men galore, an army of young evacuees, an impressive display of
1940s glitz and glamour and the evocative music of Glenn Miller
all created an authentic wartime atmosphere as Kemble turned back
the clock for Gloucestershire's biggest VE weekend event.
old and young really got into the spirit of the day, the majority
dressing to suit the occasion in variety of period outfits including
the wartime uniforms of British and American forces, the boiler
suits and headscarves of Land Girls and female factory workers,
colourful tea-dresses and the red lipstick, pearls, satin and fur
of Forties eveningwear.
the airfield's backdrop of historic hangars an impressive parade
of vintage vehicles added to the feeling of stepping back in time,
while BBC Radio Gloucestershire joined staff from Cirencester College
to invite visitors to contribute their own or their families' wartime
memories to the BBC People's War project.
'evacuees' - actually children from a local school - tucked into
a party tea of iced buns and lemonade while older visitors opted
to celebrate with something stronger from the bar or their own picnic
the music and mood of celebration there was also time for reflection
as the audience joined the Royal British Legion for a parade of
standards and act of remembrance before the evening's entertainment
Flags fluttered in the stiff breeze as buglers from Cirencester
Silver Band played the Last Post and the crowd observed two minutes'
silence and prayers for those who lost their lives in the Second
came the time for foot-tapping and swinging as the Glenn Miller
Orchestra UK, directed by Ray McVay, took the stage and the big
band sound of Glenn Miller favourites like String of Pearls, In
the Mood, Tuxedo Junction and many more wafted across the airfield
as the sun went down.
not sporting Forties furs soon wished they were as the cold wind
that had blown across the airfield all afternoon turned icier with
the onset of evening.
of the bravest were the Swindon Bluebell Majorettes who braved the
cold weather throughout the day to put on two displays..
sadly it was the unseasonal weather that defeated an audience that
had turned out in force prepared to celebrate in style, a band determined
to provide a good evening's entertainment, and even the wartime
Spitfire that was meant to provide a special flypast.
came late in the day that high winds meant the Spitfire of the Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight was unable to take off from its base
at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. But aviation fans were not left
disappointed as an impressive alternative display of aerial acrobatics
was provided at short notice by the pilot of a veteran Chinese fighter
plane which had arrived at Kemble that afternoon.
band decided to play their whole set without an interval and at
first the chill got plenty of people up on the floor and dancing
energetically to keep warm. But the Dunkirk spirit sank as the wind
increased and temperatures plummeted further, penetrating even the
many blankets, coats, hats and scarves that the audience had wrapped
themselves up in.
more and more frozen folk packed up and left for the warmer climes
of car and home even the band were forced to admit they were too
cold to play on and cut short their set. A disappointing ending
to an ambitious VE weekend celebration into the - but at least it
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