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16 mars 2015 1 16 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
Victory in Europe (VE) Day celebrations

Winston Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945 (VE Day). Photo  Imperial War Museum H 41849

 

15 March 2015 from Ministry of Defence, Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, Office of the Leader of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, The Rt Hon William Hague MP, + others

 

A 3-day weekend of events will mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

 

William Hague, Leader of the House of Commons, has today announced 3 days of commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day 70) this summer.

The plans include events across the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. Events will range from a parade, a service of thanksgiving and a star-studded concert in central London, to street parties around the UK.

Mr Hague, Leader of the House of Commons, said:

I am delighted to announce 3 days of celebrations, which will pay fitting tribute to those who did so much to defend this country and ensure victory in Europe.

It is right that we take time to reflect on the sacrifices made, not just by those in the Armed Forces, but by civilians such as Land Girls and those in Reserved Occupations and make sure that the whole country has the chance to take part in commemorating this momentous anniversary and remembering those who gave so much for our freedom.

The celebrations in London will be echoed by other events across the country to mark VE Day 70 with local authorities and communities encouraged to participate. They will celebrate with members of their communities who contributed to the war effort throughout the Second World War. The Royal British Legion, as the national custodian of Remembrance, will act as the government’s key partner in leading the nation in marking the commemoration, including hosting a major reception for 2,000 veterans in St James’s Park.

Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO, National President of the Royal British Legion said:

We are honoured to play our part in helping the nation mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe. The Legion has a responsibility to help the memories of those of who have fought and died in our nation’s Armed Forces live on for future generations. The commemoration of this conflict, still in living memory, gives us the opportunity to salute the Second World War generation.

We hope that all communities will use the VE Day 70 commemorations to thank them and celebrate the role they played in our nation’s history.

Eric Goldrein, 94, from Hale Village, Liverpool, served with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War and was in Italy when the news came through that the war in Europe was over.

We celebrated in a field, the Signallers set up speakers playing music and the locals came out and joined in too, happy that the war was finally over. I heard about the street parties back home and I’m looking forward to being part of these 70th Anniversary celebrations.

Friday 8 May

VE Day itself (Friday 8 May) will be a day of remembrance. A service of remembrance will be held at The Cenotaph, including a national 2 minute silence at 3pm, marking the moment Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech formally announcing the end of the war.

The Department for Education will be encouraging schools across the country to observe the 2 minute silence and to celebrate and commemorate in their own way – for example, by reading out Churchill’s historic speech, holding special VE Day-themed assemblies or organising tea parties.

In the evening a chain of over 100 beacons will be lit across the UK. Local communities that have already made plans for the day include Great Yarmouth, Island of Unst, Craig-Y-Dorth, Monmouthshire; Stokesby, Norfolk; and Lowestoft, Suffolk.

 

Saturday 9 May

Saturday 9 May will be a day of celebration. At around 11am, cathedrals across the country, from Durham to Canterbury, will be invited to ring their bells in celebration.

Festivities will peak with a star-studded 1940s themed concert held on Horse Guards Parade on Saturday night, featuring a line-up of international recording artists, stars and celebrities. The show will be one of the highlights of the year and will be broadcast that evening on BBC One.

 

Sunday 10 May

A service of thanksgiving will be held at Westminster Abbey, attended by veterans and their families, members of the Royal Family, representatives of allied nations and Commonwealth countries who fought alongside Britain in the conflict, along with other diplomatic representatives and senior members of government and the armed forces.

Following the service, there will be a parade of current personnel and veterans, supported by bands, from the Abbey along Whitehall, past the balcony of HM Treasury where Winston Churchill made his historic appearance before crowds on VE Day. Veterans who have taken part in the service and parade will then be invited to a reception in St James’s Park hosted by The Royal British Legion.

During the afternoon there will be a flypast of current and historic aircraft from the Royal Air Force – including the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster of the famous Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which played such a famous role in the European War. The Spitfire, with its unmistakable design, won the admiration of many for its daring role in the Battle of Britain, engaging in dogfights in the sky against enemy aircraft in the defence of the nation. The Avro Lancaster is perhaps the most famous of the aircraft used by Bomber Command during the Second World War, used in many raids on enemy territory, including the famous Dambuster Raids on the Ruhr Valley.

Central London will also be transported back to the 1940s by a display of period vehicles from the 1940s in St James’s Park.

Further details on the commemorations, including event listings, are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ve-day-70th-anniversary. Information on how veterans will be able to join in the London celebrations, including how to get involved in the lighting of the VE Day Beacons on 8 May and participating in the parade on 10 May, will be announced shortly.

In the coming weeks, the government will also announce plans to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, which will include a day of major events on 15 August 2015.

 

Notes to editors

  1. The line-up for the Horse Guards concert and details of how to get tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.
  2. The Royal British Legion was recently awarded £6 million of LIBOR funding by HM Treasury to support the work of commemorations over the next 5 years: they will use part of these funds for VE Day 70.
  3. VE Day images are available to license directly from the IWM Archive. To license images for press use, please browse the collection, take note of the reference number on the image and contact the IWM image sales team directly: Telephone: 020 7416 5215/5309 Email: imagesales@iwm.org.uk.
  4. For the latest news, follow MoD on Twitter at @DefenceHQ or search #VEDay70
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11 août 2014 1 11 /08 /août /2014 20:30
Des parlementaires anglais réclament une intervention en Irak

Des hommes de l'armée de l'air britannique assurent le chargement de matériels humanitaires à destination des réfugiés irakiens dans Hercules C130, mercredi, sur la base RAF Brize Norton, au nord-ouest de Londres. - photo UK MoD

 

11/08/2014 Par Iseult Cornalin - LeFigaro.fr

 

Pour l'instant, les Britanniques se sont cantonné à la distribution d'aide humanitaire.

