According to The Times (19/2/05) an argument has broken out over WWII reenactment following a series of “wartime weekends” held at various steam railways around the country last summer. The argument concerns battle reenactments in which the “British” and “Americans” staged mock battles against the “Germans” and it is these “Germans” which have caused the problem, because they came equipped with realistic weapons and uniforms, including Waffen SS uniforms complete with insignia bearing swastikas. We in this house have been enthusiastic spectators at reenactments for several decades, covering everything from the Wars of the Roses through to 19th century. We have seen more English Civil War events than any other. But I personally have never seen a large scale WWII event. My husband had the chance to attend one of these steam railway events last summer in the Forest of Dean, but I was busy with something else and could not go. He says it was spectacular, the best of its kind he has ever seen. There was a large crowd there, spending their money and no doubt donating to the railway. The fairly large militaria fair there was also doing well. Apparently, when not “fighting” each other, all the various groups were very approachable and friendly. Now, it seems, a number of groups and individuals have objected to the German – and SS in particular I think – uniforms and insignia. The National Railway Museum in York has stepped in to get it stopped. Jewish organisations in particular seem to have taken exception. My opinion is that to some extent WWII battle reenactment is out of place in Britain, because no land actions were actually fought here and there is no obvious link to preserved steam railways. Yet I know from 1940s weekends I have attended (with no battles) that their popularity is growing and they do pull a crowd. Therefore, a viable way to raise money – and a whole lot of fun. I can see the appeal. And if the “British” and “Americans” are going to stage mock battles, they need some “Germans” to fight. So, I will be sad if these events no longer go ahead, particularly as, following what I heard about 2004 I was definitely planning to go in 2005. What do you think?