ABINGDON remembered the Second World War this weekend with a group of re-enactors taking over the town’s lock.

‘Winston Churchill’ arrived on a boat and old-school singers gave a silky backtrack of the 1940s.

Visitors to the special event ‘Thames at War’ also took a leap back in time, arriving in khaki uniforms to commemorate a new memorial on the town’s lock – the small island next to the weir.

The memorial, which will be part of the lock indefinitely, is a plaque full of information about the ‘Upper Thames Patrol’ (UTP) – which was started in Abingdon.

The UTP was the water borne home guard who were charged with protecting the River Thames and its banks from invasion during the war.

Thames at War was called off last year, due to the river’s conditions, but was rearranged in Abingdon’s diary for Sunday – the same day as the spring Head of the River.

Karen Wiles, the organiser of the event, said: “It happened on Sunday, and although it was chilly, it was dry – unlike last year when our hard work was scuppered by the Thames being in flood, and the driving rain forced us to cancel.”

She went on: “We are so grateful for all the re-enactors and entertainers who generously gave up their time to make this event the amazing success it was.

“Our visitors seemed to have a great time, it was lovely to see so many happy faces.

“We had Winston Churchill arriving by boat into the lock and being greeted by Oxfordshire Home Guard, who were inspected.

“We were entertained royally by the singers May Blossom and Jilly.

“We had British and French wounded arriving at the lock on Dunkirk Little Ship, Anamaca.

“A talk on the UTP by Bill King (a local historian) and exhibitions on the Home Front, military and civilian vehicles on display and a very special appearance of an Mk7 Cockle Canoe afloat, which is the only complete one in existence.”

She added: “It was a spectacular success.

“We had no budget and everyone taking part gave up their time for free.”

She explained that part of the event was to try and get more information about the Upper Thames Patrol, ‘to keep the memory alive’.

Anybody with information on the UTP can get in touch through the website at thamesatwar.co.uk