Military Vehicles to Feature At World War II event

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By Paramount PR | Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 21:30

A PRIVATE collection of military vehicles, the largest of its kind in Somerset, will take pride of place at a World War II event at Tyntesfield.

The Shopland Collection, owned by father and son duo, David and James Shopland, will displayed at an annual World War II weekend on June 9 and 10, alongside the Invicta Military Vehicle Preservation Society (IMPS) and costumed re-enactors.

This collection, which features old military vehicles from the two World Wars and the Cold War and were used at Clevedon Sawmills, is not normally open to the public.

However, the fleet boasting Bedfords, Chevrolets, Crossleys, AECs, Austins, Jeeps and Champs, will be available for inspection at the family event.

James has been restoring the vehicles for the past 25-years and his hobby has seen him and his father produce one of the finest collections in the region.

Some of the vehicles receive regular film appearances including The Landing Craft, which featured in Blockbuster Saving Private Ryan and other recent TV showings include Upstairs Downstairs and Julius Caesar directed by Gregory Doran.

James, 34, says he never envisaged that after restoring a pile of scrap that was once a 1943 Willys Jeep, given as a 15th birthday present, he and his Father would go on to produce this rare collection. 

He said: "When you say 25 years restoring old vehicles it sounds an awful long time and that I am very old but in truth, I got the bug very young.

"In many ways it is a bug; it came uninvited into my life and it is very hard to shake off! My passion was kindled at a very young age when the family Sawmills was littered with wrecks of aged vehicles and machinery; a pure paradise for a bored adolescent.

"In mid 1980s the Clevedon Sawmills was restructured and a number of the sleeping giants were woken in clouds of black smoke and gathered into one corner.

"Together with the spectacle, the revelation that the vehicles could be brought to life, sparked my imagination and started me on a journey that has taken me all over the World and introduced me to countless numbers of people from all cultures and walks of life.

"I have sat in the humblest of abodes in the Australian outback to the grandest of mansions on the Califorian Coast; all linked by one common interest, the restoration of military vehicles."

As well as the military fun day, this year there will also be music and dancing on the Saturday evening, where visitors can dress up for the occasion.

James added: "We are delighted to be taking part in this annual event at Tyntesfield.

"We will turn the clock back 70-years to 1940, when the nation's very existence was in danger. This year the focus is on the women who kept the home fires burning whilst the men were at the front.

"Alongside the vehicles, displays and exhibits, we have also introduced a dinner and dance on the Saturday night, billed as the Tyntesfield Affair, where the dress code is Allied forces or war time civilians. "

For further information on the fleet or its events visit http://www.shoplandcollection.com or to book tickets visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield/

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