The lineage of the club stretches back over 50 years to the founding of the Military Vehicle Conservation Group (MVCG) in 1967, by a group of WW2 military vehicle enthusiasts based in Worthing.
Interest in military vehicle ownership, particularly from WW2 continued to grow and in 1967/8 a local group based in Portsmouth was formed. This ‘Solent Area’ group was chaired by Chris Pearce and included a number of members still active in the military vehicle field, including among them Don Harris.
This group undertook the organisation and running of a military vehicle show to commemorate the Normandy landings, the first show being held at Fort Widley, near Portsmouth in 1974, 30 years after D Day.
The membership of the Solent Area steadily grew and regular monthly meetings were established. The club continued to organise their annual D Day military vehicle event at venues including, Fort Widley, Blackbush, Thruxton and Popham. However, it was those shows held on Southsea Common that established the popularity of the event.
In the later years, many will remember the notorious ‘Mudmead’ show held in Denmead, this being as a result of a tropical rainstorm that engulfed the South Coast over the show weekend and the subsequent discovery of a high water table on the show site!
The annual show continued to gain in popularity, attracting international exhibitors and members of the public from Europe. The Overlord Show, as the event became to be named established itself as one of the premier shows for military vehicle enthusiasts worldwide. As the show gained in popularity, so the show site grew to accommodate an increasing number of military vehicles, traders and participating public.
The public’s interest in and private ownership of in military vehicles continued to increase as did the countrywide membership of the MVCG and in 1990 the group became the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT). The Solent Area of the MVT continued to flourish and maintained the responsibility the organisation of the Overlord Show.
To secure the future and success of further shows, a new independent club was formed in 2004, The Solent Overlord Executive (S.O.E) as the club was known was renamed in 2008 as the Solent Overlord Executive Military Collectors Club. This new title reflecting the club member’s interest not only in military vehicles, but also military history, weapons and equipments and the ever increasing popularity of living history re-enactment.
The previous chairman of the club include:
The club continues to grow, attracting members interested in all aspects of the military, and with a strong social club network organises guest speakers on club nights, visits to museums, and to important historical sites.