DIG out your tea dresses and get ready to be whisked back to the 1940s. A Lifton pub is staging a two-day extravaganza — complete with vintage costumes and military vehicles, not to mention music, food and drink.
With the anniversary of D-Day approaching on June 6, landlords Philip Hockin and Linda Wonnacott, of The Fox and Grapes, wanted to honour those that served ont that epic day almost 80 years ago — as well as stage the kind of party that got people through the dark days of the war.
The two-day event will feature a piper, in tribute to the late Bill Millin, known as ‘Piper Bill’ who played the bagpipes while under fire during the landings in Normandy in June 1944. There will also be music from local professional close harmony trio The Hummingbirds, bringing joy and verve to various numbers from the 1940s. The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, with a party on the Saturday night.
Philip explained: ‘D-Day was on June 6, so the closest weekend was June 3 and 4. We took over the pub last September. I wanted to do more events and I thought, nobody does much for D-Day around here and so I contacted different military trusts and reenactment societies.
‘On the Saturday evening, in the Coronation Hall, next to the pub, we have The Hummingbirds. We are dressing that up like a NAAFI canteen with decorations on all the tables. We have got in excess of 20 vehicles, everything from an armoured personnel carriers to pre-war cars and everything in between. We have got a very large beer garden, so the smaller vehicles and cars and motorcycles will be in the beer garden. We want everyone who can to dress up, the reenactment guys will dress up. We start at 12 noon on Saturday, with a barbecue from 2pm, and we have a tribute to Bill Millin, the piper of Sword Beach. I’m trying to learn the bagpipes so it seemed appropriate.
‘We will also have live firing at 4pm, the The Hummingbirds will be on from 8.30pm. On Sunday, we will have a barbecue from 2pm, and a bugler wil be playing the last post and we will have a two minutes’ silence at 3pm. We are hoping we will have a pipe and drum band, and possibly the local vicar coming to do the Lord’s Prayer after the piper.
‘I want the children to come and see the vehicles and talk to the guys and understand some of the history, because it was an important turning point in the war and something that needs to be remembered. I thought this was something that would be fun to do, and educational and respectful as well.’