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Military Vehicles Day 2015 Report

18 November 2015

Scores of assorted vehicles ranging from armoured cars to troop carriers and motorcycles from all eras descended on the Museum site on Sunday 15th November for the 13th annual Military Vehicles Day.

Among the fleets of Jeeps and Land Rovers setting up base for the day was a Commer Q4 troop carrier and a pair of amphibious 6-wheel-drive Alvis Stalwarts. These five-tonne load carriers from the 1960s, along with their sister vehicles Saracen, Salamander and Saladin, were known for their exceptional versatility off-road and through water. Another household automotive name was present in Daimler, represented by some Ferret Scout cars used for reconnaissance in the 1950s. The Campbell Lawn was filled with Jeeps and in front of the Club House, a fleet of white Land Rover WOLFs from the UK Armed Forces Rally Team formed an impressive line up.

Just along from the BTM tent on the grassed area inside the Paddock railings was Ken Robinson who came with his 1936 Simca 5 an that was purchased by a French baker but commandeered by the Germans during the invasion in 1940. It remains in its green livery with decals as it would have been used. Next to this was his white Fiat Topolino which was once owned by leading aviation figure and founding Chairman of Brooklands Museum, Sir Peter Masefield. The white Fiat featured in the 1954 movie The Dam Busters in a scene depicting Barnes Wallis visiting Weybridge, where it can be clearly seen in the background outside an aircraft hangar. Dwarfing these and other vans and staff cars was a 1988 Commer Q4 salvaged from a scrap yard in 1997 and brought back to magnificence by its owner.

This year, we presented a Best in Show prize and impressing judge and Head of Track and Air Events Steve Castle enough to win was George Clapp with his 1944 Zündapp KS750 two-wheel drive motorcycle with side car. This was found in Poland after the war and still retains some of its German livery. Elsewhere, re-enactors placed themselves at various locations on site: representing the Russian Resistance were Defenders of the Motherland congregating in the Press Hut and by the Hawker P.1127 complete with uniforms, road signs and sand bags were the Luftwaffe represented by Many Fronts Re-Enactment Group.

In the morning, Sir Winston Churchill arrived (courtesy of Stan ‘Winstan’ Streather) and at 11am, all assembled under the Club House balcony for a two minute silence to remember those who had died in the two World Wars and conflicts since. There was also a special mention to those who had lost their lives in the Paris terrorist attacks on the Friday before.

One of the highlights of the day is always the chance to see some of the vehicles tackle the tough terrain on the off road course at neighbouring Mercedes-Benz World and a bus left at 12noon and again at 12.15pm to take spectators over to the viewing platform. After their thorough work out and slightly muddier, the vehicles returned to the Museum site again through the Vickers gate and waited for the Test Hill ascents to begin at 2.45pm.