Battle on the beach as Northumberland goes to war

An artillery demonstration. Picture by John Tuttiett
An artillery demonstration. Picture by John Tuttiett

A Northumberland coastal town is at war but, as Corporal Jones would say, don't panic!

This is Blyth Battery Goes to War Weekend, a two-day event to mark the 100th anniversary of the coastal defence artillery battery, built in 1916 to defend the port of Blyth and the submarine base there during the First World War.

The battle on the beach. Picture by John Tuttiett

The battle on the beach. Picture by John Tuttiett

The re-enactment weekend, from 10.30am to 4pm, features beach battles, weapons demonstrations, Home Front displays, a First World War trench, military vehicles and live entertainment.

A flag-raising ceremony marked the official opening this morning, followed by a battle on the beach; a 25-pounder gun firing display; a First World War centenary tribute from the Gordon Highlanders and friends; a mine clearance display by the Durham Light Infantry; and wartime songs and a range of music.

Tomorrow's programme, with timings for displays and demonstrations approximate and demonstrations subject to change, is: 11am Colin Borudiec singing wartime favourites; 11.30am; Megan Allan playing the Northumbrian pipes, all in the entertainment tent; noon beach battle, display arena; 12.30pm Anthony Purdy playing swing guitar, entertainment tent, 25pdr gun firing display, Searchlight buildings; 1pm Ruby Barnet singing wartime favourites, entertainment tent, Gordon Highlanders and friends with a First World War centenary tribute, display arena; 1.30pm Anthony Purdy playing swing guitar, entertainment tent; 2pm Megan Allan playing the Northumbrian pipes; 2.30pm

mine clearance display with the DLI soldiers, display arena; 3pm Ruby Barnet singing wartime favourites, entertainment tent; 3.30pm Colin Bourdiec singing wartime favourites; 4pm closing event, flag pole.

The battle at Blyth. Picture by John Tuttiett

The battle at Blyth. Picture by John Tuttiett

Upgraded for re-use during the Second World War, Blyth Battery is the most intact, accessible and intelligible coast defence battery on the North East and Yorkshire coas.

It comprises a twin coast defence gun emplacement and a twin searchlight emplacement, each with associated buildings, mostly in concrete with some brick. Each building group was in a compound surrounded by a fence, and the entire Battery was served by temporary hutment camps for off-duty personnel on adjoining land. Some buildings are partially sunken or built into dunes to conceal or protect them, and some were partially concealed with false roofs and structures.

For more information at Blyth Battery Goes to War Weekend, visit http://blythbattery.org.uk/blyth-battery-goes-to-war-2016

Help for one of the 'wounded'. Picture by John Tuttiett

Help for one of the 'wounded'. Picture by John Tuttiett