Parade of military vehicles to Hastings

A military vehicle at last year's event in Hastings
A military vehicle at last year's event in Hastings

VINTAGE car enthusiasts are in for a treat as a cavalcade of old-fashioned military vehicles will be coming to Hastings in April.

Around 70 cars are travelling from Sevenoaks in Kent to 1066 Country on Sunday, April 1, in aid of Combat Stress, which looks after war veterans’ mental health.

Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society (IMPS), together with the AA, is running the event, known as the AA Commemorative Military Road Run.

The procession of vintage vehicles will be travelling from Sevenoaks in Kent, leaving at around 10am, and arriving in Hastings between 11.30am and 12.30pm, where they will be on show for the public to view at The Stade, off Rock-a-Nore Road until around 3.30pm.

James Baxter, president of the IMPS, said: “This is the event’s fourth year. Last year we raised around £1,000 for Combat Stress.

“This time I am pretty confident we will exceed this, as we already have had donations totally more than £400.”

Some of the vehicles which will be on display include a 1909 Renault belonging to the AA, pre-First World War cars and Model T Fords.

Others include Rolls Royces, vintage civilian cars up to 1945, and a mixture of civilian and military vehicles used today.

Some of the motorbikes the AA used in the 1940s and 1950s will also be on show.

On March 17, 1909 members of the Automobile Association (now known as the AA) carried a battalion of 600 Guardsmen, drawn from three Guards regiments, from London to Hastings in their private motor cars.

This was an exercise organised by the Automobile Association in conjunction with the War Office, the forerunner of the Ministry of Defence, to test the viability of moving troops in large numbers by motor transport.

In March 2009, to commemorate the centenary of this event, the IMPS joined with the AA to launch the annual fundraiser.