Allied Masonic Degrees of England and Wales and Districts and Councils Overseas
District Grand Council of Kent buffer News:
A day out for the District Grand Prefect - Norton Fitzwarren Vintage Military Camp

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I recently returned from Devon/Somerset having enjoyed the privilege of driving my friend’s Ferret Mark 2/7 in order to take part in the West Somerset Railway Association Steam and Vintage Rally 2022. Having been involved with the event since about 2010, it was a welcome return to normality. The event was cancelled in 2019 and 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and then, to the dismay of all the Exhibitors, it was again cancelled in 2021 due to a shortage of Marshalls for public safety.

The Rally was held over the weekend 6th/7th August 2022 on a large triangular piece of land between the British Rail Main Line and the Minehead Branch Line (Steam Railway). It was good to meet old friends and make new friends. The weather was predictably hot and dry and it encouraged over 8000 visitors to witness the show over two days.

For my part, the trip to Devon started in earnest on the Friday morning when driving in convoy from Devon to Norton Fitzwarren in Somerset. Once encamped in the military section of the Rally site, at 11.00am on each day the military vehicles entered the show ring. I was pleased to lead five Ferrets (there have been as many as eight) in single file to complete 5 laps of the ring showing the manoeuvrability of the vehicles. Then, after they lined up, side by side, in the centre of the ring, all other military vehicles sedately entered to the announcements by the commentators. The public was permitted 15/20mins to enter the ring and inspect the stationery vehicles. As a finale for the military part of the show, the Ferrets were again allowed to do what they do best – charging around on rough ground - before being guided back to their camp site.

The Ferret, which was manufactured by the Daimler Motor Company, replaced the Dingo after the Second World War for liaison and reconnaissance operations. The Mark 2/7 version dates from the late fifties and is displayed in Cyprus colours where it served for many years. It is a two-man vehicle: the Driver and Commander, who operates the machine gun; the radio system, which is situated behind his seat; and covers blind spots for the Driver. It has an armoured steel hull and turret and a Rolls-Royce B60 petrol engine: 4260cc. It is a quirky machine with the steering wheel angled away from the Driver in order to allow room for squaddie legs reaching the pedals. On the right of the hull interior is the pre-selected gearbox (similar to that used on Routemaster buses) and on the left a lever for the transfer box (reverse or forward gear). This allows the Ferret to use all gears in both directions. The armaments consist of a 30 calibre Browning machine gun, mounted in the turret, and two triple-barrelled smoke dischargers. You may notice in the photographs that there is an indent on each side of the turret for the installation of Swingfire anti-tank missiles. The Ferret is permanently in four-wheel drive with reduction gears in each wheel hub. This together with run-flat tyres gives the vehicle the ability to extricate itself from difficult situations employing one wheel.

The first of the photographs shows me standing by the Ferret waiting for other military vehicles to enter the ring. The second photograph shows one of the young ladies acting as Commander for me on sight-seeing trips around the Somerset lanes (with other vehicles - I hasten to add). Since the ladies owned and worked a site burger stall, my chivalric ways earned me and my companions a free breakfast on Sunday morning. The third photograph shows the display of real-ales and ciders in the beer tent. Although Guinness was not available, I did discover a dark beer substitute.

DPG standing by the Ferret DPG standing by the Ferret

DPG standing by the Ferret DPG inside the Ferret

DPG standing by the Ferret DGP Driving the Ferret

DPG standing by the Ferret DGP on his way to the ultimate stop for the day

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