This event held in the fields surrounding the small Damyns Hall airstrip near Upminster, Essex, showcases various periods of military history from the earliest days until the very recent and includes battle scenarios, re-enactors, static set-pieces and air displays – the latter taking an increasingly large part in the day’s entertainment. Of the displays illustrated undoubted highlight was Dan Griffith in the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Spitfire XVI, which thankfully coincided with the best weather of the day.
Organised by the Essex branch of the Military Vehicle Trust this event is primarily a chance for owners of tanks, armoured vehicles and re-enactment groups to showcase their equipment – and to make a lot of noise during firepower displays.
Spread over the fields adjacent to Damyns Hall Aerodrome the event also includes other vintage and retro themes, a pleasingly large number of local and military charity outlets, musical entertainment and a three hour flying display.
Polka Dot Dolls:
Making its return to display flying and sporting new details to its Vietnam era colour scheme the North Weald based Bell UH-1 ‘Huey’ impressed with an aggressive low-level routine.
Spitfire IX TA805 ‘Spirit of Kent’ from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar appeared minus its familiar black and white invasion stripes which have been removed for film work. It was flown by Clive Denney who had returned having earlier displayed BHHH’s Harvard.
Peter Teichman displayed the Hangar 11 ‘Hurribomber’ whilst B-17 Sally B also appeared, adding to an impressive warbird line-up.
Lighter aircraft made up the rest of the show, from trainers of various ages, through communications aircraft to wingwalking.
Damyns Hall is located near Upminster, Essex, inside the M25, and has scheduled its 2014 event for 1, 2 and 3 August. Well worth looking out for.
The Heveningham Hall Country Fair has been a fixture in the local Suffolk calendar for 15 years, and for 2013 incorporated the Halesworth Lion’s Wings and Wheels event. It was also extended to a two day show, held over the weekend 6 and 7 July 2013. The Lion’s Wings and Wheels show had for many years been held at Henham Park, also in Suffolk, but had to be cancelled in 2012 because of the ground conditions caused by the appalling weather which effected so many events last year. The charity had to suffer the costs from that cancellation so decided that amalgamating their event with that held at Heveningham would ensure such losses would not be repeated.
As at Henham Park a temporary grass strip was designed into the picturesque parkland to the rear of the Hall to allow for the fly-in which is the major aviation aspect of the event. With this being the first event at Heveningham Hall it was decided to keep the actual display flying to just two slots by the Blades and one by a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
The tree-lined backdrop and rolling fields make for a beautiful location to view the movements by the various visiting aircraft.
BBMF ‘boss’ Duncan Mason displayed the newly restored Spitfire LFXVIe TE311 over the Suffolk countryside, with the display area being over the lake at the front of the Hall.
The Blades begin their display with a crowd-rear entry which brought them straight over the Hall. For 2013 the team have reverted to a mainly orange scheme.
The Heveningham Hall Country Fair was already a large event, covering as it does a huge area of the estate and including all the traditional elements of such a fair – from Punch and Judy to Monster Trucks. The inclusion of the Lion’s Wings and Wheels added another dimension to the show, and one which it is hoped can be expanded upon in the future as the plans are to include a more dedicated display element to the programme.