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World War II Army tanks roll through Dorset for commemoration weekend
TIME travel will take place as Second World War Army tanks roll through Dorset towns once more.
Around 70 vehicles will take part in the Armour and Embarkation re-enactment to commemorate the 68th anniversary of D-Day between June 22 and 24.
Many of the troops involved in the huge military operation camped or passed through the area.
The Echo is backing the Armour and Embarkation event, also part of Maiden Newton at War and the Weymouth Veteran’s Parade.
Founder Jack Beckett said: “Dorchester was full of armour and soft skins ready to move down to the embarkation ports of Weymouth and Portland.
“Top ‘o’ Town was stacked sky high with coffins waiting for the aftermath of the D-Day invasion.
“Dorset was a huge military camp. US troops left here for infamous ‘Bloody Omaha’ as seen in the film Saving Private Ryan.
“Churchill, Eisenhower and Mont-gomery came here. All of this was going on in sleepy Dorchester – the war history of this area is incredible.
“We’ve even got Hitler’s desk in the Keep Museum.”
Children, adults and those that remember the war are all urged to take part – the only Second World War tank event of its kind in the UK.
Mr Beckett added: “This event is going to be one of a kind. “Dorchester is of course known for Hardy. But few people are aware of the key role it played in the war.
“We hope we can make the town just as well-known for the amazing part it played.”
If the event is a success, organisers can create an even bigger celebration of the 70th anniversary.
• Friday, June 22 will be Education Day. Schools will get to see rare Second World War vehicles in Dorchester as well as talk to living history actors about what Dorset was like during the war. Time travel will take place on Saturday, June 23, when armoured vehicles will create a scene that would have been familiar 68 years ago. The Armour and Embarkation group will open Maiden Newton at War before driving to Martinstown and on to Dorchester, where they will meet the public and lay a wreath at the cenotaph.
• On Sunday, June 24 a convoy of up to 25 selected vehicles will travel to Weymouth for the Veteran’s Parade.