[MV] Report of VMMV Open house

James Burrill (jburrill@dttus.com)
03 Oct 1999 10:52:29 -0500

Hi All,

As always, getting to see Alan Cors' collection of running armour is
worth the 4 hour drive from the Philadelphia area. Especially this

The Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles showcased British WWII armour
for this limited (by space) exhibition. I belong to one of the oldest
WWII British reenactment units, the Welsh Guards. Our group has been
involved in the past providing uniformed bodies as window dressing for
the armour.

This time, members of our unit,properly dressed in Guards Armoured
Division uniforms including British "Pixie" suits, AFV helmets, Black
Armoured berets and headset/mic units for the No.19 Set comm equipment
took their positions in the Churchill tank. Wearing a first pattern
fiber British Tankers helmet, I got to take the commanders position in
the Valentine Infantry Support tank. Granted, the ride was short, but
you can imagine the fantasies going on in my head as we smoothly
motored up to the review area.

Other members of our unit were involved in a special ride. One of the
Museum's guest speakers was R.E.G. Davies. Ron was a Bren Carrier
driver for the Vickers Machine Gun Carrier platoon that was in the
49th "Polar Bear" Division from D+12 until VE Day. We put Ron in a
Pixie suit and he drove a Mk2 Carrier with a team of Welsh Guardsmen
onboard with one of our unit Vickers. Ron drove up to the review area,
stopped the carrier and made his way to the podium. While he described
events of the war, including details of the use of Carriers and
Vickers gun crews, our unit members performed a dismount drill and set
up the Vickers for "Action Front".

Our blank adapted, tax stamped, LEGAL,class III vickers was set up in
seconds, a belt of blanks loaded in and the firing demo began. After
we had gone through a 250 round belt, Ron finished his portion of the
talk and soon the review area was open for display.

We came away with at least three big wins for the days' efforts.
1) We got to ride in some damned rare British armour.
2) Our unit scored 2 new recruits.
3) You should have seen the expression on Ron Davies face as he was
going through all of this! Until this year, it had been 50+ years
since he was last in a Bren Carrier - much less drive one again.

Our reenactment unit, the Welsh Guards, has recently turned very
"gear" intensive. That is, our unit membership has become involved in
HMVs in a serious way. We have restored BSA and Indian motorcycles
owned by two members, Bill Bethke and I co-own a 1942 Carrier Mk1 that
will be ready for FIG this January, and I own a CMP 1942 C-15A 15cwt
truck and a CMP C-8A HU(P) that will be a frame up restoration this

Our unit also has 4 papered Class III Vickers MGs, a Bren and
collectively, about 6 Stens.

Actually, the number of vehicles and crew served weapons is starting
to become an "embarresment of riches" as we need more members to crew
the guns. The Welsh Guards is a dispersed-membership group that ranges
in the several states of the Mid-Atlantic area.

We are not into unit officers, elections and parlementary inpediments.
We are all friends that enjoy reenacting the WWII British soldier and
have a good time when we get together. We have no dues, but we chip in
when something comes up.

If you would like to turn out for an event with us and see if we are a
good match, contact me at home 215-529-7035 or email,
jburrill@dttus.com. In a week or so, we will have our website started
at www. welshguards.com

Jim Burrill

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