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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 15:19 pm
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
I have reproduced this topic elsewhere, I believe it is of interest to all reenactors,
and as such goes beyond all inter-unit borders. If the LHA wish to copy this for their own use, they may do so.



This series will include photos, newsletter snipets and information covering the early pioneering years in our hobby.

Battle of Molash 1st-2nd July 1978

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The original event programme, I have left the image in large so you can read it all.

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This pic was taken with an original Kodak box camera, it shows the American advance onto our positions.

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This 70s haircut is sported by the late Dave Bennett.

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We were very Farby for our first events... the first ever reenactment photo of Bill Medland :D

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German ambush team waiting for an American tank.... foreground, Ron Suthers.

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Last edited by Bill Medland on Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:03 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
Battle of Molash 1st-2nd July 1978 part 2

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Badger Ross getting the "Kraut Crusher" ready for the battle.

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The American advance to our positions, the battle went on all day, just look at the distance they had to cover!

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The battle reaches its end, the last two standing protecting the flag.

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Very young John Lancaster (later SBG) and Bill Medland.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:04 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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Battle of Molash 1978 Part 3

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This poster was so huge that I had to scan it in quarters. if anyone is serious about producing a copy, then I will
be willing to pass on my huge quarter scan images in an e-mail. The poster is the very one that was in the background
during the interview with Mike Ross in the film "Its all a game". It hung for several weeks in BRA HQ and as such is a real
iconic object in reenactment history.


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This A5 flyer was printed in thousands and handed out throughout the home counties...how many survive today?


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This A4 size poster was handed out with recruitment papers from about May 1978 until the battle.
(I have kept it as a thumbnail, so you can read all of the details).


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"Last Chance Dance" The evening before the main battle, I had ticket number 3.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:05 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
Battle of Molash part 4 - The "Last Chance Dance" 8pm 1st July 1978

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My first reenactment uniform...early days.

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A great time was had, new friends were made :D

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It was standard in the early days that you could wear whatever you wished at the social evenings, regardless as to
what uniform, awards or rank you decided on, nothing was banned or considered tasteless in those days.
(left is Ron Suthers, the other ones name, is sadly gone from my memory).

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In the middle is poor old Chippy from the north.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:06 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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Battle of Molash 1978 - Media

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Issue of "Titbits" from July 1978 (pages 20 and 21) Below are sections of the article enlarged.

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The media at this time were always friendly.... both us and the press were very innocent in those days.

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Read the caption in the picture.... no health and safety back in those days.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:07 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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Battle of Molash 1978 - Media


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A chat and something to eat after the battle.

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This picture got me into big trouble. I was serving in H.M. Forces during this time, I was ordered not to take part due to
the fact that I wanted to wear a Wehrmacht uniform ( My W.O. was close to retirement and had served in WW2).
I went ahead and he found out because he read this article... I am the second person (BGS camo uniform).

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John Lancaster with his ice cream, jokes went on for years about that, but it helped our image with the press.

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Our first major public event, it could have made or broke the hobby in the UK..... we were very successful... or lucky. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:08 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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Recruitment in the early years


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Today I want to look at recruitment as it was in the early years, this was a time before the internet, so it was mostly
newspapers and magazine adds, such as the military section of Exchange and Mart for example.
In my case, I read an article in a newspaper, which interviewed Mike Ross and behind him was a BRA poster. With the aid
of a magnifying glass I was able to pick out the address on the poster and I wrote off to it.


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The 1977 recruitment flyer.

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The 1978 recruitment flyer

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The 1980 recruitment flyer (different to the 2nd one because the address on the front is different and the Wehrmacht
unit is no longer the "Sturmgruppe Adler"... but is now called 352nd and the 116th has been formed).

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:11 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
Recruitment in the early years

It will have been forgotten long ago, but when the B.R.A. was first formed, the late Mike Ross also prepared a training
manual...called the Field Actors Reenactment Training Manual.... or F.A.R.T. Manual :D

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A 1980s membership card

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The reverse of the membership card

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The BRA "Veterans" Badge.

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A recruitment application from 1988, this was printed in the newsletter, it was everyones duty to find one new recruit,
once they had joined themselves, this caused a recruitment "snowball" effect.