 

Et si Londres intervenait militairement en Irak ? Cette hypothèse, bien peu crédible jusqu'à peu, en raison des profondes cicatrices provoquées par l'opération menée par l'ancien premier ministre Tony Blair en 2003, pourrait devenir réalité. C'est en tout cas le souhait de nombreux parlementaires.

 

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 16:50
Les deux porte-avions britanniques avec tremplins et F-35B - crédits ROYAL NAVY

Les deux porte-avions britanniques avec tremplins et F-35B - crédits ROYAL NAVY

Sep 4, 2013 (UPI)

 

London - The British navy still doesn't have a grip on spiraling costs for an ambitious aircraft carrier expansion program, House of Commons lawmakers asserted this week.

 

A report issued Tuesday by the Commons Public Accounts Committee criticized the Ministry of Defense for continuing cost overruns in the program to build two new aircraft carriers and equip them with U.S.-built F-35B "jump-jet" joint strike fighters.

 

Committee members said the soaring costs have cast doubt on the government's ability to deliver the long-planned upgrades and puts it at serious risk.

 

The cross-party panel said it was "still not convinced that the Ministry of Defense has this program under control," adding the costly effort "remains subject to huge technical and commercial risks, with the potential for further uncontrolled growth in costs."

 

Margaret Hodge, the Labor Party member of Parliament who chairs the committee, pointed to a Defense Ministry decision in February 2012 to scrap plans to use F-35C fighters and instead revert to the original F-35Bs as an example of out-of-control spending.

 

 

"This U-turn, which will cost the taxpayer at least ($115 million), is the latest in an ongoing saga that has seen billions of pounds of taxpayers' money down the drain," she wrote.

 

"When this program got the green light in 2007, we were supposed to get two aircraft carriers, available from 2016 and 2018, at a cost to the taxpayer of ($5.7 billion).

 

"We are now on course to spend ($8.5 billion) and have no aircraft carrier capability for nearly a decade."

 

Because of the situation, the lawmakers declared the 2007 contract signed by the previous Labor government for the carriers was no longer "fit for purpose" because there are not enough incentives for contractors to cut costs.

 

Ministers, meanwhile, said they are trying to juggle the need for state-of the-art technology with controlling costs, the BBC reported.

 

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told the broadcaster the Defense Ministry was negotiating with contractors to bring costs under control and praised the recognition the original contract was no longer sufficient to do so.

 

Under the massive program, Britain is constructing two carriers -- the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. The biggest bone of contention has been the production costs of the aircraft that are due to fly from them, which could rise much further, the Financial Times reported.

 

Britain's National Audit Office determined this year the cost of the vertical-landing fighters has more than doubled since their development began 2001, with higher costs possible if orders don't reach expectations.

 

The Commons report also renewed fears delays in the development of the Crowsnest early warning radar system for the carriers means the vessels won't be equipped with the radar until two years after the first one is deployed in 2020.

 

But defense officials denied that, telling the newspaper the Crowsnest program will provide "an initial operating capability by the time the first carrier is in operational service."

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3 septembre 2013 2 03 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Britain Says No Plans For New Syria Vote

Sep. 2, 2013 – Defense news (AFP)

 

LONDON — Britain’s government said on Monday that it had “no plans” to hold a second parliamentary vote on joining military action against Syria even if the US Congress approves air strikes next week.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in the lower House of Commons on Thursday on the principle of taking action to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, and pledged to respect parliament’s wishes.

 

But after US President Barack Obama announced on Saturday that he would ask Congress to authorize military action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime there has been pressure on Cameron to hold a fresh vote.

 

Cameron’s official spokesman said on Monday: “Parliament has spoken and that is why the government has absolutely no plans to go back to parliament.”

 

“The position we are in is that parliament has expressed its will and that is the basis on which we will proceed,” added the spokesman.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are in coalition with Cameron’s Conservatives, said meanwhile he could “not foresee any circumstances” under which the government would seek a second vote.

 

“We’re not going to keep asking the same question of parliament again and again,” Clegg said. “I can’t foresee any circumstances that we would go back to parliament on the same question, on the same issue.”

 

But the careful wording of the government’s statements left room for supporters of military action against Syria to keep pressing for a new vote once US lawmakers have decided.

 

Former international development minister Andrew Mitchell said nothing should be ruled out.

 

“It may be, after lengthy and careful consideration, (that) Congress affirms its support for the president’s plans and, in the light of that, our parliament may want to consider this matter further,” he told BBC radio.

 

The US Congress is to debate Obama’s decision to attack Syria during the week starting on September 9 when they return to work, its speaker said.

 

Obama cited the British vote when defending his decision to let US lawmakers vote.

 

Cameron suffered the most humiliating defeat of his three years in power when Conservative rebels joined the opposition Labour party in voting against military action by 285 to 272.

 

Labour leader Ed Miliband had called for “compelling” evidence that Assad’s regime had gassed its own people before launching an attack.

 

Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister would keep pressing for a political solution to the Syria conflict at the G20 meeting of world leaders in Saint Petersburg later this week.

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