Red, white and blue at 40s fest

Brigette Hunter from Freckleton, Ronnie Murray and Wendy Murray from Dors et at the Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival
Brigette Hunter from Freckleton, Ronnie Murray and Wendy Murray from Dors et at the Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival
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A festival to remember the lives of millions of people during 1940s Britain transformed a Fylde coast town into a sea of colour.

On the day hundreds of services were held across the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, the surrender of Japan which brought an end to the Second World War, thousands of people flocked to Lytham for the return of its 1940s festival.

The Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival

The Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival

The weekend event, one of the biggest in the country, featured battle re-enactments, complete with gunfire, bomb blasts and authentic uniforms and equipment.

This year’s theme was Operation Market Garden in Holland – the unsuccessful attempt to shorten the war by defeating Germany from the north.

Geoff Riding, 64, of St Annes Road East, St Annes said the chance to see full scale replicas of Spitfires and other vehicles was too good to miss.

He added: “I’ve been to quite a few of these events and this is certainly one of, if not the best.

John Slane, 93 from Halifax who was in the 13th battalion parachute regiment which landed in Normandy on V Day visits the Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival

John Slane, 93 from Halifax who was in the 13th battalion parachute regiment which landed in Normandy on V Day visits the Lytham Wartime weekend and 1940's festival

“It just seems to draw a huge amount of visitors as well as history buffs.

“Some of the vehicles here are superb to see at close hand. It seems to get bigger and bigger every year.”

Sue Smith, 51, of Great Harwood, near Blackburn, said the event was a spectacular success.

She said: “As soon as we knew the festival was back we had to come down.
“We’ve been several times now and it is just great to see the whole town getting involved. The weather has been wonderful and some of the displays were excellent.”

Last year’s event attracted more than 25,000 people to Lytham, with visitors previously coming from across 
Britain and as far afield as America, France, Canada and India.

The festival also featured an assault course and rifle range; a static display of a genuine troop-carrying Huey helicopter and a genuine military spotter Loach helicopter from the Vietnam war.

A living history encampment gave visitors a taste of civilian life during the war and there was a procession of historic vehicles through Lytham.

Jackie Dennis, 54, of the Northern World War Two Association, visited the Fylde coast from Goole, near Hull.

Her display showed the tents of the 61st Reconnaisance Regiment (50th Division).

She said: “It is one of, if not the biggest we do. This year we have got so much interest. There are tens of thousands of people here. It is definitely growing and people are so interested.

“There is so much variety. People want to learn and want to ask questions.

“It is a good social event too. From March through to October we end up going to 12 to 15 events.”

Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s Tourism and Leisure Committee, said: “People look back on that era as Britain’s finest hour.

“They are incredibly proud of our role and the people who saw us through those hard times.

“This festival is an opportunity for people to see for themselves what life was like. It is very realistic and, in a way, glamorous as many people dress up to look their best in 1940s clothes.

“The whole town takes part, with many shopkeepers dressing their windows with a 1940s theme.

“But the most exciting and eye-catching part is always the battle re-enactments on the Green. They are very realistic and include weapons and vehicles from the Second World War. It is an action-packed weekend.”