Each month, Military History Monthly’s ‘On Manoeuvres’ section brings you the info on Britain’s finest history-themed activities, from lecture days and air shows to militaria fairs and re-enactments. With summer soon to be upon us, we take the opportunity to draw particular attention to six of the best indoor and outdoor events taking place over the coming months.  

Yeovilton International Air Day
Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton will be commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign at this year’s International Air Day on Saturday 23 June. An extensive flying and static display will take place to mark this significant occasion with historic naval aircraft such as the Swordfish, Sea Fury, and Sea Vixen coming
together with their modern counterparts to highlight the role that RNAS Yeovilton Squadrons have played – and continue to play – in operations through the decades.

The day will also feature world-class military aerobatic teams such as the RAF Red Arrows and – the stars of this year’s show – the Royal Saudi Air Force Saudi Hawk Display Team. Invitations have been sent out to foreign nations in the hope that they will once again support the show. The home team, consisting of the Royal Navy Black Cats, Royal Navy Historic Flight, and the Commando Assault Finale, will showcase the Fleet Air Arm’s
assets past and present.

WHEN: 23 June 2012
WHERE: Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovil, BA22 8HT
HOW MUCH: Adults £18 in advance, £23 on the day; under-15s £5 in advance, £8 on the day; senior citizens £16 in advance, £23 on the day
WEB: www.yeoviltonairday.co.uk

Midlands History Festival
Living history and battle re-enactors will be gathering at Overstone Park this August. The festival’s spectacular action runs from ancient Rome through to WWII, with visitors able to visit Viking encampments, watch warriors fight, see armies prepare for war, and talk with gun crews.

Re-enactors at the festival not simply fight each other: they study their chosen field in depth, and all of them have
extensive knowledge of the history they are recreating, right down to what they are wearing and the weapons they are using.

There will also be a history market, where you can buy anything from a coat of arms to a Roman comb. Be sure to
catch the falconry displays, and visit Troll’s Bottom real-ale bar.

WHEN: 4-5 August 2012
WHERE: Overstone Park, Northampton, NN6 0AB
HOW MUCH: Adults £8, children £4, families £20
WEB: www.mid-fest.co.uk

The Battle of Britain Living History Show
This unique WWII event is being held for the second time in Taunton, following a successful first show last year. The event combines a great variety of military vehicles along with living history displays, mock battles, veteran signings, and trade stands. The chance to sit in a static Mk IX Spitfire, with its working Merlin engine running, ranks as one of the main attractions, but others include a static Hawker Hurricane, a WWI Vickers gun bus, and a Panzer III tank that will be taking part in mock battles along with the Spitfire.

On Saturday night, the show hosts the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra – an eleven-piece 1940s swing band that will be performing in a large marquee with stage, wooden dance-floor, and licensed bar. Tickets for the dance cost £15 each, which includes free entry to the rest of the show on either Saturday or Sunday.

WHEN: 9-10 June 2012, 10am-6pm
WHERE: WSRA Fields, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, TA4 1BH
HOW MUCH: Adults £7, under-15s and senior citizens £5, families £20
WEB: www.spitfirespares.com


The Muckleburgh Military Collection Display and Military Weekend
Muckleburgh have chosen the week before the British Armed Forces Day to host their two-day event. Mobile museums in the form of army vehicles will make their way around the site, providing military-themed entertainment and showing the fascinating ephemera usually accessible only to visitors to Muckleburgh Museum.

With various Regular Army and RAF displays, plus costumed re-enactors and living history groups making sure there isn’t a dull moment, this family-friendly weekend will host military stalls, Army Cadet Force displays, tank demonstrations, military vehicle rides, the radio shack, the rifle range, and vehicle parades by the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group. More information on booking a stall or overnight pitch accommodation can be found on the website.

WHEN: 23-24 June 2012, 10am-5pm
WHERE: Muckleburgh House, Weybourne Road, Norfolk, NR25 7EG
HOW MUCH: Adults £10, under-12s FREE; camping plus entry for two £25
WEB: www.muckleburgh.co.uk

Military Odyssey
Military Odyssey, now in its 12th year, offers you the chance to get your hands on history with hundreds of historic groups covering a vast sweep of history. See history come alive with Legio Secunda Augusta (Romans), The Hoplite Association (Ancient Greeks), Regia Anglorum and the Knights of Draum (Celts, Vikings, Saxons
and Normans) participating in arena events over the three-day festival. From the 20th century, there will be a WWI trench reconstruction to tour, and battlefield conflicts recreated – with a range of aircraft taking part.

There will also be hundreds of indoor and outdoor trade stalls to browse through, with some of the country’s rarest collectables on display.

WHEN: 25-27 August 2012, 9.30am-6pm
WHERE: Kent Show Ground, Detling, Kent, ME14 3JF
HOW MUCH: One-day ticket Adults £15.30, under-15s £9.30. Two-day ticket Adults £27.50, under-15s £16.75.
Three-day ticket Adults £41.50, children £25
WEB: www.military-odyssey.com

The Real War Horses
The Western Front Association has organised The Real War Horses – an exciting summer conference coming up this June. This event will bring together a group of experts and authors to explore the gritty real-life experiences of horses during WWI.

Speakers Dr Graham Winton, Andy Robertshaw, David Kenyon, and Simon Butler, will cover a wide range of topics, including the story of the use of horses for transport, the making of the War Horse film, the domestic horse industry, and the procurement of non-military horses for the massive demands of the Great War. There will be a look at the welfare of horses on the Western Front, and the story will be told of what happened to them after the war had ended.

Tickets can be purchased via the National Army Museum.

WHEN: 16 June 2012, 10.30am-5.30pm
WHERE: National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HT
HOW MUCH: Adults £15, concessions £12.50
WEB: www.nam.ac.uk

To see these listing in map form, as it appeared in MHM 21, click here.

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