Tomorrow I will be looking at the 1978-79 training programme for German troops..... cheers, Bill.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:11 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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Thruxton public show 6th June 1977

( I can not rmember from who I recieved this, if it was you, then thanks)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 15:19 pm
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
1978 part 1

The hobby established itself very fast in the UK, within a year public shows were the norm. Although there were about
five private events to every one public event. The German unit was known as "Sturmgruppe Adler" for the first year or so.
We would mark our kit with our membership number, I still have a gasmask tin with "32" marked on it. We were proud to
call ourselves "Adler Men"... later we became the 352nd Infantery Division, 916th Regiment.

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We started obtaining grey GPO trousers, the first Swedish tunics were arriving, but in small numbers as yet.


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Some of the songs we were asked to learn at training days, were not political correct by todays standards.


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For a brief period of about six weeks, we were known as the "Grossdeutschland", but for various reasons this was dropped,
it only appeared in one issue of the newsletter during early 1978.

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Programme for Thruxton training day, issued 21st May 1978.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:13 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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1978 part 2


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A leaflet handed out for a training day for BRA South.

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From an early newsletter.

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This image and the next one are both from a newspaper.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:14 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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1978 part 3

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Another newspaper picture.

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A 1978 photo which was reprinted in a later newsletter.

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The article in "After the Battle" which did a lot to push the hobby forward and get us noticed by the public.

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The membership list of those in Sturmgruppe Adler, May 1978.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:14 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
1978 part 4

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Martin Medland still wearing the BGS camo jacket.

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Bill Medland with the German police dark green tunic, soon replaced by the Swedish tunic. The Anti-Partisan badge
was awarded to "Otto" and "Willi" for service in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.

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No photo shop back then, it was all done by laying photos on top of each other and then taking another photo.

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early Fallschirmjäger reenactors, partly with original kit, the rest, we made ourselves.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:16 pm 
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Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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1978 part 5

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Wolfie Dickinson.... now lives in Paris.

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One of the very early newsletter bulletins.


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WW2 haircuts were just being considered, I do not think anyone had long hair after 1980.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:17 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
Group: Reichsbahn
Take a look at the group list I posted, that was the entire list of German reenactors for the whole of Great Britain!
The Allied grouping was about the same size as the Germans, my membership number was 32, that means I was in
the first 15 Germans. Did we think it would get bigger? Yes, we knew there was a lot of interested people out there,
our problem was that we did not know how to reach them. There must have been many who never joined the hobby
because they simply never read our adds or never discovered the public shows......the days before the internet.

The hobby nearly folded several times in the early days, I will give three examples:

1. FIRE AND THEFT

We had just arrived at an event and a farmer let us use his barn to sleep in. We were told to drop of our kit in the
barn, in the straw lay six tornisters loaded with original WW2 kit items. (In the early days there was no real check on
who was coming and going, some people you only saw once or twice and never heard of them again).
We were on parade and smoke started to rise from the barn! The Fire Brigade arrived but could not save the barn.
It was later discovered that the fire was started to cover the theft of the tornisters and two people were never seen again.
There was a bad feeling during the whole weekend, the police were asking everyone questions. A young 17 year old reenactor
was very upset, it was his first event, and as it looked, very much like his last. I said not to worry we will find a way out of
this mess...... he went on to be a well known name in LHA........ Tony Dudman.... we got through it Tony :wink:

2. UNDER LIVE FIRE

There was a private event in Wales where American units stormed the German defences. The odd thing was that we kept
hearing "ping" on the walls behind us and in front of us earth kept getting kicked up! We refused to accept the obvious, until
police arrived later in the day to arrest an "American" who had been using live ammo all day! When he was being taken away
he kept shouting "I hate everyone in German uniforms!" ..... indeed we REALLY were under fire that day! :shock:

3. EARLY PYROS

3. In the early days there were no rules or even safety regulaions of any kind. There were lots of home-made bombs, plastic
panzerfausts that would melt into your shoulder when fired! At one event there was a blue demestos bottle covered in grey
tape and mounted on a tripod in a clearing in the woods. No one knew what it was meant to be, but we all showed it repect.
Many greatcoats were set on fire by molotov cocktails, I think at Tavistock about half of my petrol from my motorcycle went
into the production of molotov cocktails :lol:

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Blanks seemed a lot more powerful back then. I had a pain in my left arm and some of the lads noticed blood dripping out
of my sleeve. Dave Bennett escorted me to the First Aid tent, but the pain was soon forgotten when other grenadiers
started congratulating me on the award of BRA´s first wound badge! 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 13:18 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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1979 part 1

We begin 1979 with the covers of six bi-monthly newsletters, the BRA BULLETIN.
Sadly as they had been pasted into a scrapbook, and the first issues were not
illustrated, only the covers now exist.

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