Tag Archives: Britain

100 years on we shall remember them: Britain commemorates its WWI dead

100 years on we shall remember them: Britain commemorates its WWI deadThey may no longer be with us – the last of their number, Harry Patch, died in 2009, aged 111 – but we will remember them. Around the country thousands of people will pay tribute on Sunday to those who died on foreign soil or at sea for their country, and those at home who endured the anguish and hardship of global war. On the 100th anniversary of the Armistice events will take place in every corner of the British Isles to commemorate the sacrifice of a generation during the First World War, which only came to an end at 11am on November 11, 1918, after an almost incalculable loss of life. The numbers still have the power to shock. Between 1914 and 1918, 886,345 UK troops were killed. Another 228,569 troops from the wider British Empire were killed, more than 74,000 of them from India. Each one was a son, father, husband or brother who willingly or not, whether with courage or almost paralysed by fear, died in a conflict whose causes and conclusion were beyond their control. In addition there were 6.32 million civilians killed when total war visited their communities, 109,000 of them in the UK , 300,000 in France and 426,000 in Germany. The acts of remembrance being organised to commemorate this loss will be as varied as they will be moving. They range from the formal state occasion of the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, where Prime Minister Theresa May and the Prince of Wales will lay wreaths, and a special service at Westminster Abbey being attended by the Queen and other senior members of the Royal family, to the Yorkshire town of Otley, where posters will be hung on more than 100 doors to remember the man who lived there but never returned from the front line. In addition each house in the town will also display a knitted poppy, with another 16,000 installed along the railings outside of All Saints Parish Church. The familiar chimes of Big Ben will mark the centenary of the Armistice, despite the clock tower being covered in scaffolding for conservation works. The 13.7 tonne bell, which hangs in the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster, will sound 11 times at 11am today for the traditional two minutes of remembrance. It will strike a further 11 times at 12.30 with bells ringing across the UK and worldwide as part of a nationwide programme of events to mark the end of the war. Wire Sculptor Jackie Lantelli from Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, England, with her Wire Soldiers installation at St John's Churchyard, Slimbridge,  Credit: PAUL NICHOLLS Many of today’s commemorative events have been communal efforts, drawing in whole families to remember the dead. In the West Midlands town of Walsall almost 100 houses in one street have been covered with 24,000 red poppies and the black silhouette statues of soldiers, symbolising the men from the area who were killed. Geoff Talbot, 74, one of those who decorated his home, said: "Lots of people have put a lot of effort to do this. In those days Aldridge was only a village, but a lot of local young men left and never came back. It is an absolutely nice way to do a tribute for them." A huge wall of 2,500 poppies also festoons the Bell Inn in nearby Willenhall, after locals painstakingly knitted the individual flowers by hand over a 24-month period. The day will not be without the kind of ironic humour one imagines would have been appreciated by the Tommies whose death in their thousands across the Western Front remain embedded in popular memory. Thwaites brewery, in Lancashire, is honouring one of WWI's Victoria Cross winners by naming the Shire horse that deliver its beer around Blackburn after him. The two-year-old gelding is being named ‘Drummer’ in honour of the East Lancashire Regiment's first WWI Victoria Cross winner, Drummer John Bent, aged 23. Bent was commended after saving a soldier from no-man's land and leading his platoon into action under fire after their officers and NCO's were all killed on 1st November 1914, near Le Gheer, Belgium. Drummer Bent’s was the 24th of a total of 628 VCs awarded during WWI. As well as recalling his heroism, the name 'Drummer' also commemorates the role of thousands of horses in the Great War. White van driver Christopher Curtis, 32, from Oldham, who served for 11 years as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, has sketched the silhouette of a soldier standing over a field of poppies with the words "Lest We Forget" in the dirt on the back of his van. In Bolton, criminals sentenced to unpaid work orders by magistrates were deployed to decorate lamp posts, the town hall and other landmarks in the Lancashire town with 500 giant poppies. The factory in Aylesford, Kent, that makes poppies has worked around the clock for the first time to meet the unprecedented demand for the symbol of Remembrance Day, producing more than 1,500 a day for the past two and a half weeks. Mandy Barker, Head Flower Arranger, and Julia Weston, Volunteer, arrange flowers on the Remembrance Cross for Sunday's Service at York Minster Credit: Charlotte Graham/The Telegraph In a measure of the continuity of the tradition of remembrance a box of poppies believed to be from one of the early Poppy Appeals has been discovered in an old suitcase in Cardiff.. Bernie Axtell, 77, found them while searching for paperwork in his home. They are believed to date from before the Second World War and will be brought to the Cenotaph by Royal British Legion representatives today. Mr Axtell was handed the box of poppies by his friend Vic Luckhurst about 30 years ago, while working for the Legion in Street, Somerset. “I said to Vic that I would find something special to do with them,” he said. “Thirty years is a very long time to wait, but now they are doing something extraordinary." In Portsmouth a 24-hour guard of honour was being held at the city’s Cenotaph, with 200 people, including schoolchildren, veterans and serving members of the armed forces, working in 15-minute slots to stand by the monument until 10am today. Meanwhile silhouettes of soldiers from the First World War have been projected onto famous landmarks around the country by the There But Not There project to raise money for mental health charities. There include Marble Arch, Tate Modern, HMS Belfast, the Angel of the North, the Tyne Bridge, Titanic Belfast and Edinburgh Castle. In Ilfracombe, Devon, it was the bodies of people that made their mark yesterday, recreating a famous photograph from 100 years ago by spelling out the word ‘peace’ on nearby Capstone Hill to remember those who died so that we might preserve it. Residents of a Devon town have re-enacted a classic photograph to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Locals and members of the public alike helped to recreate the original picture from 1919 by spelling out the word 'PEACE' on Capstone Hill in Ilfracombe.  Credit: MARK PASSMORE/APEX The original picture from 1919 in which residents of Ilfracombe spell out the word 'peace' Credit: Apex News and Pictures  



