Costumes and conflict: Cannock Chase Military History Weekend - in pictures

By Tom Oakley | Cannock Chase | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

From the heroes of the Great War to English Civil War soldiers – the tales of military life from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day were told at a special event this weekend.

Cannock Chase Military History Weekend took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Cannock Chase Visitors Centre at Marquis Drive.

The free event is organised each year by Staffordshire County Council's Rangers Service.

Among the dedicated enthusiasts in attendance were a group representing Tommies from the 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which is known as the Birmingham Pals.

Robert Palfrey, aged 31, from the group, said: "The Birmingham Pals trained in 1914 and went over to France in 1915 – their first battle was at the Somme, which unfortunately was rather disastrous for them.

"We take part in a lot of events similar to this, with it being the final year of centenary we've been busy for almost nine weeks on the trot.

"There's a lot of like-minded people at these events. You meet people who do the same thing but from different eras – we learn from each other about different different parts of history.

"It's quite intensive with heavy equipment and uncomfortable clothing – especially with the heatwave we've had. But these are same conditions the soldiers endured so we endure them too."

Rob Elliott, of Hednesford, was re-enacting the role of a redcoat of Colonel Pulteney's 13th Regiment of Foot and specialising in the dates 1742 to 1748.


The 33-year-old is part of the Lacewars group – made up of a number of regiments depicting both military and civilian life during the 18th Century.

The soldiers aim to recreate as authentically as possible a unit of soldiers, and their dependants, in King George II's service.

Mr Elliott said: "We would have been battling the French.

"Our group is made up of people from all over Europe but we try to go to events in the Midlands.


"The event has been really good this weekend.

"It's interesting to play with the other groups, on the Saturday night we teamed up with the American First World War soldiers and they fired our guns and we fired theirs, which was great fun."

Visitors got the chance to see inside the Great War Hut used by soldiers who trained on Cannock Chase.

Children also got the chance to try on military uniforms, have a go at archery and take part in a kids pike drill.

Andy Bembridge, 66, from Stourbridge, was joined by Raymond Bagley, 69, from Kingstanding and were both portraying American Second World War soldiers.

The duo both own original and iconic Willys Jeeps, which were used by the US Army during the war.

Mr Bembridge added: "These events are important as they keep youngsters in touch with history and the fact that they can actually feel and touch things.

"All of the stuff we bring is authentic so it's got some history to it.

"When you go to a museum you can only look but the fact they can come here and hold something that's 70 years old is important.

"There's a lot of history around here – there was an airbase round here. You get to talk to people from all different backgrounds."

The Staffordshire Corps of Drums group aims to keep traditional corps of drums music alive and turned up not only for a demonstration but to appeal for new members to sign up.

Those that are interested about joining the group can call David Keates on 01902 850536.

The Military History Weekend on Cannock Chase is now in its eight year and it is hoped the event will return to Marquis Drive again in 2019.

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email or call 01902 319482.


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