Lynne was another character I met at the War And Peace show. Her husband is a re-enactor representing the Russian Army and she has gradually become more involved over the years, along with her daughter Rhian (Stranger #16). Lynne works in a doctors’ surgery in real life, so it was only natural that she chose to be a Major in the Russian Medical Corps for her events. This was the first time she had worn her new, custom-made uniform – and very smart it looked too. The sunglasses probably weren’t authentic, but I thought they added a nice touch to her character! Thanks for agreeing to be part of my project, Lynne.
My, Bertrand was a character! I met him the War And Peace show and was playing the part of a member of the US VMF-214 Marine Fighting Squadron (aka The Swashblucklers) from WWII. It turned out he was an architect from France who had served as a Staff Sergeant in the French Marines during his National Service, and subsequently spent 2½ years living in England before going back to France to work. His English was impeccable. He got into re-enacting when he met a friend (who’s name I didn’t catch, but who was also at the event). They were really getting into their parts. It sounds like he’d lived a rather swashbuckling life himself – he explained that one of his most memorable events was when he rode a 1940’s Harley Davidson at the head of the 60th Anniversary re-enactment of the Liberation of Paris parade in 2004, a very proud moment for any Frenchman. Thanks, Bertrand, for your very enjoyable stories, you are quite the raconteur.
I met Lesley at the War And Peace show in Kent. She was one of the few ladies I saw in costume, wandering around with her husband. He is one of the U-Boat Captains and apparently you’re not allowed near the stands if you’re not dressed in authentic clothes. So she was representing a corp of German clerks who apparently were still given smart uniforms to wear, even though they were not part of the fighting troops. She was a lovely lady to chat to. Thanks for being part of my project, Lesley.
Steve was another re-enactor I met at the War And Peace show in Kent. He was representing the 4th Indian Regiment who fought many desert campaigns in WWII, and has been taking part in re-enactments for 5 years. By chance, his brother bought him a uniform with the red eagle insignia, and a few weeks later he came across a leaflet on eBay which he bought for 50p with the same emblem. The leaflet began:
It was right we should wear eagles upon our shoulders for only birds could have reached the heights and visited the lands where we fought.4th Indian Regiment leaflet
He was immediately hooked, and has been “in” the regiment ever since. Steve was a very amiable Geordie who was very willing to share his knowledge and enthusiasm.
Johann is really called John, but goes by the name of Johann Albrecht von Paulus when he participates in the Kampfgruppe StahlKreiger group of WWII re-enactors. I met him at the War And Peace show in Kent. He was in the role of an Officer in charge of the field hospital, and had a great back-story to tell about his character, including photos in his wallet of his fictitious “children”. He has been doing this for about 4 years, and really seemed to enjoy the camaraderie of his Company. The KSK are a non-political group who don’t endorse the Nazi beliefs in any way, but someone has to play the enemy when it comes to putting on an accurate show! Thanks for talking the time to talk, “Johann” – sorry your mug of tea went cold in the process!
I met Robert at the War And Peace show in Kent today. He was playing the role of a German war correspondent, or Kreigsberichter with the Kampfgruppe StahlKreiger group of WWII re-enactors. He enjoys photography (and had his DSLR discretely stowed away in a tank!) but uses this old film camera to take pictures of the action during the events. He’s been participating for 3-4 years, and was originally persuaded to join by his brother. It was great talking to you Robert, I hope you got some good pictures of the show!