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100 years on we shall remember them: Britain commemorates its WWI dead

100 years on we shall remember them: Britain commemorates its WWI deadThey may no longer be with us – the last of their number, Harry Patch, died in 2009, aged 111 – but we will remember them. Around the country thousands of people will pay tribute on Sunday to those who died on foreign soil or at sea for their country, and those at home who endured the anguish and hardship of global war. On the 100th anniversary of the Armistice events will take place in every corner of the British Isles to commemorate the sacrifice of a generation during the First World War, which only came to an end at 11am on November 11, 1918, after an almost incalculable loss of life. The numbers still have the power to shock. Between 1914 and 1918, 886,345 UK troops were killed. Another 228,569 troops from the wider British Empire were killed, more than 74,000 of them from India. Each one was a son, father, husband or brother who willingly or not, whether with courage or almost paralysed by fear, died in a conflict whose causes and conclusion were beyond their control. In addition there were 6.32 million civilians killed when total war visited their communities, 109,000 of them in the UK , 300,000 in France and 426,000 in Germany. The acts of remembrance being organised to commemorate this loss will be as varied as they will be moving. They range from the formal state occasion of the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, where Prime Minister Theresa May and the Prince of Wales will lay wreaths, and a special service at Westminster Abbey being attended by the Queen and other senior members of the Royal family, to the Yorkshire town of Otley, where posters will be hung on more than 100 doors to remember the man who lived there but never returned from the front line. In addition each house in the town will also display a knitted poppy, with another 16,000 installed along the railings outside of All Saints Parish Church. The familiar chimes of Big Ben will mark the centenary of the Armistice, despite the clock tower being covered in scaffolding for conservation works. The 13.7 tonne bell, which hangs in the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster, will sound 11 times at 11am today for the traditional two minutes of remembrance. It will strike a further 11 times at 12.30 with bells ringing across the UK and worldwide as part of a nationwide programme of events to mark the end of the war. Wire Sculptor Jackie Lantelli from Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, England, with her Wire Soldiers installation at St John's Churchyard, Slimbridge,  Credit: PAUL NICHOLLS Many of today’s commemorative events have been communal efforts, drawing in whole families to remember the dead. In the West Midlands town of Walsall almost 100 houses in one street have been covered with 24,000 red poppies and the black silhouette statues of soldiers, symbolising the men from the area who were killed. Geoff Talbot, 74, one of those who decorated his home, said: "Lots of people have put a lot of effort to do this. In those days Aldridge was only a village, but a lot of local young men left and never came back. It is an absolutely nice way to do a tribute for them." A huge wall of 2,500 poppies also festoons the Bell Inn in nearby Willenhall, after locals painstakingly knitted the individual flowers by hand over a 24-month period. The day will not be without the kind of ironic humour one imagines would have been appreciated by the Tommies whose death in their thousands across the Western Front remain embedded in popular memory. Thwaites brewery, in Lancashire, is honouring one of WWI's Victoria Cross winners by naming the Shire horse that deliver its beer around Blackburn after