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Medway: Salute to the 40s comes to Chatham Dockyard for a vintage festival feast

Dig out your victory roll hair and classic red lipstick – it’s time to be transported back to the 1940s, with one of Britain’s best vintage festivals.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham lays on its celebration of 40s fun on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, bringing back the sights and sounds of the era.

Celebrating forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday, the Dockyard will be in full-on 40s swing with a weekend packed with nostalgic numbers, sing-a-longs and dance ‘til you drop entertainment with a line-up including new for this year, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Hotsie Totsies.

Vintage music will fill the air at Salute to the 40s
Vintage music will fill the air at Salute to the 40s

Vintage music will fill the air along with a variety of comedy acts, dance workshops and performances from the likes of the Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers, Medway Lindy Hoppers and the Lindy Kicks. Also providing some glamour will be the Polka Dot Dolls and the Dolly Girls. With its own 1940s film set location, Home Front displays, military camps and re-enactors are perfectly at home at The Dockyard site.

While you’re at Salute to the 40s, make sure you visit the 1940s street with its bombed-out house, anti-aircraft gun display and vintage barbers and you can even stop for a pint at the pub.

Come dressed in your finest, with selfie arm at the ready – don’t be surprised if there’s a “Royal Visit” during the day!

Come dressed in your vintage finest Picture: Steve Crispe
Come dressed in your vintage finest Picture: Steve Crispe

Rationing won’t be on the cards for visitors, so tuck into goodies from cream teas to ploughman’s and fish and chips to Kentish pies. Stop off at the Mess Deck, Commissioner’s House or the Wagon Stop Canteen, when there’s rumbling tummies in your party.

You can choose from the many themed caterers offering everything from bacon butties to good old fashioned tea and gourmet burgers to teas, cakes and bread pudding, so no one will be going hungry.

The site will be full of locomotives running up and down the tracks and there will be hundreds of military and civilian vintage cars, buses, lorries and motorcycles to see, plus a Coming Home parade on both days.

You’re unlikely to miss the sounds of the Second World War Destroyer HMS Cavalier as its heart-stopping guns are fired.

Vintage and military dressed re-enactors will wander or cycle the streets, meeting and mingling with visitors.

Visitors can also see what it was like to be in an air raid evacuation by stepping back in time and joining an air raid experience where an ARP warden will lead you into Second World War shelters.


Join the army of thousands who come dressed in their vintage finest alongside Land Army girls, housewives and evacuees.

If you haven’t picked out your outfit yet you can browse the vintage stalls, selling accessories, jewellery and uniforms and check out the vintage fashion parade.

For 1940s collectors and fashion enthusiasts you will find an array of authentic and replica traders on site, and head to the Dockyard Vintage Fair filled with period goodies.


Salute to the 40s will be held at Chatham Historic Dockyard on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, from 10am.

Entry on the day is £17.50, £13.50 for children and £54.50 for a family. For more details visit thedockyard.co.uk

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