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On Friday  the 8th January the Society was entertained by Mr J Pyle who presented a talk entitled Hobarts Funnies.    These were the weird and sometimes odd military vehicles use by the army to overcome hazards during hostilities of war. They were mostly always converted tanks to clear mines, cross rivers and break through obstacles built to stop the access of the army.

Using slides and some films he showed members examples of tanks converted into mobile bridges for crossing rivers and streams.  There were also tanks fitted with chain flails on the front to explode any mines buried ahead of the tank.  Other tanks were fitted with tines to dig out of the ground any mines so clearing the ground of any hazards   What we now would call a bulldozer was originally a large blade fitted to the front of a tank, used to move aside any earthworks and hedges preventing access.   Flame throwers were also shown fitted onto a tank, sometimes instead of a gun.

The talk demonstrated the amount of effort that men will go to when in a wartime  situation.

Geoff King

On Saturday 13th February the Society was invited to attend an event celebrating the opening of the Alresford  [near Colchester, Essex] railway station.    The railway was opened by the Tendring Hundred Railway Company in 1866.     This Company was then acquired  by the Great Eastern  and by 1882 had reached Clacton.

The Society exhibited a number of locomotives in a carpet shop front window adjacent to the station  [Main Line Carpets].    On display were two Great Eastern designs,  a J15,  0-6-0 and a Claud Hamilton 4-4-0  D16/3.    These were followed by other locomotives which had all been regularly seen passing through the station over the years of the LNER, who had taken over when the Big Four was formed in 1923.    These were a B17,  a B1, and last a Britannia, which had run through the Alresford station until the end of steam on the line.

Also on display was an A4 and an A3, which were included as one of the party of  Dignitaries who attended the meeting was Mr Ron Kennedy, who had been a driver of these classes of locomotives during his career on BR.  One of the Colchester members had been his fireman  on the A4,s so these locomotives were shown for added interest.

Geoff King                                              click here for pictures



On Friday 1st April the Society was presented with an interesting talk by member Don Black.   He gave the third and final talk on the North Sea oil rigs, this one describing the decommissioning  and dismantling of the oil rig when the oil well is no longer viable.

 He started by describing how the oil well drilling's were capped off,  with attention being given on preventing potential damage to the sea bed from any leakage from the oil well,  and danger to the marine life in the ocean.   This was followed by how the oil rig is dismantled,  bearing in mind to that it weighs several thousand tons of metal.    The accommodation  and the power house blocks removal was described, these being major parts of the rig.  What happened to the pipes to the mainland and to other areas was also covered.

 He finished off by describing how the high legs going down into the sea bed were removed as much as possible so that they were not to be a hazard to shipping.   Anything left protruding out of the sea bed,   potentially a hazard to fishing nets, was removed as much as possible.   

On Saturday 3rd April members held the first childrens party of the year at the Society, giving train rides to a party of  children for 2 ½ hours, four trains being run on both raised and ground level tracks.

 Geoff   King      

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 This year is the 70th year since the formation of the Colchester Society of Model Engineers.      To commemorate the year the Society invited the East Anglian Societies to Colchester for a steam up and get together at the track site.    On Saturday 4th June  Chelmsford and Ipswich  members visited Colchester.  They ran their locomotives on both the raised and ground level tracks throughout the day.     On the next day, Sunday 5th,   members of  the Peterborough Society came to Colchester for a run on the club site.    The Peterborough club  totalling nine visitors ran a mixture of locomotives throughout the day, again using both the ground level and raised tracks.  With the Peterborough club not having a track of their own, they had an enjoyable day before the long drive home.    Other news from Colchester  is that the Friday nights meeting for the “training” of our new members [sorry about that] driving the club steam  locomotives is being well received  by the new recruits.

Geoff King  

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Sunday 7th August was a busy day for members, with the Society having a display gazebo at the Five Parishes Show  [Peldon,  Great  and Little  Wigbourough,  Abberton  and   Langanhoe].    Held on the Colchester Garrison firing ranges at Fingringhoe with the kind permission of the Garrison Commander, the Army was not using the ranges during the day.

On display in the gazebo was a selection of members models.   These consisted of steam locomotives, stationary engines,   and a range of boats from the last war.    These were a MTB of the Royal Navy and one from the Axis forces.    Also on display was an E boat from the other side of the Channel and on display but outside was a Union Pacific Railroad  locomotive which was too long to be brought to the show in one piece, and needed to be assembled using a small crane.     The novelty item was a ship in a bottle made by one of our members, made when he had a crazy moment or two.