him. The two-year-old gelding is being named ‘Drummer’ in honour of the East Lancashire Regiment's first WWI Victoria Cross winner, Drummer John Bent, aged 23. Bent was commended after saving a soldier from no-man's land and leading his platoon into action under fire after their officers and NCO's were all killed on 1st November 1914, near Le Gheer, Belgium. Drummer Bent’s was the 24th of a total of 628 VCs awarded during WWI. As well as recalling his heroism, the name 'Drummer' also commemorates the role of thousands of horses in the Great War. White van driver Christopher Curtis, 32, from Oldham, who served for 11 years as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, has sketched the silhouette of a soldier standing over a field of poppies with the words "Lest We Forget" in the dirt on the back of his van. In Bolton, criminals sentenced to unpaid work orders by magistrates were deployed to decorate lamp posts, the town hall and other landmarks in the Lancashire town with 500 giant poppies. The factory in Aylesford, Kent, that makes poppies has worked around the clock for the first time to meet the unprecedented demand for the symbol of Remembrance Day, producing more than 1,500 a day for the past two and a half weeks. Mandy Barker, Head Flower Arranger, and Julia Weston, Volunteer, arrange flowers on the Remembrance Cross for Sunday's Service at York Minster Credit: Charlotte Graham/The Telegraph In a measure of the continuity of the tradition of remembrance a box of poppies believed to be from one of the early Poppy Appeals has been discovered in an old suitcase in Cardiff.. Bernie Axtell, 77, found them while searching for paperwork in his home. They are believed to date from before the Second World War and will be brought to the Cenotaph by Royal British Legion representatives today. Mr Axtell was handed the box of poppies by his friend Vic Luckhurst about 30 years ago, while working for the Legion in Street, Somerset. “I said to Vic that I would find something special to do with them,” he said. “Thirty years is a very long time to wait, but now they are doing something extraordinary." In Portsmouth a 24-hour guard of honour was being held at the city’s Cenotaph, with 200 people, including schoolchildren, veterans and serving members of the armed forces, working in 15-minute slots to stand by the monument until 10am today. Meanwhile silhouettes of soldiers from the First World War have been projected onto famous landmarks around the country by the There But Not There project to raise money for mental health charities. There include Marble Arch, Tate Modern, HMS Belfast, the Angel of the North, the Tyne Bridge, Titanic Belfast and Edinburgh Castle. In Ilfracombe, Devon, it was the bodies of people that made their mark yesterday, recreating a famous photograph from 100 years ago by spelling out the word ‘peace’ on nearby Capstone Hill to remember those who died so that we might preserve it. Residents of a Devon town have re-enacted a classic photograph to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Locals and members of the public alike helped to recreate the original picture from 1919 by spelling out the word 'PEACE' on Capstone Hill in Ilfracombe.  Credit: MARK PASSMORE/APEX The original picture from 1919 in which residents of Ilfracombe spell out the word 'peace' Credit: Apex News and Pictures  



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A U.K. Billionaire Stopped the Press From Reporting Allegations of Harassment – Raising Questions of #MeToo in Britain

A U.K. Billionaire Stopped the Press From Reporting Allegations of Harassment – Raising Questions of #MeToo in BritainTopshop owner Sir Philip Green denies the allegations



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Britain 'concerned' after Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

