3rd Jan 2017
Hundreds of reenactors, volunteers and visitors thronged to the Watercress Line to recreate Christmas for the troops 1940s-style.
Boxing Day and the Tuesday Bank Holiday saw Christmas continue in style at the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line, as families flocked to the increasingly popular 'Christmas Leave' 1940's re-creation all along the line. Started more than 10 years ago as a 'thank you' to the reenactors who make the Watercress Line's annual summer 'War on the Line' such a great event, 'Christmas Leave' has attracted families and other visitors who come to soak up the atmosphere.
There were representatives from the Royal Navy in their roll-neck sweaters, greatcoats and boots, soldiers in their vintage khakis, GIs and US Airmen, plus 'Field Marshal Montgomery' and even the 'PM Sir Winston Churchill' put in an appearance, raising morale, chatting with the families and evacuees with their gas-masks, name tags and suitcases. Everyone entered into the spirit of the event, including a 'spiv' with his suitcase full of contraband outside Alresford Station and a group of swinging dancers on the platform.
Visitors came in their hundreds, including a coach party from Bognor Regis who were enjoying proper Hampshire hospitality, plus people from all across the South. Reenactors came from even further afield with a group of soldiers travelling down from Yorkshire and even an ARP Warden, never off duty even when out with his children, who were also dressed in clothes from the time.