Yanks return to Saddleworth for 1940s weekend extravaganza

pictures by Jacob King

SADDLEWORTH TURNED back the clocks once more for the popular annual 1940s ‘Yanks are back in Saddleworth’ extravaganza.

Soldiers, vintage ladies and even a handful of Germans lined the streets for the two-day event which celebrates the local filming of Hollywood movie ‘YANKS’ in 1979.

Now in its 16th year, the main event at Saddleworth School, presented by WW2Events.co.uk, included a military vehicle encampment, militaria and vintage stalls.

There was also a 1940’s Tea room and Café, musical entertainment by ‘Homefront Entertainments’ and free dance lessons from the Backstep Boogie Club.

At Uppermill Civic Hall visitors danced the day away at a Tea Dance, enjoyed the Wartime Cinema or saw out the evening at the Victory Swing Ball.

A spectacular flyover saw a Lancaster Bomb accompanied by a Spitfire and Hurricane circle over Saddleworth’s hills to wow the watching crowds.

Then on Sunday, Normandy Veterans were the guests of honour with the Mayor of Oldham at Betty’s Chippy, where owner Les Leech served up coffee and cakes.

There was entertainment by ukulele players from the George Formby Society, a minute’s silence to remember the fallen, and a rousing speech by ‘Mr Churchill’.

Normandy veterans and special guests enjoyed coffee and cake at Betty’s Chippy, served by owner Les Leech (right)

And a touching poem called ‘Until Much Later’ was recited by Frank Tolley, was served in the 65 Squadron of the RAF during World War 2 and now lives in Sale, Cheshire.

Frank penned the poem in response to his grandson Nick’s question for him ‘what was it like to kill people?’ for a World War 2 project at school.

Then, led by Oldham Scottish Pipe Band and military veterans with ‘Mr Churchill’, the parade processed Uppermill through Saddleworth villages.

Meanwhile, at The Swan, Dobcross, visitors enjoyed wartime newspapers, vintage entertainment and a specially-written show ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’.

Proceeds from the weekend’s event will go to this year’s chosen charities: The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and Help 4 Homeless Veterans.

Saddleworth Round Table organised the ninth classic car display, in association with American Auto Club North West. 85 cars of all sizes and colours were on display, and Round Table will donated all proceeds this year to St john’s Ambulance.

Dave Wood (Round Table chairman) and Paul Lowcock and Andy Rothwell (committee members) with Carol Calvert and Lucy Howarth from St John’s Ambulance and Bert Kendall and Hugh Lewis from American Auto Club NW




3 Replies to “Yanks return to Saddleworth for 1940s weekend extravaganza”

  1. Yanks weekend has always been a wonderful celebration in Saddleworth. Unfortunately this year it would appear that a couple of the pubs decided that forties music was not what people wanted to hear and played music that was nothing to do with the war! There are plenty of other times and weekends for Elvis etc. but Yanks is particulary for the forties, so maybe they need to realise that. I also understand that suddenly music and dance that in previous years has been free has now elevated to a “pay only” situation with bouncers on the door! Such a shame when people come to the event who have no interest whatsoever in the forties and just want to drink and make a lot of mess. Hope its better next year.

  2. This weekend was generated through the love of a film so it’s not a forties weekend just a tribute to the film that was set in the forties same as gi blues it’s certainly not a purest thing but good fun and that’s all
    By the way well done to the organisers

  3. Is it the love of the film? Just because it was filmed in the area doesn’t make it loved. How many have seen the film? It wasn’t exactly an epic. And when was GI blues in the forties?
    I have been to Yanks For many years and made a lot of effort to dress up and have thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. This year the event was high jacked by greedy people making a lot of money at the expense of genuine event lovers who go to great expense to either buy or hire costumes to look the part. Also the people who go to great expense to bring their vehicles.
    Let us hope that next year we can return to the format of what the Yanks weekend was meant to be. Maybe the committee and local traders could work together to have yet another successful weekend with the common denominator being the forties

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