Show History

After a number of successful previous years at Tilbury Fort, we were dealt a severe blow, when, due to the declining condition of the Tilbury Fort site, English Heritage were unable to allow us to continue to host our show there. After a short period of moving venues, we held our first small scale Essex MVT area show at Damyns Hall, with just a dozen vehicles in 2006.

The show has gained in popularity and size, that now plays host to over 300 vehicles with thousands of visitors and participants. This affords us the opportunity to show the public our vehicles, living history displays and what we do for our community. In addition, The Echoes of History show is also the charities main fundraising event.

Towards the end of 2013, the MVT suggested that we run the show as a separate organisation. To secure the future and success of further shows and to expand our public benifit, a new independent Charity was formed early in 2014, called the Essex Historic Military Vehicle Association, Registered Charity No. 1155705 - or the Essex HMVA for short.

In 2017, we moved once more to a site near Maldon. The maritime town of Maldon and the surrounding area is a picturesque and historic area, with a rich and important military history, it has seen more than its fair share of conflict throughout the ages, including the Roman, Viking and Dane eras. Famously, the Battle of Maldon in 991 CE occurred during the reign of Æthelred the Unready. In WW1, motor torpedo boats were based at Osea Island - the connecting causeway of which is near our show ground. During WW2, the area around Maldon saw many small ships used to assist in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk, and later on these boats were also used in the D-Day invasion. Maldon and the surrounding area is also home to serveral military museums as well as WW1 and WW2 airfields.

Following the success of the 2017 show, we had planned to continue at the same venue for 2018. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure the site for the dates we required and took the reluctant decision to rest the show for 2018. We very much wanted to stay near the Maldon area, so we undertook an extensive hunt for a new venue.

Following discussions with the new site land owners, we ran a new event called: "Echoes of History". The change in venue also presented an occasion for us to take the best bits of many previous shows, merging them into a fantastic event, allowing us the opportunity to promote multi-period living history as well as military history through the ages and of course the historic military vehicles that are so much of a special feature of our show.

The next show will take place on the 10th and 11th of August 2024 at the Whitehouse Farm, The Living Memorial, Rettendon, Essex, CM3 8DL. - Please note: this is NOT a postal address for correspondence.

The new event will continue to be run on a charitable basis by a team of unpaid volunteers, with all profits going directly to fund our charitable work.

Rettendon Area History

Rettendon is a small village and civil parish in the Borough of Chelmsford in Essex, England, about 8 miles south east of the city of Chelmsford. Situated near the River Crouch, the village was once owned by the Bishop of Ely and is mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086. The A130 formerly passed through the village. There are a number of listed buildings in the parish including Rettendon Old Hall. Life in the area during the 19th century could be harsh for many agricultural workers, and a number of "poor houses" existed in the area. A registration of voters who were entitled to vote in 1826, consisted of 2 shoemakers, 2 thatchers, 2 carpenters, a wheelwright, a mariner, a labourer, and a farmer, who likely was the person who owned White House Farm. In 1870, the wider area had a population of 785 people. The local church has been in existence since at least the 13th century and many 15th century features such as the doorway. The church was restored in 1898, when the roof was replaced; most of the church furniture dates to this campaign. On the 15th October 1944, a German V-2 rocket hit Rettendon, the village pub was damaged and two were slightly injured. The village became part of the GHQ line and you can see some of the pill boxes which still face Main Road. To the east of Rettendon, the garden at Hyde Hall was donated to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.

The site is also currently home to the "living memorial" dedicated to the memory of those armed service personnel who served in war and peace. Operation sweet pea is a project undertaken to honour a promise made to the families and children of every service member killed in the last 50 years.

2024 show

As always, we will have hundreds of military vehicles across all eras and nationalities - from push bikes to massive trucks that even make the tanks look small!

We have an amazing turn out of living history displays with many re-enactors depicting military life from many periods and nationalities. These historical re-enactors go to massive lengths to represent history as accurately and authentically as possible and are always happy to answer your questions or demonstrate equipment so don't be afraid to ask! This is a fantastic opportunity to see how the soldiers and people of different nationalities and time periods lived and to get close to the weapons, equipment and atmosphere of the time.

There will be Arena activities during the day, The vehicle parade allows you to get close with a convoy of trucks and armoured vehicles, see and hear them roaring around the arena and learn a little about their history. As always, there will be battles and fire power demonstrations!

There's so much more for the kids to get involved in and watch, what better way is there for the younger generation to learn about our history than to hear about it from those who made it - our wonderful veterans are always happy to tell their own story. Back by popular demand will be our live 'wartime' entertainment in our huge marquee all day.

Where else would you be able to get up close and personal to your past?