War fans banned from Hop Farm after wearing SS uniforms at Christmas party
The Hop Farm Festival - a
family-friendly event held at the Paddock Wood venue
A war group has been banned from the Hop Farm after members
donned swastikas, SS regalia and jackboots at a Christmas
A spokesman for the family venue at Paddock Wood dubbed the
incident "very serious", after members of the Second Battle Group
(SBG) donned caps, tunics and belts worn by Hitler's elite
Waffen SS fighting force.
According to a national newspaper, the private function invited
guests - one of whom was said to be an ex-SS officer who won the
Iron Cross fighting for Hitler's Third Reich.
They were also spotted in their uniforms at a pub near their
It comes five years after a controversial Panorama
documentary exposed members from a group with the same name
spouting racist and pro-Nazi propaganda at the War and Peace show,
held at the Hop Farm.
Senior member Glen Swallow was filmed talking about the Waffen
SS, saying: "If it existed now, I'd join. I believe we should be
sorting these Muslims out."
Hop Farm head of sales and marketing, Miguel Fenton, said the
venue only became aware of the latest incident after the party at
The booking had been made under the group's name, SBG - who had
also booked a function room in previous years.
Mr Fenton said the group had also appeared at the War and Peace
He said: "Re-enactment is part of War and Peace - it is what it
"Anything that does verge on more than that has to be regarded
as very serious."
He added: "There's no way we wouild have sanctioned something
like this if we'd known. We certainly won't be inviting them
A statement on SBG's website said: "The Second Battle Group
would like to apologise for any offence that may have been caused
when a very small number of its membership allowed their uniforms
to be seen for a short while in a public house (which was attached
to a hotel) whilst waiting for transport to a private function.
function itself was held in a private building well away from the
public highway and any other public buildings and there was also
security on the door so that no one could accidentally enter and
thus be offended.
"The site had been closed to the public for some hours before
SBG members arrived.
"There were British and German WWII veterans at the function, who
faced each other as adversaries on the battlefields of Normandy in
"Both the British and German WWII veterans have been friends for
almost 20 years and keep in regular contact with each other."
The statement said no political speeches were made at the
function. The only speeches made were "of thanks for being invited
and how the British and German veterans who were once enemies are
now friends and have been for many years etc.
"It is never the SBG’s intention to offend anyone, purposely or
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