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Welshpool steps back to the 1940s - with pictures

By Lucy Todman | Welshpool | Mid Wales entertainment | Published:

Shoppers in Welshpool could have been forgiven for thinking they had stepped back in time on Saturday afternoon.

For sitting outside the many cafes and restaurants and enjoying the autumn sunshine were soldiers and airmen dressed in WW2 fatigues and Land Girls who had stopped by for a spot of tea.

It was the town's 1940s Weekend. Churchill was giving a rousing speech outside the Market Hall while Doctor held surgery in the Corn Exchange. And judging by the turnout the event was a huge success.

Ben Wilkes, sporting a phenomenal moustache and bowler hat, had travelled from Staffordshire to take part.

Appearing as Great Uncle George and on urgent Ministry business, he was giving people a tour of his Anderson Shelter set up on the main street.

The dog shelter volunteer was one of several members of the Spirit of the Homefront re-enactment group.

He said: "We come from all over the country and it is our fourth time here in Welshpool. Everyone seems very interested to hear about my shelter and also about Narpac - the massive WW2 pet cull. In the first week of the war between 400,000 and 750,000 pets were put to sleep by their owners. Not many people know about that part of the war so it is good to tell them."

Re-enactment

Another member of the group was Simon Kerstin, from Bradford. The civil engineer appeared as 'deputy in charge' of the Bevin Boys. Covered from head to foot in coal dust, he was telling interested members of the public about his collection of miners' lamps and gas masks.

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"I have been doing this for six years now," he said. "We travel all over the country and it is a great way to educate people about the war. My collection has been gathered together from donations and bits I have found on ebay."

Mining is in the blood for Simon - his grandfather had worked down the pit.

He added: "I was looking for a group to do this with and then I cam across the Spirit of the Homefront. They had my passion for history. I like to educate people and I am able to do this while at the same time doing something that I love."

Enjoying a piece of cake was Maisie Jones, nine and her mother Catherine, from Welshpool.

Maisie said: "It has been really interesting. I liked seeing everyone dressed up and listening to some of the music."

Other events which took place over the weekend were a tea dance, Blitz Ball and a 1940s parade through the town. The Bluebird Belles, Moonlight Serenade and The George Formby Experience kept the crowds entertained with their lively music.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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