17 years ago
Military Odyssey at Detling for the bank holiday.
A thoroughly absorbing display by The Diehards of Victorian military signals
gear, including telegraph stuff powered by a genuine set of Leyden Jars.
Lots of interesting WW2 German and Allied armour, bikes & staff cars,
including the HUGE Jagdpanther tank, one of three that goes & restored from
two heaps of steel & ali scrap at the cost of close to a million quid! I had
an excellent view of it as I was asked to narrate the WW2 battle
re-enactment. High point of the day on Saturday was when it fired its main
gun, with a flash, bang & a lot of smoke. Away in the distance appeared a
lone figure, getting in for nothing by walking up the public footpath from
the village. BANG! He literally fell over backwards, got up and ran off -
that'll larn 'im!
On Sunday, I had fun trying to co-ordinate the activities of two rather over
enthusiastic YAK pilots that had been brought in as Allied air support &
just could not resist a few aerobatics as the entire German army filled the
sky with small arms fire. Ah, the value of the ad lib ..........
Anyway, to return to something approaching the Topic -
Last year at this very show, a German guy had a couple of WW2 Wermacht
generators for sale on his stall. The larger was in its carrying case, but
sadly lacked the dynamo, the other was remarkably complete but painted a
fetching shade of yucky purpleish. Both were £150, a good deal more than I
was prepared to pay, although I'm aware that in the antique military radio
world, they can be easily twice that. Arrgh. He'd not budge below £140 so I
Imagine my surprise to find them both present this year, still £150 each. I
dickered & he came to £120, but I thought I'd leave it until Monday
afternoon. When I arrive, he is putting things in boxes already & I got the
smaller, purplish one for £80.00. an inverted TS single with overhung crank,
it has compression but no spark, does not clank & the brushes squeak
encouragingly on the comm, although I have not looked inside it yet. I'm
rather chuffed about buying that one, actually, the one that didn't get
away. Here's a pic of a similar genny.
Strolling through the militaria halls, I happened upon a box full of
wireless manuals & assiduous searching found seven original generator
manuals, including an EW 80W & a fascinating loose leaf folder of short info
sheets on all the generators available at the end of the war, including
several versions of the flat twin Enfield I'd not seen before. Scans in due
On a junk stall, I found for a quid a nice little aranoid barometer that
someone has squeezed into a Air Ministry tacho case & a quick strip & clean
returned it to good order. Now I have a WW2 aircraft rev counter sitting on
the monitor shelf in front of me, indicating barometric pressure instead.
Finally, I spoiled myself & treated me to a beautiful little Persian steel
recurve bow ( as in archery). Blued steel & a fantastically complex silver
inlay on the back of the bow. The blue is fading & I need some chemical gun
blue - any ideas gentlemen?
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable, diverse - if tiring - three days.
J. Kim Siddorn,