The humble beginnings of the Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society, or IMPS for short, can be traced back to a small rally that had been organised by a group of enthusiasts at Chilham Castle, Nr. Canterbury, Kent on the 6th July 1980. Following the success of the rally two of the organisers wrote to Major Victor (Dicky) Dover M.C., an Arnhem veteran, asking him if he would write to all who had attended Chilham inviting them to a meeting at the Drill Hall in Maidstone on 10th September 1980. The purpose behind the meeting, which was attended by 65 people, was to establish whether there would be sufficient support for the formation of a military vehicle club in the Kent area. Encouraged by the response to the first meeting two further meetings followed and as result in December 1980 the club officially came into being, with Major Dover as President.
Building upon the success of the Chilham Rally the club held its first official annual gathering in July 1982 at the Kent & Sussex Railway at Tenterden, Kent. In 1987 the club moved its annual show to the Hop Farm Country Park at Beltring, Kent where the show has had continued unabated until 2012. In our first year at the Hop Farm venue approximately 185 vehicles attended the show, which by local club standards was an excellent turnout. However as the popularity of the show and its importance in the historic military vehicle calendar grew, word began to spread nationally and then internationally. The show, under the banner of ‘The War & Peace Show’, or just ‘Beltring’ to the faithful, has grown into the largest event of its kind anywhere in the world attracting over 3000 vehicle entries for the five day year 2002 event.
The Club relinquished its control of the event in 2000 to Rex Cadman who had overseen its growth as IMPS Events Secretary. However it continues to be closely associated with the show, even in its latest guise as the War and Peace Revival.
The club has now started a new Club show, Combined Ops which is held every August at Headcorn aerodrome, which during the Second World War was home to USAAF P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs, and at that time known as Lashenden,. The show combines a vehicle show with Living History and air displays by both Headcorn based aircraft as well as flying visits by guest aircraft. Entry is free to IMPS members.
Membership to the society is now in excess of 1200.
IMPS welcomes new members whether or not they own military vehicles. Although based in South East England, we do not make any restrictions on where our members are located and welcome members from around the World.
Each New Year brings with it an ever increasing number of requests for our members to support charitable and other fund raising events and although our ability to fulfil these relies heavily upon the goodwill of our members it is a rare occasion when we find ourselves unable to assist.
Over the years the Club has been at the forefront of many high profile events such as the 1995 Tribute and Promise parade in London in front of Her Majesty, the Queen and representing the British participation in the Liberation of Northern France in the annual Pas de Calais Libéré events originally held in Bethune then Souchez and now Hallicourt.
As well as several (well attended) Area meetings held monthly, there is also a bi-monthly meeting held at the Glentworth Club, Dartford where we usually have a guest speaker. Members also benefit from a monthly newsletter (e-mailed to the member where possible) and a quarterly magazine, Imprint.
In 2015 the Club organised displays in St James’s Park to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.