Britain 'concerned' after Hong Kong bans pro-independence partyThe UK government has demanded China respect the autonomy of Hong Kong after Beijing banned a political party in the city that supports independence from China. “We are concerned by the decision” of the government, the Foreign Office said in a statement. “The UK does not support Hong Kong independence, but Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its rights and freedoms are central to its way of life, and it is important they are fully respected.” The ban was instituted on Monday on the grounds that the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) was found a threat to national security as Beijing continues to stamp out challenges to its sovereignty. It is the first such ban on a political party since the former British colony was handed back to China by the UK in 1997. Police requested the ban in July under the Societies Ordinance, which allows groups to be prohibited in the interests of national security and public safety.  Under the move, it is now illegal to be a party member, raise money for the group and to participate or act on behalf of the organization. Anyone in violation could face up to three years in prison and thousands in fines, according to a government notice posted online. Pro-democracy demonstrations in the special administrative region in 2014 largely failed to usher in political reforms. Since then, activists have continued speaking out. However, pro-independence supporters have been barred from running for office, including Andy Chan, a founding member of HKNP. Others have been disqualified from the legislative council.  The ban came one day after a controversial high-speed rail link opened connecting Beijing to Hong Kong, a move that also stoked concerns about the growing reach of China into the city diminishing its autonomy.



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Britain warns will not pay Brexit cash if no EU deal

Britain warns will not pay Brexit cash if no EU dealBrexit minister Dominic Raab issued a fresh warning Thursday that Britain would not pay the financial settlement promised to the EU after Brexit if there is no divorce deal. Raab was speaking ahead of a meeting of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet on the British government’s planning for a no-deal scenario.



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EU's Juncker confirms aims for close ties with Britain after Brexit

EU's Juncker confirms aims for close ties with Britain after BrexitEuropean Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday renewed a pledge of close trade and security ties with Britain after Brexit but said the European Union would not compromise on key withdrawal terms. Delivering his annual state-of-the-union speech to the European Parliament, Juncker said the EU will not allow Britain to participate only in some parts of the bloc’s single market after Brexit without honoring all of the rules.



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At Pennsylvania Rally, Trump Can't Quite Figure Out What Great Britain Is

At Pennsylvania Rally, Trump Can't Quite Figure Out What Great Britain IsPresident Donald Trump took a moment during his political rally in Wilkes-



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Britain urges UAE not to press ahead with attack on Yemen's 'lifeline' port

Britain urges UAE not to press ahead with attack on Yemen's 'lifeline' portBritain has urged the UAE not to press ahead with an assault on Yemen’s main port following UN warnings that the attack could leave hundreds of thousands dead in a country already on the brink of famine.  UAE forces are poised to attack the port of Hodeidah as early as Tuesday as part of their campaign with Saudi Arabia to defeat the Houthi rebels who have seized much of north Yemen.  Around 70 per cent of Yemen’s imports, including the vast majority of its food, comes through Hodeidah and the port is described as the country’s “lifeline”. The UN said last week that up to 250,000 people could die if the port is attacked or besieged.     “We will continue to discourage any attack on Hodeidah port and will continue to use our influence to do so,” Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, told the House of Commons.   The Department for International Development (Dfid) warned international aid groups on Saturday that diplomatic negotiations to avert the attack were failing.  “We are doing everything we can through diplomatic channels to discourage an assault on Hodeidah. However despite these actions, a military assault now looks imminent,” Dfid said in an email to aid groups.   At least eight million people in Yemen are on the verge of famine Credit: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images By Monday evening, diplomatic efforts to dissuade the UAE were still underway and British officials said they had not lost hope of averting the attack. “It could still be that a negotiated solution is found,” said Mr Burt.   The UK sells weapons to both the UAE and Saudi Arabia and provides logistical support for their military coalition in Yemen. Mr Burt resisted calls from opposition MPs to halt arms supplies or to ensure that UK weapons were not used in the Hodeidah attack.   Several aid agency figures said they believed that the attack was likely to begin on Tuesday, when international attention was focused on the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un in Singapore.  The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, which includes the UAE, did not respond to a request for comment. Extremely concerned that life-saving organisations are not getting the security guarantees they need to work safely in #Yemen. All parties to the conflict must allow safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all parts of Yemen.— Alistair Burt (@AlistairBurtUK) June 10, 2018 UN officials believe the US will play the deciding role in whether or not the attack goes ahead and that the UAE would not move forward without a green light from the White House. “So far they have a blinking yellow light from the US,” one official said.  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said he was “closely following” the situation but did not call for the UAE to hold fire. “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports,” he said.  The Houthi rebels took control of Hodeidah in 2014 and drove Yemeni government forces out. The Saudi-led military coalition alleges that the Houthis are using the port to smuggle weapons from Iran, including ballistic missiles which have been fired into Saudi Arabia.  As part of a compromise deal to avert an attack, the UN has offered to co-manage the port alongside the Houthis. The offer is intended to give the Saudi coalition confidence that Hodeidah is not being used for weapons smuggling.  Mike Pompeo said he was closely watching the developments in Yemen Credit: UPI / Barcroft Images Aid groups fear that the compromise will not satisfy the coalition and that the UAE will press ahead with the attack in the belief that if they take Hodeidah they can force the Houthis to surrender across Yemen.  Dr Mariam Aldogani, a field manager for Save the Children, said two medical facilities had closed already as UAE forces approach the southern edge of Hodeidah. “People are afraid. If they attack it will be a disaster,” she said. “There is no future. For more than three years we have been through war and it is enough.” Around 22 million people in Yemen are dependent on aid, with at least eight million on the verge of famine, according to the UN. A Saudi coalition airstrike hit a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) cholera treatment centre in the northern town of Abs early on Monday morning, the aid group said. No one was injured. João Martins, MSF's head of mission Yemen, said the strike showed “complete disrespect for medical facilities and patients. Whether intentional or a result of negligence, it is totally unacceptable.”



