ANKS and troops marched into a country park this weekend – but the invasion was just part of an event to honour those who served in the Second World War.
Rufford Abbey was the backdrop for displays of shooting and bombing – as well as wartime-themed dances and entertainment – on both Saturday and Sunday.
The “On The Home Front 1939-45” event was enjoyed by thousands, with cars queuing to park when the gates opened at 10.30am both days. And hundreds of visitors dressed up in clothes from the period to mark the occasion at country park, two miles south of Ollerton.
BTEC student Connor Hawkins was dressed as an Indian Army Reserve. The 18-year-old, from Mansfield, said: “I have dressed up because it is good fun but it is also important to remember those that served in the war.
“This really is a top-class event with a lot to do and see". “Most people have got into the spirit of things and some people have some excellent uniforms.”
Battles, bombings and drills were carried out across the park and a crowd favourite was a fly-past by a Douglas Dakota fighter plane.
Paul Brown turned heads in his Royal Armoured Corps uniform from the 87 Armoured Division. The Nottingham driving instructor, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, said: “For me the flyover was the best part of the day.
“This uniform would have been worn by the local regiment the Sherwood Rangers at one time, which is why I chose it". “It is very important to remember those who served for this country and this is a good way to do it.”
Members of the public were invited to try everything the event had to offer – from swing dancing to firing a machine gun. Samworth Church Academy student Evan Ward spent a year learning about the Second World War at school. The 11-year-old, from Mansfield, said: “I really liked testing all the guns, even though I knew how to shoot one before I came.
“I have learnt that TNT was actually a real thing back then – not just something on TV". “We did a lot at school on the war and it is good to see some of the things that we talked about.”
The event has already been confirmed to return again next year but a date is still being finalised. Project officer Paul Norton, from Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We started planning this last year. This is our eighth event and they keep getting bigger and better.
“There is something for everyone here and I think that shows because we have had several thousand visitors.”