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WWI Centenary: Vintage vehicles record bid for anniversary

Bob Wales from Roberttown. Travelling to Normandy later in the year as part of a 200+ strong World War One (WWI) vehicle convey to mark the wars anniversary.
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Bob Wales from Roberttown. Travelling to Normandy later in the year as part of a 200+ strong World War One (WWI) vehicle convey to mark the wars anniversary. d308a421

An attempt is to be made next week to set a world record for the largest convoy of military vehicles to travel across Normandy.

Hundreds of world war enthusiasts are set to gather in France to mark the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings.

Organised by the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT), the event is expected to see around 200 wartime vehicles drive across Normandy to honour fallen soldiers.

The previous record acknowledged by the Guinness World Records was set in 2009 and involved 144 vehicles.

Bob Wales, of Meadow Drive, Roberttown, took part then and is confident the record can be broken.

“Last time we had 144 people riding across Normandy and it was a sight to see,” he said.

“The MVT always put on a great event and every type of military vehicle you can think of is there.

“People came from all over Europe and even one from Australia. We set the record last time and it would be great to do it again.”

Mr Wales will visit several significant war sites, and will head to Arronmore for the D-Day anniversary.

He said: “We will be travelling all the way down the Normandy coast to see some incredible places.

“It is very emotional going over there. You get to see all the older boys and there is fewer of them every year. It should not be forgotten what they did.”

Motorcycle enthusiast Mr Wales has always had a passion for restoring vintage military vehicles since his early teens.

On his trip, he will be taking a 1941 BSA M20 motorcycle – one of the longest serving motorcycles in the history of British military – and a 1941 Ariel 350 motorbike.

Mr Wales said: “My passion is motorbikes and military things. They have all got character. They do not make things like this anymore.”

He will also be wearing the uniform of a despatch rider, which was deemed a very dangerous job during the war.

“When they landed they sent letters between certain points and a despatch rider would have to take them,” he said.

“They played such an important role. They took urgent messages which were often secret and had to travel between enemy lines. They could often be blown up by a mine, shot by gunfire, or captured by the enemy.”

 

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