THE 2019 Chalke Valley History Festival was launched by festival chair James Holland on Monday in front of a huge model of a Second World War Hawker Typhoon tank busting fighter aircraft.

The giant Typhoon, four times the size of the original, sits on the hillside overlooking the festival site and marks the D-Day 75 theme of the festival.

“We have created this model to pay homage to the 16,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in the Normandy Campaign,” said James.

“We hope that it will inspire and educate the next generation about both history and engineering. With its incredible attention to detail and historical accuracy, the replica’s sheer size is breath-taking and it will be instantly recognisable for miles around.”

The replica was designed and built in partnership with QinetiQ and the Ministry of Defence Boscombe Down Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics team.

Appropriately the festival began with Monday morning being devoted to D-Day, with the opening session on the Hawker Typhoon led by local aviation historian Paul Beaver.

Then followed a moving account of D Day memories by two veterans, Richard Llewellyn, who served aboard HMS Ajax and Joe Cattini who came ashore on the 6th of June with the Royal Artillery.

They spoke to a packed, hushed tent and received hue ovation at the end of their talk.

Joe Cattini was based at Upton Lovell in the lead up to D-Day.

“I remember the Nissen huts that we lived in,” he said. “There was a hill at the back of the camp that we had to run up every day, it was hard. Every Saturday evening I had to drive the commanding officer and some other officers to Bath, then I would be given two shilling to enjoy myself and told to pick them up later.”

Other speakers on the first day included West Dean author Major General Patrick Cordingly speaking about Captain Oates and the ill-fated 1911-1913 Antarctic expedition and former BBC newsman Martin Bell talking about War and the death of News.

The weekend will see the return of the Live History Live programme and a great emphasis on D-Day and Normandy including a new Second World War trench experience.

Chalke Valley History Festival runs until Sunday.

For tickets or more information about the festival programme go to