GALLERY: Second World War life in the spotlight for annual Ironbridge event

By Nick Humphreys | Ironbridge | Entertainment | Published:

Hundreds of visitors to Ironbridge caught a glimpse of what life may have been like during the Second World War.

There were 1940s lands girls, Germans in uniform and Home Guards at Dale End Park for the Spring Bank Holiday as re-enactment groups told the stories of what it was like during wartime.

This is the sixth year of the Ironbridge Gorge World War 2 weekend, which raises thousands of pounds for the Pilgrim Bandits, a charity set up to help and inspire injured personnel to live life to the full.

Both history enthusiasts and people there for a day out enjoyed traditional 1940s live entertainment including a big band, while there were also several military vehicles including Jeeps, trucks and an ambulance from the time. The crowd watched in awe overhead both days vintage planes flew past.

Saturday's audience saw a Dakota, the aircraft used to drop paratroopers at Normandy on the D-Day landings, and on Sunday a Spitfire fighter jet whizzed over the town.

Battle reenactments were held on both days, including one in which American soldiers got lost when following a map, only to be ambushed by Germans, with some being killed and the rest being captured as prisoners of war.

Several weapons were shown in a fire power demonstration, including British Lee Enfield rifles, German K98 rifles and MP40 machine pistols, also used by the Nazis.

The Home Guard area gave people the chance to sample food that would have been rationed out, with several groups giving demonstrations. The Women's Institute made cakes, jam and bread that would have been consumed in that era.

A Shrewsbury couple even tied the knot, in full 1940s regalia. Dave Williams and Julie Bourrett had their first date at Ironbridge, and made their vows on the bridge before going off to enjoy the Grand Dance, where the Ashby Big Band played until the small, wee hours.


Organiser Dave Adams said: "It has been extremely well attended. We had a pop up 1940s pub that had to close at 4pm to restock because it was so busy all day.

"We had a vehicle parade through the town, a costume pageant and even a couple getting married on the bridge with everything themed 1940s.

"The church bells played Congratulations for them, and was playing other music from the time as well like The Dambusters theme.

"It has been a great weekend. It all started off six years ago in a pub back garden, and has now become one of the most 'go to' events. We are the biggest Second World War weekend in the West Midlands."

Over the years the weekend has raised £30,000 for the Pilgrim Bandits charity, and this year's event is on course to swell the coffers much more.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Bridgnorth.


Top stories


More from Shropshire Star

UK & International News