Wheels & Wings and
Battlegroup North Show
25th- 27th May 2012
Report by Mike Humphreys

Sun, and more sun, made for a great weekend at our venue, the Yorkshire Air Museum. Ivor Waterhouse, our man on the gate, welcomed entrants with a Diamond Jubilee Mug and event timetable before passing drivers on to our team of marshalls who did a selfless job all weekend making sure things went smoothly.

Plenty of vehicles from WW2 onwards sprawled across the site creating a fine display. Elsewhere re-enactors, sited on the grass adjacent to paths, gave spectators plenty of opportunity to ask questions and chat away about the weapons and kit laid out in their encampments. There is always something different to see here. This year Bomb Disposal was on hand recovering a bomb from a shaft. Elsewhere the Germans had brought along some very realistic ‘concrete’ gun emplacements. Trade stalls, both outside and in the hanger, provided a good selection of ‘must haves’ which in my case included a new fuel pump for my jeep that gave up the ghost a day prior to the show. War gamers were again in action with some excellent models in the main hanger.

Saturday morning saw Ian Anderson sprawled under his Tilly surrounded by tools as he set to work on a problem with his fuel pump with help from Denis Matthewman and Dale Shipley. Tony Pearson’s jeep front end was off for some serious work.

A percentage of entrants are always going to suffer some form of breakdown. I felt really sorry for David Shackleton in his Bedford when the water pump let him down just 3 miles short of the show. One of the lads from the NE had a catastrophic engine failure en route in his GMC and now needs a new engine! 

On a more positive note, the flying display this year was silver Mk LFIXe Spitfire from the BBMF which treated us to a long series of turns and passes as the crowds all gazed upward. Music from the Skipton British Legion Band entertained the crowd outside the NAAFI building adding considerably to the atmosphere.

Ken Pugh had brought quite a number of US vehicles along which he had lined up against the wood with a superb large tent as base for him and his team for the weekend. Tony Pearson who won Best in show with his M8 had this parked alongside his equally pristine Halftrack. Next door a newly restored and very rare Allis Chalmers 18 ton M4 High Speed heavy artillery tractor looked anything but a WW2 design. Fantastic.

Kevin Wilson, who lives near York arrived in his 1970 6x6 Zil 131 which was up for sale ( Tel 07768 064705 ). He has owned it 5 years and says bits are very easy to source. They are still made and are reliable. Equipped for Siberia it has pre heaters everywhere. Ok for English summers then?

Saturday’s road run to the old airfield at Melbourne was well attended by a good cross section of vehicles. Malcolm Dawson, Durham/Tyne Tees, drove his just completed 1942 M3A1 Halftrack. I remember seeing photos of it 2 years ago as it arrived from Rudi Pomm in Belgium as, he says, “7 tons of scrap”. Now in superb condition it won the prize for Best Wartime vehicle. Young participants included Hugo hunter’s niece looking the part as Rosie the Riveter. Chris Smyth’s road run was brief. His Quad was later recovered, and the problem resolved with a new condenser ready for the trip home with his 25 pdr behind.

Mike Peacock, armed with a loud hailer, looked in his element as he addressed the crowds gathered for the four ‘shoots’ undertaken very professional by two 25 pdrs of 69th Field.

On the newly grassed area behind the main hanger 6 rounds were fired am and pm on both days whilst the gunners sweltered in leather jerkins. A professional eye watched the proceedings on Saturday. Lesley Allinson, now 92, sat in the shade of Denis’s awning.

In 1940 he left Rowntrees in York, where he was an apprentice bricklayer, to join up. He became a Gunnery Assistant in 1st Field serving with the 8th Army in the Western Desert. At El Alamein he did the countdown for his guns prior to that famous opening barrage by some 1000 guns.

He saw action at Tobruk and, after landing at Taranto, also at Monte Cassino in Italy fighting as far north as the Po valley. Sadly his two friends who joined up at the same time both died serving with the RAF. Mike also led 3 cheers for her Majesty which went down really well.

It’s not everyday that you get a chance to have chat with the owner of a De Havilland Mosquito. I met Tony Agar, who owns the 1944 Mk II in the museum, on the roof of the control tower whilst waiting for the BBMF Spitfire flypast. 

He was with Brian Watmough, a member of the team of volunteer engineers who are currently working on the aircraft’s engines. A pair of friendlier people you couldn’t wish to meet. I was to learn that the intention is to have both engines in running condition which will be brilliant. Various copper pipe engine fittings fitted recently have been recovered from an airfield bog dump adjacent to where Mosquitos were burnt to dispose of them!!

Ellie Robertson, from Lytham St Annes very kindly helped out by posing in ATS uniform and then coveralls against an Austin K2 Ambulance and an Austin Tilly in a recreation of the famous photos of Princess Elizabeth to mark the Diamond Jubilee. Angela, of 69th Field, provided the clothing etc and acted as chaperone whilst I took the photos. Many grateful thanks to both of you.

2012’s show was yet another enjoyable and atmospheric event for the club which benefitted enormously from the change of date as very soggy conditions had prevailed at the site earlier in the month. Some loud shirts and enthusiastic disco dancing was to be seen on Saturday night and I suspect some sore heads experienced the morning after – all part of the fun!

Prize giving took place on Sunday afternoon after some very discreet judging and winners are listed below.


Best in Show; M8 Armoured Car, Tony Pearson

Best Jeep

1st RCAF Jeep, KYO 617, Andrew Overall
2nd Bomb Group Jeep, 44 SPH Simon Henson
3rd Jeep, Tony Duncan.

Best Wartime

1st White Half Track, 813 YUJ, Malcolm Dawson
2nd Bedford MW, 269 UXL Mike Humphreys
3rd Bedford MW, 196 UXO Anthony Simmons

Best Post - War

1st Morris MRA1, UYJ 620 Hazel Coulson
2nd LSV Light Strike, Colin Scott
3rd Berna Truck, Richard Newall

Best Motorcycle

1st Harley Davidson WLA, John Gray
2nd Matchless G3L, YNE 142 Adrian Stead
3rd Harley WLA, 378 UXL Steve Dobson