 Behind the gazebo, a portable ground level track was in operation throughout the day giving brief rides to the children between one year old and, I suspect up to ninety years old.    Despite being only 100 feet long, a mileage recorder had notched up 3.6 miles run by the end of the day.   A LOT of ups and downs for the train crew, it was a good thing that the loco had a pole reverser.

Geoff King


Members are having a busy month.    On  Saturday 3rd of September members attended the Great Bentley show where they put on a display of models in the club`s gazebo.     The models ranged from a 5 inch Evening Star to a ship in a bottle, which many children found to be  a puzzle when shown the exhibit.    The Great Bentley show is held on the village green, which is reputed to be the largest village green in England.

 This was followed on the next day Sunday 4th by an anniversary celebration for the Colchester club`s 70th year since the formation of the Society.   The event was held in the Society grounds with all members, friends and the neighbours having a day long steam up, which was followed by a hog roast for all who attended.     For the younger children there was a  bouncy castle in addition  to the train rides.    The Society`s ground level and raised level tracks were run to their full capacity throughout the day.  The pictures were taken by member Clive Jenkins.

 On Saturday and Sunday, 10th and11th, some of the Society members travelled to the Bure Valley Railway at Aylsham where a selection of models were shown in support of the railways “Steam in Miniature” week end. In addition to static displays rides were given to the children behind a 1 1/2” traction engine around the station platform.

Geoff King

Society members visited the Bure Valley Railway at Aylsham in Norfolk on Saturday 24th of September.     The Society had chartered a train for the day for members to have a steam train driving experience in 15 inch gauge.  Club members were given a talk on the railways procedures,  health and safety, and how the radio control of the trains operated before going to their locomotive. Members then helped to prepare the locomotive, coaling up and made themselves familiar with the controls.  The locomotive was then moved onto the turntable and turned to face down the line and coupled up to the train.

 The twelve Club members then took turns to drive the train down the line with one of the railway staff  as instructor.   Each member had three miles at the regulator driving the train down the nine miles, changing over at the passing loops at the stations along the line.   When the train reached Wroxham the participants turned the loco for the run round.  On the return journey three more drivers had their turn at the regulator, with the final driver taking the loco onto the turntable at Aylsham ready to make the second run up the line.

 At this point the railway restaurant provided an excellent roast dinner, after which the journey down the line was repeated for the remaining club members to have their drive. At the end of the day the twelve club members had run for 36 miles on the line.   All the participants went home with big smiles for having had a first class day of steam train driving.

 Colchester   Bure Valley Railway

Geoff King                                        click here for pictures


On Friday 14th of October Colchester Society member Geoff King, gave an excellent illustrated talk on Screw Cutting. He started by giving a history of threads and then proceeded to explain the various types of thread that are available. During the talk, he passed round various tooling used to produce threads and then explained how to produce threads on a lathe. using taps and dies, then how to cut a thread with a single point cutting tool. He also explained the method for producing multi start threads.




 On Friday 28th October  member Mr Robert Clarke presented a  talk on first aid to the members.   His talk centered on how to use a defribulator and how the machine worked.   He described the symptoms of a heart attack and quoted the time that can be allowed to elapse before the machine is used.

 The evening was poorly attended by the club members, there being only 16 members there.    I can only HOPE that if anyone should be unlucky enough to need one to be used to revive them, that there is one of the members there at the time who was at Roberts talk last Friday night.

Geoff King


 On the fifth November the Society was entertained to a night run on both the raised and ground level tracks.      Starting during the afternoon, trains were run giving rides to the children of all ages from 85 years downwards.     When the light failed the members were treated to a  tasty  meal prepared by Sue Bohn of baked potatoes with various fillings,  followed by a desert of cheese cake and chocolate gateau.

      The meeting was attended by approximatly 40 members and family friends who were treated to a terrific display of rockets accompanied by a lot of noise.   The fireworks  were organised by Peter Bohn and his family.    

 The accompanying pictures were taken by Liz  King  

Geoff King

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After refreshments, Geoff did a demonstration of thread cutting on the Myford in the workshop.. A number of members then had a go at producing a thread .

Altogether a very interesting evening

Donald  W Green

The Colchester members traveled by coach to the Midlands Exhibition at Leamington Spa on Sunday 16th October.  All enjoyed an excellent day out. Geoff King

Colchester members travelled by coach to the Midlands Exhibition at Leamington Spa on Sunday 16th October.  All enjoyed an excellent day out. Geoff King

Sorry, but pictures are not available