Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Military Vehicle Day at Duxford

On Sunday, as well being Fathers Day it was also the Military Vehicle Day at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. For those not familiar with this event, in a nutshell owners of military vehicles are welcome to bring their vehicles along to display them to the public and take part in a cavalcade display driving around a taxi track and along the main runway. The Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) have a large tent with all sorts of competitions running and a large selection of trade stands. In addition there's a couple of dozen general trade and military charity stands. The museum digs out a selection of its running vehicles and puts them through their paces in a small arena for an hour. Generally there are a few thousand visitors and the whole event is a quite relaxed un-crowded affair. I’ve been numerous time before as visitor, in fact we went as a family last year, and the also in 2009 year as I reported on this blog.

The event this year took on a different slant for the Vulture household as this year we have our GMC 352 truck, and had booked it in some months back. After returning from a weeks holiday in (a rather cold) Kent on the Friday, I spent most of Saturday preparing the vehicle for its longest journey since bringing it back from Yorkshire last July. I topped up the oil and water, lubricated most of the 33 grease points (before running out of grease), lubricated the accelerator linkage, and then titivated the paintwork here and there. After starting it up to make sure everything was good engine wise, I stuck the battery on charge for good measure and retired for the night.

Sunday morning saw the Gods smiling upon our endeavours as unlike the recent weather, we had warmth and sunshine ! :) After a quick wash down to get the weather grime off, and an unusually easy engine start I set off with son (Alex) and brother-in-law (Mike) crewing with me in the cab. An hour later and with 30 miles showing in the trip-meter we pulled onto the Duxford airfield to be met by a small army of smiling marshals who directed us to the open grass area between the American hangar and the Land Warfare hall where we joined some 30 vehicles who were already there.

(Picture taken by Ken Clay)

Over the coming hours the area filled up considerably as a further 130+ vehicles joined us. Stand-out vehicle for me this year was a Humber Pig which looked just brilliant,

closely followed by a simply massive Zil (Russian) truck.

After browsing the stands Mrs Vulture and son presented me with a fathers day present in the form of a book on the Red Ball Express, which I shall enjoy reading over the coming weeks.

An old friend of mine John Elwen was visiting with his father and they swung by for a chat late morning and then returned at 13:50 to join us as I had offered them seats in the truck for the Cavalcade.

 John, Mike and Alex opted to go in the back whilst John's Dad decided to crew with me in the less windy surroundings of the cab. We pulled out and queued up with almost 100 vehicles and then slowly eased out onto the Taxiway which runs down parallel with the crowd-line. Initially most drivers kept to a pedestrian 20mph, but as we neared the bottom of the airfield everyone got their foot down (well as much as most of us could) and after that people were belting around, it was chaos at times !

After 3 circuits we all pulled off and parked back up. 
I  I left the truck at that point and queued with Alex for him to have a look around one of the armies newest vehicles the Coyote Tactical Support Vehicle which is based on a 6x6 derivative of the Jackal 2.
The soldier from the Parachute Regt showing the kids around the vehicle was a top guy, and spent quite a time with each of them answering their questions. According to his colleagues he’d been hard at it since the doors opened at 10:00 and hadn’t even had opportunity to eat his lunch !

Around 17:00 we left and gently cruised back home at a steady 35-37 mph with the sun still shinning. A top day all in all :)


Lee Hadley said...

Looks like an excellent day. My Brother-in-Law was there as a visitor and he's promised to share some of his pictures of the event.

Vulture said...

Hi Lee
Yes it was good day :) I'd be interested in seeing your brother-in-laws photos. Do you intend to post them on your Blog ?