TANKS rumbled into action as a parade of military vehicles rolled through Dorset over the weekend.

Around 70 vehicles, from giant tanks to motorcycles, took part in the first ever Armour and Embarkation re-enactment event to commemorate the 68th anniversary of D-Day.

After an education day with local schools on Friday, the procession set off from the Maiden Newton at War event on Saturday morning and crowds lined High East and High West Street in Dorchester as the cavalcade thundered in at around 2pm.

The aim was to recreate the experience of 68 years ago when military vehicles involved in the D-Day operation passed through the county town.

The procession stopped in town to give people a chance of a close look and learn more about the vehicles.

Event organiser Jack Beckett said he was delighted with it had gone and was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who had turned out.

He said: “It’s gone fantastically well.

“We didn’t expect to see so many people, we were absolutely blown away by it.”

Mr Beckett said he was pleased that all the efforts of organising the day had been rewarded and had offered an experience that many families and people of all ages were able to enjoy.

He said: “It’s more of a festival really, it’s that sort of ambience.”

Re-enactors came from as far as America, Germany and Holland to take part in the event, as well as from all over England to take part in the Dorset Echo-backed event.

Jim Clark, from Rockhampton near Bristol, took pride of place in a Sherman tank that led the parade.

He said: “It was quite a surprise to see the amount of people out on the streets, that was really nice and the weather’s been good as well.”

Plenty of people took the opportunity to check out the vehicles when they pulled up in Dorchester town centre.

Mr Beckett said: “The whole idea is to make it possible for people to get down and see the vehicles and talk to the owners to find out more about their local history.”

The re-enactors laid a wreath at Dorchester’s cenotaph before rejoining the convoy for a final parade around the town and returning to Maiden Newton.

On Sunday, 25 selected vehicles travelled down to Weymouth to take part in the Veterans’ Day Parade.