The REME Museum’s Wartime Britain exhibition attracted hundreds of visitors to Lyneham on Saturday as it hosted indoor and outdoor events to entertain and educate guests who were encouraged to come dressed for wartime conditions.
Andy Harding from Somerset brought his wife Diane and son John along and had a great time. Andy said: “John came here last year with the scouts and he wanted to come back and see it again. We really enjoyed it, it was awesome, all the displays were really interesting, we would recommend visiting it next year, it’s a great day out. Everyone was really helpful answering all the questions we had and I found out a lot about being in the Home Guard. It was quite nostalgic because our neighbour used to be in the Home Guard, and John liked all the guns.”
Visitors enjoyed seeing an array of vehicles, watching live firing from the Garrison Artillery, experiencing shows from the British and German re-enactment team Tommy and Jerry, and speaking to ex-REME personnel, Harley Davidson riders, and the Wiltshire Home Guard Recreation Society.
Society chairman Maria Ogbourne said: “It’s wonderful to see people react to us telling them something they didn’t know before and we heard their own personal stories of the war or relatives who were in the Home Guard, so everyone learns something new.
“The weapons kit was a big draw, especially with kids, and we had interactive items like a Morse code key because having something that visitors can actually touch helps bring it all to life.”
After seeing footfall increase by a third compared to last year’s exhibition, organisers hope to bring it back again even bigger and better next year.
REME Museum managing director Rick Henderson said: “It was a really successful day, I’m delighted with how it’s gone, and the weather has been lovely. Last year was our first Wartime in Britain exhibition and we would like to keep building on it, it still feels like the beginning of our evolution - maybe next year we could have it over the whole weekend or try to tie it in with VJ Day.
“We have had a lot of support from re-enactment groups and enthusiasts, people have travelled quite far to be here, it’s amazing. We do events like this throughout the year and have activities during the half-term and summer holidays to entertain and educate people.”