CLOUDS failed to dampen the spirits of the thousands who formed the crowd at Barry Island to look up to the sky last weekend.

Residents and visitors gathered at Barry Island, Barry Waterfront, Marine Drive and town vantage points to marvel at the RAF Red Arrows display team as the pilots paid the town a flying visit on Saturday while Sunday saw a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota.

Wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill put in a VIP visit to inspect the beach while a wartime police officer assumed peace-time 2014 duties and helped control traffic slowly leaving the event.

The event, organised by the Barry Tourist Railway and history group Barry at War, featured displays showing the last 100 years of the area’s wartime history.

Vintage cars and modern motorbikes parked up for the crowds to enjoy, along with a unique steam train.

Event co-organiser, Ade Pitman, of Barry at War said: “The Barry Wartime Weekend event traditionally aims to extend the tourist season through Heritage Tourism, which after such a poor bank holiday proved a real boost to the local economy.

“Taking place at the Barry Island Railway Station, and the Hood Road Field at Barry Waterfront, the free community event seeks to educate visitors about their wartime heritage of the region.

“To commemorate the centenary of the Great War, this year`s event featured a large encampment, complete with cavalry unit. There was also a ‘walking wounded’ soldier, escorted by a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse, who explained that her patient was just one of over 700 wounded soldiers being cared for in one of the five Red Cross hospitals located in Barry during 1917.”

A Second World War American encampment, populated with the famous Jeep reminded visitors that 70 years ago the Hood Road site was part of a massive American base, which was located there to service the docks.

Members of the Army Reserve, accompanied by an Army Field Kitchen, which provided ‘compo’ meals for the living historians and Cadets throughout the event brought the military display up to the present day.

The Glamorgan Classic Car Club displayed many vintage cars, while a Great War era steam train ran a shuttle between the two sites.

Ade added that he believed the popularity of the event demonstrated the need for a larger museum in the town.

He said: “I very much hope that this year’s Barry Wartime Weekend has showcased what can be achieved, and has firmly placed Barry on the heritage tourism circuit.”

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