Southern At War

Thank you to everyone who attended Southern At War 2024. We hope you enjoyed our commemoration 1940s weekend.


Our event will return again to the railway on 19-20 July 2025. Look out for more details of our 2025 event to come!


**Details below are from the 2024 event**

This highly anticipated event will transport you back in time, this year celebrating and commemorating the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord. You won’t want to miss out on a weekend filled with re-enactors, classic vehicles, displays, stands, and more. Get into the spirit of the occasion by dressing up in your finest period clothing and immersing yourself in the 1940s once again.

Make sure to mark your calendars and be a part of this heartfelt celebration. Stay tuned for more details on the event, which we’ll be sharing soon. Don’t miss the chance to experience history firsthand!


EVENT TIMINGS: 9 AM TO 5 PM BOTH DAYS

Bookings for exhibitions, vehicles and entertainment is now open, please email here to register your interest in taking part in Southern At War 2024.



LIST OF ATTENDEES & ACTIVITIES FOR SOUTHERN AT WAR (More To Be Confirmed)

  • Simply Spitfire– Spitfire on display and cockpit visits. Display of weapons also available? Mk 9- unique hand-built, full-sized Spitfire.
  • Harvey’s Buff’s – WWII Re-enactment group- British soldiers
  • Dickie Lines & Dolly Bag– Impressionists to Music
  • Carnival Ices– Ice Cream Van
  • Sussex Home Guard– The 23rd Sussex Home Guard: WWII arms and tactical drill with selection of deactivated armoury.
  • Blackout Buddies– Re-enactment group in honour of ‘Dads Army’
  • Flypast – Both Saturday & Sunday (TBC)
  • Viv The Spiv!
  • Sparky & Sprite: Music Duo
  • Two musical 1940’s soloists– Stephanie Bell (Sat) and Retro Rosie (Sun)
  • ARP Wimborne
  • Radar Room
  • Ex-Military Land Rover Display
  • Field Hospital
  • Field Kitchen
  • Bomb Disposal Unit
  • Radio Communications Display
  • NAAFI Wagon
  • Afrika Corps– WW2 German Re-enactment- Showcasing History from both sides
  • Axis weapons display
  • German motorcycle and sidecar
  • Wings Museum– Display
  • Avro Lancaster Cockpit Display (TBC)
  • Squadron X– RAF Living History
  • Heroes With Grimy Faces– Wartime Fire Service Group
  • Hands-On History – Gas Mask Making, Period Clothing Dress Up, Weapons (Deactivated) Handling.
  • 43 Reece Group– Re-Enactment Group
  • Pillbox Display
  • Essential 40’s promenade Group– Dance Group
  • Vintage Tea Room
  • Bells Parlour – Vintage Hair Dressing
  • Time For The Signs– Vintage Trader
  • Odd Bods– Vintage Items & Sweets
  • Vintage Pin-Up Studio– Vintage Make-Over Photography Pop-Up
  • Children’s Activities– Assault Course, Sand Pits & Sandbag Filling (At Horsted Keynes)
  • Kent Desert Rats– Living History Display

The Bluebell Railway Museum at Sheffield Park will also be displaying a selection of WWII documents, relating to the railway’s involvement during the Second World War. They will be found on Platform 2 during the weekend event.

A Display Of Vintage Cars & Other Machinery Will Be On Display At Both Horsted Keynes & Sheffield Park During The Weekend. More Details On This Will Be Publicised In Due Course!

 


SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE FLYING DISPLAY AT HORSTED KEYNES (Subject To Availability & Weather Permitting)

With grateful support and thanks to The Spitfire Academy, we can confirm that we will have a flying display by a Supermarine Spitfire at Horsted Keynes on both days of our event.


Each display will be around Horsted Keynes station on both Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd June.

The display will take place each day at 12 noon.


