Kent and East Sussex Railway 1940s weekend.
Saturday-Sunday 19-20th May 2018
This vintage weekend was so superb, not just because of the live re-enactments, dancing, singing, stalls and food but for the feeling of nostalgia evoked which actually turned into immense gratitude. It made me consider those brave individuals that fought for our country, so that we could live in surroundings that are at once stunning and full of camaraderie.
As I sat on board the beautiful steam train which rumbled through the glorious British countryside, I was hit suddenly with the thought that whilst these 1940s weekends are supposed to be a bit of fun, they are so important in that we remember that the people who fought for our country were real, with loves, passions and families of their own. When I looked at all the beaming faces aboard the steam train and the jovial waves of the people we passed by, I knew that those soldiers lives were not given in vain.
Apart from that epiphany, the actual day itself was immensely pleasurable. There were hundreds of people milling about, all kitted out in their 1940s finery, as was I. These 1940s dos are probably one of the only places I can wear my Fox fur (Mr Cuddles) without fear of retribution. It was delightful to see people really getting into the spirit of the time, wearing war uniforms of various kinds. I even got a photo with Mr Churchill himself!
There were some gorgeous stalls selling genuine vintage clothing and other reproduction stalls. I picked up an amazing mink fur hat, a gorgeous 1940s dress and some repro headscarves.
The weather was glorious, everything was bathed in that glow that only the British sunshine brings. The Spitfire display was particularly spectacular as was an interesting talk from a squad of Tommys, concerning the D Day landings.
One of the things I love most about these weekends is that everyone really gets into the spirit of the time. Before we got on the steam train we were asked to fill out an identification paper which was then checked at the destination platform by two soldiers with their rifles. I am delighted by a live history reinactment such as this. It is especially fun for children.
One of the other highlights was being able to sit in a genuine American Army Jeep. The gentleman who owened it, resplendent in his American Unifrom, happily chatted to us about the food rations the soldiers would take with them. One crate lasted 12 soldiers only one day! Think how many crates must have been shipped during the entirety of the war!?
At £18.00 for a ticket it may seem pretty steep however for this price you got unlimited travel on the steam train, to encounter all the live singing and dancing acts, including learning the lindy bop, and access to all of the living history exhibitions. We were there for a good 5 hours which in my eyes wasn’t enough!