Tommies and airmen were out in force on Portland over the weekend, with a host of events bringing the history of the Second World War to life.

Castletown at War was organised by the Castletown D-Day Centre along with English Heritage, aiming to celebrate Portland's momentous role in the Normandy landings of June 1944, including the establishment of a US field hospital on the island.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, period weaponry and vehicles were on display to visitors, many of whom had come dressed up in 1940s garb, both military and civilian.

Geoff Cook and Darren Woolvin had travelled from South Wales for the event; Mr Cook was dressed as a member of the Port Battalion, while Mr Woolvin was in the uniform of the Dorset Special Constabulary.

The pair, regulars on the Second World War reenactment circuit, said the war for them represented a time 'when everyone pulled together'.

"You knew who your friends were, and who your enemies were," said Mr Cook.

Roland Groom, a resident of Bovington Camp, concurred, saying he was 'fascinated' by the history of the war. "It's a way of living history again," he noted.

"It's really important to support events like this, and it's great to see such a good turn-out," he said. "After all, what does Dorset have apart from tourism?"

Phil Smith had come from Poole, along with his dog and squadron mascot Rocky. He was wearing the uniform of a US Air Force squadron, he explained, because the unit had ahead of D-Day been based in Winkton in Christchurch, close to where he had once lived.

"I'm very into researching military history and participating in reenactments," said Mr Smith, adding that he joined Second World War event at least twice a month.

Mr Smith noted that such events increased in importance as time went on. "We must never forget," he said. "And the veterans are getting fewer and fewer.

"We need to keep the memory alive for our children."

Taffy and Cissie Salter, from Newport in South Wales, and Sue and Tony Horton, from Devizes in Wiltshire, had come as a cast of wartime characters: the two women were blitz victims, complete with scars and salvaged possessions including a bird in cage, while Mr Salter was an ARP warden and Mr Horton a Home Guard captain.

"History has to be kept alive," said Mrs Horton, her husband adding: "Veterans often say to us, don't let us be forgotten.

"It's our responsibility not to let any more wars continue."