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Step back in time with Island at War

A soldier stands guard at Douglas Station during last year's Island at War event

A soldier stands guard at Douglas Station during last year's Island at War event

  • by Jackie Turley
 

The island will be taken back to the Second World War this weekend with the third Isle of Man Railways’ Island at War event.

Experience the Home Guard’s military outpost at Douglas Station, the scout camp and field hospital at Castletown, and life on the Home Front at Port Erin.

Passengers on trains to Port Erin will also see a Spitfire crash site.

Jurby Transport Museum is providing vehicles for display and the Manx Aviation and Military Museum is providing a Bofor gun.

This year for the first time, a special Steaming to Victory train carrying veterans will travel from Douglas to Castletown. Arranged in partnership with the Royal British Legion, the veterans will be welcomed at each station by brass bands, and enjoy a tea party at Morton Hall.

For the weekend, Douglas railway station will be transformed into a military outpost complete with air raid shelter, and drills and demonstrations from the Isle of Man Home Guard Reenactment Society.

A Chinese whispers competition will be running between Douglas, Castletown and Port Erin stations to pass on top secret war messages.

Meanwhile, a fully operational travelling post office will run between Douglas and Port Erin, with facilities for posting letters to receive the special railway postmarks.

Southern Scout troops will be at Castletown station with a weekend wartime camp with camping skills, activities and cooking demonstrations.

They will also set up a wartime hospital with medics – ready to receive the ‘casualties’ brought in by train.

Port Erin will be transformed into the Home Front.

Ration books will be available for shops, and shopkeepers will be looking the part in wartime outfits.

The Air Training Corps will be on parade at the station, while the Women’s Institute will be on hand with home made produce and goods.

There will also be the chance to find out more about internees in the island thanks to Rushen Players as well as weapons and vintage cars.

Meanwhile, bring the spirit of wartime alive with An Evening at War Dance on Saturday. Guests will travel by train from Douglas to a top secret location for food and an evening of entertainment and dancing with the D-Day Darlings, a trio who celebrate the music of WWII.

The train will leave Douglas at 7pm and return by 11.45pm. Buy tickets (£39) by calling the ticket hotline, 697457.

The D-Day Darlings will also be performing at Douglas station at 11am on Saturday, and at the same time on Sunday at Port Erin station.

The following day, discover what life was like for Manx people during the Great War with a theatrical tour of Cregneash.

The tour will bring to life stories of blacksmiths, agricultural workers, fishermen among others. And a recruiting parade will march through the village, much as it would have done in 1914. Tours (£6 adults, £3 children) take place at 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4.30pm.

Book in advance from the Manx Museum gallery shop and online at www.manxnationalheritage.im or on the day from Cregneash.

For more details go to www.isleofmanbusandrail.info

 

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