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Britain says it supports Israel's right to defend itself against Iran

Britain says it supports Israel's right to defend itself against IranBritain supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression, Prime Minister Theresa May told her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Thursday. Israel said it had attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries. “The Prime Minister condemned the Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli forces, and said we strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression,” May’s office said in a statement.



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Senior North Korean espionage official 'may have fled to Britain after defecting'

Senior North Korean espionage official 'may have fled to Britain after defecting'North Korea has launched an international manhunt for one of its most senior counter-espionage officers, who disappeared in late February and is believed to have defected, possibly to Britain, according to a media report in South Korea.  The official has been identified as a Mr Kang, a colonel in his 50s with the Ministry of State Security and responsible for monitoring dissident and espionage efforts in Russia, China and south-east Asia. He disappeared from the Zhongpu International Hotel in the Chinese city of Shenyang on February 25, sources in China and North Korea told the Seoul-based DailyNK news website.  The hotel was previously known as the Chilbosan Hotel and was operated jointly by the North Korean and Chinese governments. The hotel has reportedly served as a key base for North Korean hackers operating in China.  The sources claim Mr Kang had been in charge of directing intelligence-gathering and ground operations, as well as overseeing the obtaining of data for North Korea’s nuclear programme by arranging covert exchanges between scientists.  Kim Jong-un | A history of executions – family, allies and rivals The report added that he is understood to have fled with a large amount of foreign currency and a “machine capable of printing American dollars”.  Mr Kang was considered to be among the elite of North Korean society because he is a direct descendant of Kang Pan-sok, a key figure in the regime’s history as a leader of the guerrilla campaign against the Japanese occupiers in the 1930s.  Given his lineage and his knowledge of North Korean espionage efforts, the sources claimed at least 10 of Pyongyang’s agents had been dispatched with orders directly from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, to assassinate him before he can be granted asylum in Europe. In numbers | North Korean defectors “Despite presently being unable to locate Mr Kang, the search is still under way”, the DailyNK reported. “It is presumed that he has gone to France or Great Britain”.  Another source said Mr Kang had defected after members of Group 109 – charged with rooting out foreign media smuggled into North Korea – searched his son’s home and found documents that indicated he had secretly earned money while stationed overseas. Summoned to Pyongyang to explain himself, Mr Kang instead chose to flee.  His family, however, are still in North Korea because the authorities changed the rules permitting senior officials to be accompanied by their immediate family after Thae Yong-ho, his wife and two children defected from Pyongyang’s embassy in London in 2016. 



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