SWING music beats competed for visitors’ attention with the thud of a machine gun, as the annual Second World War display returned to Swindon and Cricklade Railway this weekend.

Hundreds of visitors descended on the Blunsdon station, enjoying sun, steam trains and close harmony singing. The theme of the event was "Home on Leave".

Organiser Tony Brock said: “Usually, we’ll do Swindon or Blunsdon at War as the theme. But this year we decided to celebrate all the troops coming back home. We have about 150 people here, split between re-enactors and living history volunteers.”

Swindon and Cricklade Railway was expecting around 500 visitors on each day. The event featured a swing music DJ, acapella groups, a display from dancers The Majorettes and even a flypast from a Hurricane – the older brother of the iconic Spitfire fighter plane.

Russell Pitt, 52, was dressed as a German soldier from a regiment that “took a hammering” at the D-Day landings in 1944: “We always find people are interested in the ‘other side’, what they did in the war. We try and stay away from anything political. It’s just a hobby.

“You wouldn’t believe how big 1940s re-enactment has become over the last 10 to 20 years. There are now so many events throughout the country.”

Sat next to his Willys MB jeep, built in the final years of the war, Park North’s Ryan Flippance was wearing the uniform of a Wessex regiment reconnaissance soldier.

The 52-year-old, whose great-grandfather fought for the Wiltshire Regiment in the First World War, said: “As a kid I started collecting bits of militaria. It escalates, from buying cap badges and the like to buying a vehicle.”