Middy's wartime event returns - with German troops on parade

Middy in the War Years

Middy in the War Years is one of the railway's most popular events. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk's only standard-gauge heritage railway is to open for the first time this year with its popular "Middy in the War Years" event.

And for the first time the American troops and British Home Guard are to be joined by a detachment of German Mountain Troops - although they will be kept at the other end of the line.

Re-enactment groups showing German troops have been controversial on some heritage railways, but Mid Suffolk Light Railway spokesman John Reeve said organisers had discussed their offer to come along.

He said: "We talked this through. They are not coming as the Gestapo or anything like that - they are portraying German Mountain soldiers and we decided to accept their offer to come along.

"They'll be based at Dovebrook - the end of the line - away from the other groups that will be here."

Following the guidelines outlined by the Heritage Railway Association, the Middy will not permit access to visitors or re-enactors who are dressed as Schutzstaffel staff, Allgemeine SS forces, Waffen-SS or who wear any uniform or clothing displaying the Totenkopf (Deaths’ Head) symbol, red armbands emblazoned with the swastika or any other overt Nazi insignia.

Middy in the War Years takes place over the bank holiday weekend - May 30 and 31 - and this year anyone wanting to go along will have to book in advance.

Full details of how to get tickets are available here. There will be not tickets sold on the day.

The Middy in the war years event at Mid Suffolk Light Railway at Wetheringsett.

The Home Guard will be on duty at Wetheringsett during the Middy in the War Years event. - Credit: Archant

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As well as the German troops, there will be groups parading as members of the Home Guard and Civil Defence forces. There will also be displays of World War II vehicles - both military and civilian - and of the work of the Women's Voluntary Service during the war.

Visitors will also be able to see the progress on the extension that is currently being built from Dovebrook to the new terminus at Aspall. Some of the track has now been laid, although no trains have yet been able to run over it.

When the line is complete it will more than double the length of the Middy to nearly 1km.

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