Hundreds of military vehicles are massed across the Marsh but they are not going to invade France. However, possibly 100,000 people are expected to visit the War and Peace Revival at Westenhanger, including six original cast members of the BBC hit comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo! which was set in wartime France.
The event started at Tenterden in the 80s, in conjunction with the steam railway there. But it has grown steadily, moved to the Hop Farm at Beltring, and is now a five-day annual event at Westenhanger Racecourse near Folkestone – with high-speed trains making special stops there all weekend.
This year’s show features World War I exhibitions, but most vehicles date from World War II and since. Many groups re-enact wartime events and the arena echoes to the chatter of gunfire, the coughs of mortars and light artillery and the grinding of tank tracks churning up the ground.
The ‘Allo ‘Allo! cast were sweltering in the heat in their uniforms and costumes when I visited the show. Fans kept them busy signing autographs and posing for photographs.
In marquees visitors were taught to jive or they listened to Very Lynn and Elvis favourites along with jazz and big band music while outside parties of schoolchildren learnt not just about WW1 trenches, or the Home Front in WW2, but also about more recent events such as the Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989) which divided Europe but is now history.
The event continues until Sunday night. Note to the nervous: all guns on show are de-activated and have certificates to confirm this.