Spitfire patrols at 1940s weekend

Aaron Penfold
Sep 5, 2013 3 mins read

One of the highlights of this year’s Poppy Line ‘40s Weekend will be patrols over the railway by a low-flying Spitfire fighter dating from the second world war.   The privately-owned plane, flown by pilot Clive Denny, is scheduled to take to the air on both afternoons of the event (Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22), at around 3.00pm – though timing, and indeed flying, will depend on weather conditions.

Over recent years, businesses in Sheringham have played an increasing part in the event’s success; last year, for example, the frontage of the Lobster pub sported the pock marks of machine gun shelling.  This year the contribution of the town is being recognised by a street parade on the Saturday evening, involving the re-enactment groups, period vehicles and local businesses.   And late on Sunday afternoon, before the closing ceremony, there’ll be a “people’s parade” at Sheringham Station, open to passengers and visitors, with those in period dress or uniform particularly welcome.

Once again, re-enactment groups from all over the UK will parade their special talents.  There’ll be dispatch riders on their bikes, Tommies and GI Joes, air force and navy personnel, and plenty of civilians in the nostalgic dress of the ‘40s.  Look out for the splendid hats, high heels and red lipsticks of the ladies, and the pinstripes and trilbies of the chaps.

And watch out, too, for the shifty looking spivs flogging black market nylons from battered cases:  the name spiv was coined because it’s VIPs backwards.

The popularity of the event means that the steam trains will be very full – a totally realistic touch, as wartime trains were generally packed as tightly as sardines in a can.   There’ll be an intensive service of steam trains all day, and it is hoped that the railway’s unique 4-coach wooden-bodied train, now 89 years old, will be running on both days.

The event beautifully recaptures the atmosphere of the early days of the second world war.  The news may have been grim, but the Home Front kept going with lots of dry humour and goodwill – British reserve disappeared, and people were quickly on good terms with each other.  Songs, music and dancing kept the spirits up – and even the grumbles of rationing and deprivation (Spam fritters, anybody?) met with good-humoured shrugs.  The two days of the ‘40s Weekend show just how we coped at one of the most difficult times in our island’s history.

Rover tickets include travel all day on as many trains as you like.  Fares are £16.50 adult, £16 senior citizen and £10.50 child 5 – 15.  Under 5s are free, and a family ticket (2 adults + 2 children over 5, or 3 adults + 1 child) is just £43.50.   Platform tickets at each station are £2 a head.   There’s 10% off all travel tickets bought in advance before September 14th – book online at www.nnrailway.co.uk, call 01263 820 800, or visit the office at Sheringham Station.

2012 1940s weekend

2012 1940s weekend

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