On Saturday 16th August from 10.30am, a World War One load weighing 72 tons and measuring 80 feet long will be travelling from Bovington to the Great Dorset Steam Fair site at Tarrant Hinton.
The load will form part of a special WW1 display at this year’s event, which runs from 27th until 31st August, in tribute to the centenary anniversary of the First World War.
The crew will be dressed in British Army uniform from the time and the load will be flanked by several other army vehicles in an attempt to recreate an original WW1 convoy, the likes of which will never have been seen after 1919.
Two McLaren locomotives will pull a Pickfords trailer carrying a 1914 WW1 Holt 75 HP Gun Tractor, which was originally used to tow a field gun. There will also be a steam lorry, a Daimler lorry and a traction wagon. The tractor is owned by Ron and Keith Harris from Gillingham and Roger Dibnah, son of the late celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah, will be in uniform on the steam lorry. The load will have an escort vehicle at the front and rear with a small number of supporting vehicles.
Martin Oliver, Managing Director at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, says: “Everyone today is affected by the First World War and it will be a breathtakingly moving sight to see an such a colossal road run arriving onsite in British Army colours with everyone in uniform. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the organisation and preparation of the journey, without whom this would not be possible.”
Anyone who wishes to see the road run in action and take pictures is invited to welcome the convoy at the Great Dorset Steam Fair site at Tarrant Hinton. Visitors can also go to Bovington Tank Museum to watch the load leave, or see it as it makes its way through Blandford Town Centre. Stewards and marshals will be supplied along the route if required to assist with the safety of any pedestrians that may wish to view the load.
After leaving Bovington Tank Museum at 10.30am the convoy will travel to Tout Hill and then to Bere Regis joining the A35 and A31, taking a break around 11.30am just before the exit towards Winterborne Kingston. The load will continue on to the A354, pausing around 12.50pm in a layby between Thornicombe and Blandford. It will exit left off the A354 and reach Blandford at around 1.30pm, stopping for 45 minutes in the town centre. When the load turns off left into Blandford it will exit the Blandford Bypass at Tescos Roundabout, proceed past the Badger Brewery, then over the river bridge at Bryanston Gates and along West Street into the Town Centre. At around 2.15pm it will leave Blandford and head onto the A354 towards Pimperne, arriving at the showground at approximately 2.45pm.
Timings are subject to change and will be posted on GDSF’s website during the week of the road run (www.gdsf.co.uk). For real-time updates, visit the official Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/GreatDorsetSteamFair).
The load will consist of 2 x McLaren 10nhp Road Locomotives, registration number WF1824 & DS7128 towing a trailer with a WW1 Gun Tractor. An engine will be coupled up to the front and back of the trailer with the overall length of the engines and trailer being a total of 80 ft (24 metres), the overall width at 8.5 ft (2.6m) and the maximum height at 13.8 ft (4.2m) with the total weight of the engines and trailer being 72 tonnes with each engine weighing 16 tonnes and the trailer with the gun tractor weighing 40 tonnes.