism against the peace loving population”. Something I certainly wasn’t aware of, but is supported by claims on the internet.

Nathan, gave us a useful reminder re the potential dangers of unexploded ordnance. Many years ago as a child he was given a 2” mortar bomb and was advised that it was not live. The bomb was played with and generally given a hard life and eventually forgotten about. Recently the mortar bomb was rediscovered in the garden and Nathan thought it might be a good idea to now refer it to the Police. The Police came and inspected it and thought it might be a good idea to call the bomb squad. The bomb squad were rather concerned and decided it best to blow it up in situ (thankfully, “in situ” was now in a field across the road). They attached a small charge to it to detonate it and the end result was quite impressive. The bomb had in fact been live. If you would like to watch it you can see it on Youtube if you type in “Bomb disposal WW2 mortar”.

In the last Area report I said that Tobin had acquired a Matilda tank. With the number WDN 29931 visible on the side information on its service history can be traced. It served with C Squadron of the 1st Australian Tank Battalion in New Guinea. On the 18th November 1943 while fighting the Japanese one of its tracks was blown off and the crew became isolated from the rest of their unit. Not wanting to abandon the tank the crew defended it against Japanese infantry all night and then repaired the track the following day. The Matilda was eventually returned to Australia to be disposed of in October 1950. The new owner no doubt used it for clearing the bush as he made a number of modifications to it which included removing the turret and filling parts of it with concrete. It now resides in Oxfordshire and is in Tobins “to do” list (although probably near the top). Tobin has also acquired a lovely 17Pdr AT gun which is I think the finest looking gun of WW2. This does not need much work and will look perfect behind Tobin’s Morris Commercial.

On the subject of Morris Commercial’s one has been purchased by Robert Jervis but which requires a complete rebuild. The Area has sadly lost another Jeep which has gone up North. Ian Litchfield is going great guns on his Bedford QL restoration and has set himself the target of getting it finished for Beltring 2013 which judging by how much he has done so far he should be able to achieve. He has also been very successful in acquiring WW2 trailers with three 10cwt’s and a water bowser joining the collection and is on the look out for a Canadian 20 cwt to join them.



Spring 2012 Newsletter
Winter 2011 Newsletter
Autumn 2011 Newsletter
Summer 2011 Newsletter
Spring 2011 Newsletter
Winter 2010 Newsletter
Autumn 2010 Newsletter
Summer 2010 Newsletter
Spring 2010 Newsletter
Winter 2009 Newsletter
Autumn 2009 Newsletter
Summer 2009 Newsletter

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