Sunday, 9 October 2016

Madhouse diaries : Multi-era military camp reenactment

A few weeks ago - it seems ages ago now but life has been so hectic here that I haven't had a chance to blog about it yet ! - we visited a multi-era military camp reenactment in a local park. It was laid out by time period and we first stumbled upon the Napoleonic era.

As the drummers drummed, the soldiers got into formation.

They raised their rifles.

And took us all completely by surprise by firing them because we thought they were just pretending ! We were only standing a few feet away so the noise was really loud and made us jump our of our skins !

Once we'd composed ourselves, we headed over to the world war I and II area, which is the most modern era covered.

There were lots of guns being fired over here too, but the animals roped into the reenactment didn't seem at all fazed. In the mocked-up trench, there was a big dog and there was also a chicken, who appeared to be more of a mascot than an upcoming meal !

There was some authentic cooking going on though, with people in uniform tucking into meagre rations in the mess tents. We all smelt of woodsmoke when we got home !

There were quite a few miltary vehicles dotted around.

Some looked like they offered more protection than others !

The American ones seemed oversized - some things never change !!

Pierre liked this strange tank contraption.

German and Allied vehicles and even soldiers were happily cohabiting.

There were some military ambulances and a few people with fake injuries but no fake corpses lying around this year - Pierre saw one under a sheet with a hand sticking out last year which he was quite worried about !

It's a two day event and people actually sleep in the tents (the WWII ones probably aren't too bad but the Viking and medieval ones look pretty basic !) and cook in the fields.

It's the attention to detail that always impresses me.

A closer look in the cab of this militay truck revealed a paper Hitler effigy hanging from a noose. The participants dressed as German soldiers were happily mingling with their historical enemies though ! We all loved this first aid dog with medical supplies strapped to his back.

The main thing that interested Sophie was scrutinising all the photos of the recent filming of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk in the hopes of spotting Harry Styles ! The poster advertising the event had also said that there would be props from the film on display, but the only ones we saw were this scaled down plane and a tin hat.

Back outside, we crossed the bridge to the more ancient part, with Romans, Vikings and medieval camps.

There were lots more homely pursuits going on over here, such as cooking, weaving, spinning and candlemaking.

You can always count on the Vikings for a bit of random violence though !

We wandered around looking at the different workshops : the blacksmith, swordsmanship, ...

I wouldn't mind sleeping in a tent for the night but I wouldn't fancy having an animal skin as a blanket !

Pierre was intrigued by an activity with a simple machine and some string. He joined in and discovered that it was for ropemaking. It actually worked really well.

We really are spoilt for choice with all the free activities in our local area.

Country Kids


  1. What a wonderful event, so much to see and learn. I'm fascinated by re-enactments. We've seen one, years ago, on the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

    1. There's definitely a lot to see - almost too much, there were things going on everywhere we looked !

  2. Next time you will know not to stand to close when they shoot.I would have jumped as well.
    Great to see so many things to make and look at and again all for free.

  3. Oh wow what an interesting day out! I can't imagine how loud it was! I would probably have jumped too! #CountryKids

  4. I can't believe all this was put on for free! It must have taken the organisers so long to put it all together and the costumes, props and old vehicles look so well maintained. I bet they are a real group of enthusiasts working their way round the country! I'd love to have seen the rope making and would also have jumped as the guns fired.

    Thank you for sharing such an interesting event on #CountryKids

    1. I think they're all local groups, from the North of France and Belgium - they do it every year :)

  5. Oh I love battle reenactments.We had one in our town every couples of years for a while then they stopped.It's a brilliant way of getting to know a period of time and ask people how it was to live then.

    1. This one is slightly freaky because the people taking part wander around to see the other areas so you get Roman soldiers wandering through WW2 areas and Vikings chatting to the Napoleonic soldiers !

  6. What an interesting event - it must have been fascinating to see the differences in the military camps across the different time periods. I can imagine that the rifles going off right next to you must have been incredibly loud! I would have jumped a mile too :-) #countrykids

  7. I like the sound of the 'homely' pursuits rather than the gun's being fired the most! Great photos and incredible detail. That rope making gadget sounds very interesting too.

  8. Wow looks like an amazing event and I love the passion of the people there. YOu are right about their attention for detail! Everything looks so real! #countrykids