Go Back In Time With Lee Davey And His Son Charlie

Lee Davey and his son Charlie in the 1976 Bailey Maestro they refurbished for the Bank Holiday adventure
Lee Davey and his son Charlie in the 1976 Bailey Maestro they refurbished for the Bank Holiday adventure

Thursday, 17, May 2018 02:33

William Coleman

Journalist and caravan enthusiast Lee Davey, along with his 10 year old son Charlie, will be embarking on a journey to retrace the steps family members took during the Second World War. Ahead of the D-Day anniversary they will setting off on their trip with the help of The Caravan And Motorhome Club.

The time traveling pair will journey from Kent to Normandy via the New Forest retracing the footsteps of Lee's rahter Ronald Davey and Charlie's maternal great grandfather Geoffrey Woodcock.

The idea for this adventure was sparked following a restoration project Lee and Charlie did of a 1976 Bailey Maestro, which they will be using as their touring vehicle. While on their trip Lee and Charlie will be finding out about Charlie's great grandfather's experiences during the war.

"Charlie was learning about the war at school so I was telling him about the roles his grandfather and great grandfather played, and he said it was a shame he didn't get to meet them. So, to 'bring them to life', we thought we'd follow their footsteps from 74 years ago as closely as possible from the camp where my dad was based, to a ferry crossing that closely resembles the journey his great grandfather took to Juno Beach on D-Day, " said Lee.

The war had a very wide reach and affected almost every family in the UK and Lee's was no exception. Lee's father Ronald was stationed at the Office Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) in Wrotham, Kent. Ronald worked as an instructor who taught cadets to ride motorcycles and various other vehicles.

The Club will be stepping in and helping with some accommodation for Lee and Charlie. The daring duo will stay at the Bearsted Club site, located very close the where the OCTU was based. They will stay for two nights over May's late bank holiday weekend before journeying to the Club Centenary site in the New Forest for a further two nights.

The Centenary Club site was built on a WW2 air base and is located near where Ronald worked as a despatch rider who would convoy vehicles to waterproofing stations on the south coast.

Charlie's great grandfather Geoffrey was stationed just a few miles away in Dorset with the glider regiment. He was in the 249 (Airborne) Field Company RE at Tarrant Rushton Airfield and was attached to the famous 6th Airborne Glider Regiment, who landed at Pegasus Bridge ahead of the D-Day invasion.

Geoffrey arrived at Juno Beach by landing craft on the morning of D-Day, having crossed from Southampton. Lee and Charlie will follow the almost identical route that the Portsmouth to Caen overnight ferry crossing takes to Normandy. Spending four nights at the Club's Port'Land Site, they will explore the nearby area where Geoffrey helped capture five Nazi prisoners, reinforce Pegasus Bridge, clear mines and repel the German counter attack at Ranville.

"I can't wait to retrace the footsteps of my father and Charlie's maternal grandfather, especially as we'll be doing so in the run up to D-Day. It'll be great to create our own memories on this exciting adventure too," said Lee.

Having met Lee, and spent a fair bit of time with him, on the Bailey Bristanbul tour I know just how close to his heart this trip is for him, and to be able to take Charlie with him makes the experience all the more special. Touring holidays are all about spending quality time with family. And what better way to re trace family footsteps than with your son in a caravan you both refurbished.

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