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The Combined Ops Military and Air Show will return to the Headcorn Aerodrome, near Maidstone, this weekend

By Dan Wright

Hollywood and Headcorn don’t usually go hand-in-hand.

Admittedly, they share the same initial, though the similarities end there as the fields of the Kentish countryside seem a million miles from the Californian movie mecca.

But this weekend, the two will be brought together as a Second World War tank, a star of several Hollywood blockbusters, will be in Kent for the very first time.

The Battle of Britain memorial flight will take centre stage at Combined Ops this weekend

The Sherman M4 A1 – as seen in Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks, Band of Brothers and the latest war film Fury with Brad Pitt – will play an integral part in a military spectacular.

The Combined Ops Military and Air Show, at Headcorn Aerodrome, near Maidstone, will bring over a century of history together for one packed weekend.

Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt may not be on the guest list but the popular military spectacular is returning in its most poignant year yet with the Hollywood-starring tank topping the bill.

It will join a plethora of other military vehicles and vintage aircraft on Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17.

Re-enactors will put on a show at Combined Ops

“This is a great weekend for all the family and we are delighted to be holding this annual event at Headcorn Aerodrome for the sixth consecutive time,” said event organiser James Baxter.

“The show is full of thrills and dramas, noise and some very famous visitors.”

The Combined Ops will remember the First World War with demonstrations of weapons from the era and a live recreation of a battle. But the Great War isn’t the only conflict remembered at the family show this weekend.

Combined Ops will be full of military vehicles

Recreating the D-Day landings on a field in the Weald isn’t easy, but numerous Second World War vehicles – including the Sherman – will give a taste of events from 1944.

In the air and on land, there will be battle re-enactments of the D-Day invasions and a 1940s village on site will remember the atmosphere of civilian life throughout the war.

James added: “Dressing up in wartime clothes and uniform has become a tradition and adds to the great atmosphere of the show.

“We have many of the top wartime groups attending to bring reality to the displays and re-enactments.”

A Lancaster bomber

In the air

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is the weekend’s star attraction. The memorial flights will take place on both days and a special Avro Lancaster plane will join the Memorial Flight’s existing Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster. Sent over from Canada earlier this month, the plane will join the only other airworthy Lancaster bomber in the world.

Dragon Rapide pleasure flights will also be available and can be booked on site during the show.

You can drive a mini tank this weekend

On the ground

There’s also plenty of action on the ground across both days. A full programme of live arena activities are planned with military re-enactments taking centre stage.

A selection of military vehicles will also be on show – and if you’ve ever fancied a trip in a tank, Combined Ops is the place to be as rides will be available throughout the weekend.

The Combined Ops Military and Air Show is at the Headcorn Aerodrome, near Maidstone, TN27 9HX on Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17. Advance tickets start from £9 for adults and £12 on the gate.

Child and senior tickets cost £9 on the gate and a family ticket costs £29. Gates open at 10am on both days. Call 07769 683345 or visit www.combinedops.co.uk for more details.

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