North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Report Autumn 2013.

Well, to start of this Area Report we do have some sad news to report. Having been able to use the amazing facilities of the Hook Norton Brewery visitor centre for the last six years I must very sadly report that the price of beer has gone up from £2 to £2.50 a pint! Despite this I would still rate our Area as being incredibly fortunate in having what must be the best venue in the country and our continued thanks go to the Hook Norton Brewery for letting us use it.

This has been an excellent season for events and I will struggle to remember them all. Thankfully, our webmaster keeps an excellent record on our website and I have just had a look at it to remind myself what we have been up to. With hundreds of photographs on our website (oxcot-mvt.org) I would recommend that anybody with a spare few hours to have a look through and see what we have been doing.

The highlight of the year was the annual road run and barbecue weekend which we had at the Windrush airfield. The Champ camp joined us for the road run from the Swinbrook site a few miles away and we went off in convoy for a tour of historic local airfields. The Transport Command airfield of Down Ampney and church were very interesting and made even more so by Bills incredible knowledge of the airfield. From this location RAF Dakotas from 48 and 271 Transport Command flew units from the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions to Normandy, Arnhem and across the Rhine. Sadly, most of the buildings have now gone but Bill had arranged access to the remaining runways and perimeter track. We stopped off for lunch at a near-by pub but I think that despite prior warning they became a little overwhelmed by 50 military vehicles arriving in their car park and everybody wanting to eat at the same time. One amusing event occurred at RAF Fairford which is now on care and maintenance. We must have given someone a shock when the convoy parked up outside the perimeter fence as a few minutes later the Police arrived. They gave us a quick look over followed by a cheery wave before driving off. A second road run was arranged on the Sunday to Faringdon Tower which Bill had arranged access to and where he gave another interesting account of its military history. This was followed by a trip into Lechlade where we had lunch in a pub by the Thames before heading back to Windrush via Bradwell Grove airfield. Another very enjoyable weekend.

On the 3rd August we were invited to attend a lunch time reception for the Banbury area of the Household Division and Guards charities held at Wykham Park Farm near Banbury.  From the area came 4 Jeeps, 1 Bedford MW, a Harley-Davidson, Gaz, Dodge Power Wagon towing a 50 calibre quad anti-aircraft gun. John Towers put on a very good display of his militaria collection. From outside the area came a Scorpion, a Scimitar and a Fox which put on a fantastic display of their capabilities on the field nearby. We received an excellent lunch with glasses of Pimms, wine and of course Hooky ale. Our chairman Tony and his wife Margaret ran the bar at the request of our hosts. It was very busy and enjoyable day and the veterans were very impressed with the quality of our vehicles and the standard of turn out. To receive such praise from the Guards is praise indeed.

Through the work of Dave “stand up!” Bayliss we have built an excellent relationship with RAF Brize Norton. Area members provided vehicles for the families day and the Battle of Britain dining in night. In return they had repeated flypasts by a Spitfire and received a guided tour of a C17 and one of the last two VC10’s which are about to go out of service. We have already been invited back for next year.

We also have an excellent relationship with the US Air Force at Craughton and have attended their 4th of July celebrations and despite the atrocious weather a 40’s dance to commemorate the Battle of Britain. The attendees were very impressed with our vehicles and the equipment display which was put on. The MVT members all came in period dress and looked fantastic as can be seen from the website.

We have had numerous requests for vehicles at some very small events and I am pleased to say that we have been able to offer assistance to most of them. The British Legion held a “Thankful Villages” event at Upper Slaughter (which is one of the few towns which did not suffer any casualties among those who fought during the 1st World War) to which Don took his Jeep and John his M20.

I have been very remiss in my updates of vehicle ownership. Big Dave has had a Land Rover 101 for well over a year which I neglected to mention and George has acquired a Hillman Tilly requiring a complete restoration. Long standing MVT member Reg Busby after a gap of a good number of years has recently acquired a Jeep and painted in a desert sand colour with RAF roundels. This is the same colour scheme that was on Regs last Jeep which he sold many years previously.

All the best
Tim

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