Nottingham’s Armed Forces Day usually takes place on Wollaton Park, a deer park in the centre of our city. The grounds are huge and not only takes in the house, which is now a museum, but an industrial museum, an orangery and a large lake which is situated at the back. When there’s snow on the ground it’s an ideal spot for sledging. Apparently during WW11 American soldiers were billeted in the grounds, under canvas, just before the D Day landings. And at the end of the war the grounds were used as a POW camp for German soldiers.
This was taken looking down from the house. I did not know the two men sitting on the bench, but I was so knackered after walking around that I asked if I could sit down. They obliged and moved to sit either end of the bench like two book-ends. Oh, by the way I’m the one in the middle, looking as though I have a bad case of BO. I had showered that morning and put on my favourite perfume. Chanel No. 5.
Even though these deer were in the next field to the noise of the amusements, they appeared totally non-plussed.
This was the tent of the Army Cadets. Can you spot the two boys under camouflage?
This Bofors gun was made, under Swedish licence, in Nottingham in 1943 at the old ROF factory where my mother and grandmother worked. It had seen action in the D Day landings and other theatres of war, not only during WW11 but Korea. It ended up on a disused RAF base in Nottinghamshire and was rescued when someone realised its value to our city and its veterans.
The fly-past was made by a solitary Dakota. I thought it was a spitfire until my eldest told me what it was. Oh, well, can’t be right all the time.
To add to the noise they brought along a Rolls-Royce Meteor plane engine and started it up. It got everyone’s attention alright. Nottingham is renowned for it’s Rolls-Royce engines and if you’ve ever been around Hucknall, where the factory is based, when they are testing, the noise is deafening.
Thought I’d slip this one in of grandson, numero uno, in a US army Jeep with all the paraphernalia. He’ll be dead chuffed with this: sick man.
This is the inside of a Comms Wagon. I was told by a veteran that if the comms expert didn’t earth all the equipment it made the metal box live, thereby, when touched the person would get an electric shock. Those in the know always entered this metal wagon by jumping in and out of it. Officers, who weren’t privy to this information, got the shock of their lives when they tried to enter. How true this is I do not know, but I wouldn’t put it past the little buggers.
Was coerced by my grandson and eldest to partake in a bit of laser tagging for the first time. Never before have I held a weapon in my hands – no carry-on jokes please. You pays your money and you get 2 games. My eldest, ex-forces, immediately struck the pose, down on one knee, weapon tucked tightly into his shoulder and his eye on the scope. Me, I was still trying to find the battlefield. Well, as the rest of my team were running around the field dropping behind the anchored dirigibles, I got hit several times. I was so annihilated that my weapon informed me medical attention was needed. Needless to say evac never arrived but I did live to fight the other game. This time though I stayed put and I became the sniper. It worked. So, if Helen Mirren is too busy to make RED 3 then I’m available. I come cheap – and don’t even go there.
Towards the end of the day I met Sean Connolly, he’s the one in the middle with the beret. He was manning a stall with his brother Billy – yes, Billy. Sean had just had another book published called ‘Gunners and Grenades’ the latest in his BOAR – British Army On the Rampage- series. I bought one of his books and we got talking about writing. After swapping email addresses he asked for a photograph. I obliged – I’m the one in the red gilet by the way – and he kindly sent me the photograph. In his last email he said through his book sales that day he had contributed £500 to the British Legion. Well done Sean.
Last but not least, a view of our lovely Wollaton Park. I think the solitary soldier thought, ‘sod this for a game of soldiers, I’m going home.’
PS: My front tooth is still intact and my week, which started out shite, ended, as it started, happy. And being in a generous mood I will give a mention of my two favourite SP authors. Oliver – Tidy, that is, and Jo – Josef Black, that is. Just remember gents, I am fickle, so you’d better keep me entertained.