What ever happened in the days before the telephone was almost universal?
How did the Victorian equivalent of our club ever manage to keep the members abreast of what was happening?
The SOE version of where’s Wally – can you see Captain Evans in the picture above?
The compound got a severe trim over the bank holiday weekend – many thanks to those who gave up their time to brave the sun, heat, midges, mozzies, antses, wapses and hornets!
The compound is now some 10 feet bigger in diameter, undergrowth (overgrowth?) has been taken back to the original boundary fence, weeds have been cleared from the cracks in the concrete and now chemical warfare is being waged on them – sodium chlorate is being sprayed on the growth sites. To Rob’s great disappointment sodium chlorate is now mixed with an inhibitor so no sugar related fun ensued.
Visitors to the compound are always welcome, the no. 12 stove is working well and we have enough diesel to run it for a year, biscuits available from the on-camp store so don’t be shy, give Rob or Myrddin a call and pop down to Thorney for a coffee, chat and a chance to play with some gardening tools.
What better way to spend your Bank Holiday Weekend than playing with hot, sharp, spiky, stinging, heavy and noisy things? Or walking along the sea shore, sailing a land yacht or, just possibly, driving a 155mm howitzer like a long, thin car?
Wha’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
Thorney Island was an airfield. Aircraft were dispersed around the perimeter on hard stands. One of those stands has been fenced and forms the SOE vehicle and storage compound. Brambles, nettles and triffids are trying to get through the fence and, in many areas succeeding. We are going to fight back with shears and bfo petrol powered hedge cutters.
The gun needs an engine tune and a brave pilot or two to check out how well it drives. We might be allowed to make a few more bangs with it if we ask the Royal Artillery nicely.
One of the vehicles in the compound is a field kitchen designed to feed 120 troops 3 squares a day. So rustling up a ruby or similar for 20 or so people should be a doddle. And making the occasional brew or three won’t be difficult either. Sitting in the sun is an option, either within the compound surrounded by trees or by the beach perhaps with a cooling sea breeze. Then you can listen to the silence. Thorney is an incredibly peaceful place especially considering it is a working MoD site*
And for those of you fretting that the blackberries will be disappearing along with the brambles you will get your chance to grab them before they go or you can always try for those growing on the other 1200 acres of airfield. Nettles in abundance too for those wishing to extend their range of home made wines – all organic and pesticide free.
While the gun is being driven around the island it needs a kennel making to shelter it for the winter months. We should have the materials and tools available , just looking for some labour. If they can have a barn raisin’ in “Oklahoma!” I’m sure we can do the same. Needn’t make such a song and dance about it though. There is always the Museum of Mechanical Failures to admire on the north side of the compound (admission by appointment only), there is the splendour of Gary’s Grotto spanning the gap to the southern semicircle where you can play “guess what’s under that cover” and “how far back does this bush go before we find the fence” or relax in the club’s luxury caravan.
Those of a more adventurous nature can have a wee drive around the island, play with a land yacht or offer microlight pilots fuel in exchange for flights. Hunger can be assuaged either on application to the chef of the day (if you want to have your vocabulary forcibly increased) or by a visit to the on-base Spar mini-mart. You could even bring your own food and drink to supplement the free rations!
The day(s) will be what we make them. So let’s have your ideas and we can implement them!
*MoD site – so we need to be on good behaviour – sign in at the guardhouse with photo i.d. to hand, observe the speed limits and don’t poke in places we aren’t supposed to poke.
When I go to the SOE Vehicle Compound on Thorney I sometimes see visitors. Quite often Captain Evans will be there, last night I met Mark the gamekeeper (and aren’t those cocky pheasants strutting around in for a surprise shortly!) and from time to time one of the guys on guard duty.
Today however …
The Thorney Island Solent Overlord Executive Military Collectors Club Under 10s Football Club Boot Camp was extremely hard work – for the footballers and their dads.
I keep track of our visitors from time to time so as to see who is looking at the site, what interests them and whether I am up to date with browsers, screen resolution and operating systems. I glanced at the visitor map today:
Not bad for a small military collectors club in the central south of England!
As well as the galleries that I am slowly garnering from my colleagues at SOE there are some external sites that have OVERLORD 2011 pictures. Check this page occasionally as the list of sites grows
Now the clearing up is almost done (Sunday and I have just unloaded my trailer!) it’s time to reflect on Overlord 2011, our most ambitious show yet. The culmination of 12 months of planning and hard work was anticipated with a certain amount of trepidation by the SOE committee and members, a new site bringing new and unknown challenges.
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