MORE THAN 30,000 visitors are expected to flock to Weymouth when it transforms itself back into a Second World War town.
‘Weymouth at War’ will take place this weekend, beginning on Saturday, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
The event is being staged alongside the annual Veterans Day parade, which attracts thousands of visitors.
Festival highlights will include the Service of Remembrance, a Seafront Parade lead by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Plymouth, Beach Assault and bridge-building demonstration, historic military vehicle convoy from Weymouth Esplanade to Castletown on Portland, a Spitfire fly-past and afternoon band performances.
Portland is also getting in wartime mode with a two-day event at Portland Castle.
It will explore the castle’s role in the war and give a taste of what life was like for the people working in the castle in the 1940s.
Characters from the Home Guard and Land Army will really bring the castle to life as they set up camp in the grounds and answer your questions. The Castle will also host a special display of photos and letters from a Fleet Naval Clerk who was actually based at Portland during the war Organiser Dave Allan said: “We are basically trying to raise money to put things on.
“We don’t commemorate much of our history in Weymouth.
“It’s all down to businesses using the history of this town to make money.”
The weekend will see the 29th Infantry Division set up on the land adjacent to the Nothe Fort, while elements of the 82nd Airborne will be camped there as well.
On the same day entertainers paying tribute to the 1940s will be performing in Hope Square.
Meanwhile, buildings in Weymouth will also take a trip back in time.
The underground crypt of the Holy Trinity Church will return to its use as a US Army field hospital, while Pilgrim House will become a Home Guard tea room.
Those who have wristbands will have free access to events including the Militaria Fair at the Pavilion, the Militaria Auction at Brewers Quay, and the Weymouth D-Day Museum.
A number of shops, pubs and clubs will also be offering a minimum 10 per cent discount to anyone wearing a wristband.
A 1940s themed dance will take place at the Pavilion on Saturday evening, with tickets costing £15 each.
The dance will include a performance from The Decadettes with period dress preferred for those attending.
Residents are invited to a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate Armed Forces Day.
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council will be holding an official flag-raising ceremony as part of the national Armed Forces Day ‘Fly a Flag for our Armed Forces’ at the North Quay Council Offices on Monday, June 23 at 10.30am.
Weymouth & Portland Mayor Cllr Kate Wheller will lead the ceremony, joined by Armed Forces Organisation Standards, Military Vehicle Trust and council staff.
Timetable of events
Saturday, June 21:
- From 8.30am: Military Fair in Pavilion Ocean Room.
- From 10am: Historic Military Vehicles Display and Convoy.
- Nothe Fort Gardens: re-enactment displays WWII Street set up with shops.
- Best WWII Period Costume Competition – Highclere House Cross Road.
- 12pm: Beach Assault
- 4.30pm: Spitfire Fly-past.
Sunday, June 22:
- 11am: Open Air Church Service at the cenotaph.
- Veterans Parade along Seafront.
- Vehicle Convoy & Display.
- Band performances.