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History surrounds us.

I haven’t lifted a paint brush or done any modelling for nearly a fortnight now. It’s been one of those fallow periods that you go through from time to time. There are other things happening in life that draw you away from your hobby. We are having a new kitchen installed that has caused a bit of chaos and, of course, my hobby den, AKA the garage has been used as a dumping ground for the new units coming in and then the old ones going out. This means that I couldn’t get to my workbench if I wanted to. There was some good news though. I have had a new light installed in the Garage as well as a couple of new power sockets, so when I do get access ( next week…) the facilities will be much improved.

I also had to return to my home town in Torquay to conclude some family business. Sadly, my father passed away back in March after a long illness, and I have been travelling back & forwards to Torquay from Nottingham for the last few months. My Dad was a big influence on my hobby. Of course if it wasn’t for him I would probably never have got involved with building models. Dad was an enthusiastic model airplane and model boat builder and was more concerned with building a working model rather than the ultimate replica. He taught me the practical skills that I needed to build models, how to use the various glues, filler & materials and of course how to use the tools & techniques to produce a good model.

The Slipways at Torquay

The Slipways at Torquay

His other passion was for fishing – sea fishing of course, being in Torquay. The great advantage of sea fishing over coarse fishing ( apart from the fact that you usually eat what you catch when sea fishing!), is that you don’t have to be quiet and so you can have a conversation whilst you are watching your float. During our fishing trips to Torquay harbour, my Brother & I  would be asking Dad about the various buildings and structures and it was surprising how many of the unusual buildings around the harbour were actually defensive structures from the Second World war, now modified for everyday use. This inevitably led to stories from the second world war. Dad was only a young boy during the war but he witnessed the Terror raids on Torquay, ( My Mum was bombed out of her house in Babbacombe and my Aunty was nearly killed when a Fockewolf crashed where she was taking shelter – stories to be told in later entries in my Blog) and of course the build up to D Day. The Americans were billeted at the bottom of Dads Road in Upton Park.

It was from these stories that my love of history grew, and if you put an interest in history together with a passion for modelling, a wargamer and military modeler is sure to emerge! The strange thing is that whilst at school, although we learnt the dates of the big battles and wars, when kings came & went and the political background behind the conflicts, we were never taught what happened in our own town. Recently,  the town has recorded that the two slipways that I fished from as a child were built as loading ramps for the LCTs that went off to Normandy on D-Day. Now I reckon that kids today would be just as interested to hear these stories now as I was then. So check out your local history, if you don’t already know, there will be lots of history stories all around you. If nothing else, they will no doubt inspire you fro your next modelling project!  Here’s a few pictures of the plaque erected in memory of the D-Day ramps in Torquay.


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