During our recent visit to North Yorkshire a couple of friends invited us to join them on a visit to Eden Camp which was just a few minutes away from where we were staying at Ashfield Caravan Park in Kirby Misperton.
At first neither us was very keen. My other half was a Regular in the Armed Forces, not in the 2nd World War I hasten to add. He’s not quite that old! But having see action around the world he belongs to the camp who has no desire to reminisce. For my part having visited the famous battlegrounds, landing sites and war cemeteries in Normandy I had no wish to revisit the feeling the sadness that these visits evoked.
Notwithstanding our reservations, we somewhat reluctantly set off and arrived at Eden Camp Gate House to be greeted by a very cheerful guy who greeted us with “That’ll be four pensioners I suppose”. Nice guy! I thought I was looking rather fetching.
We parked the car and set off following a set of arrows directing us in and out of numerous barrack like huts containing themed displays which to my surprise included other periods of conflict besides the 2nd World War. Between the huts there are numerous outside exhibits such as tanks, fighter planes, guns and a fire engine.
There are some fairly realistic mock-ups of The Blitz, Concentration Camp escape tunnels, an Air Force Op’s room, Hitler’s Bunker, and family life during the war to mention just a few. There were a few children around and they seemed to find these areas with their sound effects, smoke and smells great fun. However, as you would expect there is a far more serious side to the exhibits which naturally was lost on most of them.
About halfway around we found the canteen complete with music by the Forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn amongst others. With décor in line with the forties we were disappointed that prices didn’t match. Well you can live in hope! A quick snack and a look at the wonderful display of Decorations and Medals displayed in the next room and off we went again in and out of the barracks.
Some of the displays gave detailed accounts of famous battles, others of famous Heroes. There is a wonderful little Chapel of Remembrance and many superb though provoking works of art.
It was the art which impressed me the most and set me thinking of all the individuals who has produced it and what their personal experienced had been. One of the huts contained a display of black and white photographs illustrating some harrowing scenes depicting the Holocaust and Concentration Camps.
While there is a distinct “Dad’s Army” feel to Eden Camp it is without a doubt a wonderful and educational tribute to our Armed Forces and our Allies and their efforts to maintain a Free World.
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