It is very likely that the Spitfire which will be attending from The Spitfire Academy will be RR232 ‘City Of Exeter’– a Mark XI variant of the famous fighter aircraft. Built in 1944 at Castle Bromwich by Vickers Armstrong, the aircraft served with both the RAF and then from 1948, the SAAF in South Africa. The aircraft was struck off after a landing accident and subsequently stored in 1954 before being passed into preservation in the 1970s. The aircraft was then restored over an eight year period to static display, eventually ending up in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra Hill, Australia before its return back to the UK in 1986.

After its return to the UK, it wasn’t until 2012 that this Spitfire returned to the skies once again, after a long and dedicated restoration to flying condition by current owner Martin Phillips. The Spitfire also has the claim to be the last aircraft to be reassembled at Filton Airfield in Bristol (The home of the BAE Concorde) before the airfield was officially closed and redeveloped. Today, RR232 ‘City Of Exeter’ is based with The Spitfire Academy at Goodwood in Sussex.

RR232 ‘City Of Exeter’ is a fitting choice for our event as it represents a variant of the Spitfire that would have taken part in Operation Overlord, which is being commemorated this year for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

Photos kindly supplied by John Dibbs/The Spitfire Academy


Come and watch local dancers aged 7-19 from Turning Pointe School of Dance entertain you with three brand new dance routines inspired by the music of 1940s and WW2 era. They will be performing at 10:30 am at Horsted Keynes on June 1st.

Turning Pointe offers dance classes in Haywards Heath, Lindfield, Plumpton, Barcombe and Lewes for ages 18 months up to adults. Dance styles offered include Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Acro and Musical Theatre. Dance camps also run in school holidays. Email office@turningpointedanceschool.co.uk for more information and to book a trial class.


CUSTOMER INFORMATION

Discounts:

  • Proof of discount eligibility will be required to be shown on the day of travel.
  • Heritage Railway reciprocal discounts are not available for this event.
  • We regret TOC discounts are not applicable to this event

Tickets:

  • Children under 3yrs (and babies) travel for free and don’t need a ticket
  • Tickets are valid for the date specified on the ticket only
  • Advance tickets are valid for 3rd class travel only – first class upgrades are available on the day from the station booking office (subject to availability)
  • For any reasons for changing any Bluebell booking, you will be required to pay a £10.00 surcharge if you wish to change/amend your booking.

Food and drink:

  • Bessemer Arms and platform kiosk at Sheffield Park Station
  • George V Buffet at Horsted Keynes Station 
  • Wellhouse at Kinsgcote Station 
  • Grinsteade Buffet at East Grinstead Station

Facilities:

  • There are toilets at each of our stations.
  • There are toilets on some of our trains – please ask station staff for advice on which trains these are available.
  • Baby changing facilities are available at each of our stations, but not on our trains

Parking:

  • Sheffield Park Station – free parking at the station
  • Horsted Keynes Station – free parking at the station
  • Kingscote – NO parking is available at this station
  • East Grinstead – free blue badge parking (5 spaces). Public parking in East Grinstead

Accessibility:

  • We are pleased to offer a specially adapted area for wheelchair users on some services during this event. Please call our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 for further information.
  • If you or a member of your party have mobility issues and would like to travel during this event, please call our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 who will be happy to discuss your requirements with you
  • Accessible toilets are available at each station, but we regret we have no “Changing Places” toilets, or accessible toilets on our trains

Dogs:

  • We are pleased to welcome dogs to this event (no ticket required) – please keep them on a lead and don’t allow them on the seats

Prams/Pushchairs/Buggies:

  • Prams/pushchairs/buggies are welcome during this event.
  • Foldable/collapsible prams/pushchairs/buggies can be taken into the carriages and stowed by your seat
  • Non folding/collapsible prams/pushchairs/buggies can be left in the care of the station staff at the departure station

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SOUTHERN AT WAR AND OTHER BLUEBELL RAILWAY EVENTS, SIGN UP TO OUR BLUEBELL NEWSLETTER BELOW:

 Artwork & photos kindly supplied by Matthew Cousins, Jon Bowers & James Cummins