Remembering Iconic Wartime Vehicles for the Henley Poppy Appeal

Last Saturday members of the Berks and Oxon Military Vehicle Trust brought their iconic wartime vehicles to Henley Market Place in support of the Henley-on-Thames Community Poppy Appeal.

Despite the cold and damp weather residents and visitors came to see the fascinating collection and learn about them from their enthusiastic owners. While there, they picked up their Royal British Legion Remembrance Poppies and made donations to support our Armed Forces community in need. The visitors included Barnaby, the intrepid School Bear, brought by Theodore, keen to have an adventure to report back to the class.

Martin Sheldrak, the Secretary of the Trust said: “Many thanks to the residents of Henley who very kindly donated to the Henley Poppy Appeal when visiting our military vehicle display. All of the vehicles on display served in WW2 which makes them over 80 years old. Also in our group are a number of other vehicles that have served in the Armed Forces including conflicts such as the Falklands, the Gulf, Bosnia and Kosovo.”

“All these vehicles are privately owned and maintained not only for historical reasons but to remember all the military personnel past and present that have used such vehicles, and their stories.”

“Thanks to all the members who brought their vehicles and supported The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. We Will Remember!”

Sig Josh Thatcher of the Royal Signals who came in his 1942 Ford GPWG jeep, added, “I support the Royal British Legion because of my strong ties with the military and my interest in military history. My Great Grandfather was the personal driver to General Horrocks in North Africa in WW2. My grandfather on my Mum’s side served in the army during WW2 in Europe and was one of the first British soldiers to liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. My Grandfather on my Dad’s side was in the Navy during WW2. He was the driver of one of the landing craft taking allied troops onto Sword beach on D-Day. And sadly, I lost a cousin in Afghanistan serving with the Rifles. RBL gave my Aunt loads of help when she was injured in Bosnia serving with the Royal Corps of Transport.”

“I started volunteering with the RBL 23 years ago with my dad and his WW2 Jeep when I was at secondary school. We have done many fundraising events in the local community including at my school, Gillotts. Now, I also have a WW2 jeep which is used to raise money for this fabulous charity.”

Richard Pinches, a Desert Rats historian from Henley, who was also collecting donations for the Poppy Appeal at the event said:

“Poppy collecting gives me the chance to not only help a really good charity but also as I dress up as a desert rat like my father, it gives me the opportunity to engage with the public who recognise the uniform and have some stories of theirs to share with me. I’ve only just come back from a battlefield tour of El Alamein in Egypt celebrating the 80th anniversary of the famous battle that turned the tide of the Second World War in the allied favour. The sand that I have on my army boots I wear as a Poppy Collector is from that famous battlefield when I was there just a few days ago. To me, this is a perfect circle of old meeting new when I’m chatting with children today. Lest we forget.”

Groups such as Berks and Oxon Military Vehicle Trust, as well as individuals, enjoy organising events and activities to raise funds for the Royal British Legion’s charitable aims. The funds they raise support the welfare needs of our Armed Forces community who sacrifice a lot to keep us safe and in peace.

If you have an idea for an event or activity to fundraise, your local Royal British Legion-appointed Fundraiser in Henley, Sara Abey, will be very happy to talk to you. You can get in touch with her by emailing at henley@saraabey.com