One of our readers, after reading about the 65th D-Day Anniversary in Normandy asked whether there will also be a 65th anniversary for V.E day in London.
It’s a very good question. We couldn’t find that much happening this year to mark the 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, the date on which the Allied Forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
I spoke with a helpful chap from the Ministry of Defence who said it was currently “being reviewed” however, if “something is arranged it will be no way near the scale of the 60th anniversary”.
The official MOD policy is to commemorate the 25th, 50th, 60th and 100th anniversaries, so this year’s V-E Day does not hold special significance. Occasionally however existing ceremonies are ‘enhanced’. For example, the 90th anniversary of the end of WW1, commemorated on Remembrance Sunday on 11 November 2008, was given special emphasis as there were only 3 surviving veterans from the First World War – Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and Bill Stone, 108. A year later when they passed away there was special service at Westminster Abbey, “Passing of A Generation”
The Imperial War Museum London , The Cabinet War Rooms, and Duxford have no special ceremonies planned for this year‘s VE day, partly falling in line with the MOD but partly also because there are a number of important 70th anniversaries of WW2 events coming up this year which will be marked.
The Cabinet War Rooms commemorate the 70th anniversaries of Churchill becoming Prime Minister (10 May) with a series of events, and Churchill’s famous speech ‘The Few’ (20 August) with a timed RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly-past of the war rooms by two Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft.
The exhibition “Undercover: Life in Churchill’s bunker” marking the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Cabinet War Rooms in 1939 continues till September with the story of working under Churchill in the bunker told by those who worked there. See The Cabinet War Rooms for other 70th anniversary events.
The Imperial War Museum London is opening The Ministry of Food, a major new exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of rationing, to show how the British public adapted to a world of food shortages by ‘Lending a Hand on the Land’, ‘Digging for Victory’ and taking up the ‘War on Waste’. See http://food.iwm.org.uk/ and some interesting footage about war rationing
The Imperial War Museum Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with a number of events in 2010. Notably, on Saturday 15 May you will be able to see the legendary aircraft of the Battle of Britain on ground display alongside contemporary Royal Air Force aircraft. RAF pilots and personnel will meet and mingle with visitors, who will also have the opportunity to chat with Battle of Britain veterans.
There will be a thrilling air show the next day on Sunday 16 , with The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as its highlight, where historic Second World War aircraft and modern RAF aircraft take to the sky. Other special events at Duxford include The Battle of Britain Air Show (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September). For more information, see Imperial War Museum, Duxford
There is one Victory in Europe Day exception in Britain which is worth noting. The annual ceremony by The Soviet War Memorial Trust (SMTF) will be held in the gardens of the Imperial War Museum on May 9; held a day later due to the time difference in Moscow at the time of the German surrender. Although a mainly Soviet memorial, it will be attended by British veterans from the Arctic Convoys which travelled to the Northern ports of the Soviet Union with vital supplies during 1941 and 1945. Winston Churchill described the convoys as the most dangerous of the entire war, and the seamen as among “the bravest men afloat“. A memorial to them was unveiled last August in Orkney, see some of the veterans interviewed.
You might be asking, if only the 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th and 100th anniversaries receive special attention why was the 65th Normandy D-Day landings commemorated last June. The initiative for that celebration was actually taken by the French and the Normandy Veterans Association. Barack Obama had very recently become President and so there was an opportunity for President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Brown of Britain and President Obama to meet.
Please let us know if you know of any VE day, 65th anniversary news – news @ britishtours.com
Ask your tour guide to include the Imperial War Museum, the Cabinet War Rooms, HMS Belfast on your London sightseeing tour, or include Duxford on a Cambridge tour . Also see Normandy tours from London and Paris
British Tours Ltd