Soldiers and swing tunes in museum’s tribute to the 40s

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With swinging songs of wartime love playing out to soldiers in full kit a glimpse of the 1940s came to modern day Sheffield.

The city’s Police and Fire Museum turned back the clock to the time of World War Two for a weekend of nostalgia.

Matt Moore and Joe Smith of the "Poor Bloody Infantry" reenactment group protray member of the South Staffords 1st Airborne Division at the Sheffield Fire and Police Museums 1940's Weekend � Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk

Matt Moore and Joe Smith of the "Poor Bloody Infantry" reenactment group protray member of the South Staffords 1st Airborne Division at the Sheffield Fire and Police Museums 1940's Weekend � Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk

Hundreds of visitors got into the spirit at the West Bar station, which went all out in its celebration of the era.

When crooner Ricky Hunter was not entertaining guests with tunes such as Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, kit demonstrations, dancing and rifle displays entertained families.

The building, which opened as a combined police and fire station in 1900, provided the perfect setting for historical re-enactors.

World War Two enthusiasts from across the UK descended on the museum to help give the festival an authentic 40s feel.

Re-enactor Joe Smith, aged 19, showed off his costume based on a member of the South Staffords 1st Airborne Division from 1944.

He said: “It’s great to be able to come to Sheffield. We do this as often as we can, we all love history.

“Sometimes you’re taken aback by how little people know about the history of the war. If some people leave having learned something then it makes it even better for us.”

Deep in the cold, grim prison cells – used as a communications room during World War Two – Andrew White played the part of a German prisoner of war.

And his pal Colin Simpson kept close watch dressed in the uniform of the British Home Guard.

Andrew said: “It’s been really good, everyone is so friendly and interested in the period.”

Youngsters were kept entertained with engine rides and the museum’s star attraction – its collection of retro police and fire vehicles.

Women dressed in overalls, with hair tied up by headscarves were also there in an homage to the wartime effort of Sheffield’s Women of Steel.

Visitor Ann Gables, 66, from North Derbyshire, said: “It’s the first time I’ve come here but I really enjoyed it.

“They did a good job.”

Museum celebrates 30th anniversary

The success of Sheffield Police and Fire Museum’s first 1940s weekend has inspired organisers to make it an annual event.

Curator Matt Wakefield said: “It’s our 30th anniversary this year and one of the things we did was manage to get the Austin K2 ambulance working for the first time in 12 years.

“We took it to the 1940s weekend in Howarth and couldn’t believe how much interest there is out there for the period.

“This station did a lot for Sheffield during World War Two so it seemed right to put it back to wartime life. It’s just one of the things we’re doing for the anniversary.”