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United Kingdom



  • Berlin Denies Rift with UK over WWI Centenary

    The German government has denied British media reports that it tried to influence the tone of Britain's planned ceremonies to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. A spokesman has confirmed Germany sent an envoy to London to discuss the plans, though.The German Foreign Ministry on Monday denied allegations that it was attempting to influence Britain's plans to commemorate the 2014 centenary of the outbreak of World War I.A spokesman for the ministry confirmed reports that it had sent an envoy to London in early August to discuss the centenary ceremonies. But he added: "There was no intervention of any kind in how our friends and partners intend to shape their commemoration of World War I."The Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday that the visit by Andreas Meitzner, a German diplomat tasked with coordinating European commemoration plans for the centenary, was prompted by German concerns that the ceremonies might have an excessively "declamatory tone," placing more emphasis on victory rather than reconciliation....



  • Hometown memorials for Victoria Cross heroes

    Hundreds new memorials honouring those awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War are to be created to mark the conflict’s centenary.Commemorative paving stones will be laid in the home towns of the 480 British-born VC recipients, under plans announced by the Government on Sunday, 99 years to the day since the war broke out.The scheme to celebrate the winners of Britain’s highest award for battlefield valour will be a centrepiece of the events being planned from 2014 to 2018 to mark the conflict 100 years on.Ministers have also unveiled plans to provide extra help to people wanting to renovate previously neglected war memorials, in what is significant step forward for The Sunday Telegraph’s Lest We Forget campaign....



  • Lost Edinburgh: The Great Fire of Edinburgh

    THE impact of the Great Fire of Edinburgh in 1824 helped to change the face of firefighting forever. It heralded a new era as Scotland’s capital led the way by launching the world’s very first municipal fire service.Edinburgh has been no stranger to devastating blazes throughout its history. The overcrowded and tightly-packed tenements of the Old Town were at constant risk. There is, however, one year in the city’s history which is more intensely associated with such incidents than any other. The unprecedented number of large fires which took place during 1824 threatened to destroy Scotland’s capital and led many citizens to believe that God was out to punish them. The most terrible of these fires ignited on the evening of November 15....



  • Holocaust denial historian David Irving to hold Himmler talk in UK

    Controversial historian David Irving is to hold a talk on SS chief Heinrich Himmler later this month.Irving, who has served time in jail in Austria for holocaust denial, will address audiences in Newcastle Upon Tyne and then Edinburgh, Scotland, on 27 and 28 August.Promotional material for the talks on Irving's website includes the 75-year-old visiting Himmler's field headquarters and also the home in which the prominent Nazi died. The events are likely to draw protests from far-left groups which call Irving a Nazi sympathiser for comments he made about the genocide of Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II....



  • Secret files reveal Queen’s World War III speech

    British government files from 1983, opened to the public for the first time today, include an official’s view of the message Queen Elizabeth II would have broadcast to the nation in the event of World War III.The speech was drafted as part of a war-games exercise codenamed Wintex-Cimex, in which officials in NATO countries acted out responses to an attack by Soviet-led forces. In 1983, they ended the simulated conflict by launching a limited nuclear strike on the enemy.“I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939″ when World War II was declared, the scenario had the queen telling her subjects at noon on Friday March 4, 1983. “Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.”...



  • Memos reveal six months of planning behind Thatcher's top secret visit to the Falklands

    Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 visit to the Falklands was akin to a military operation in its own right and followed six months of meticulous planning.The prime minister visited the islands for four days in January to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of a permanent British settlement.The trip, less than eight months after the end of the conflict, had to be kept secret because of the “significant” threat from Argentina, confidential government files show.The documents, released today by the National Archives under the new 20-year rule, include extensive briefings from the Ministry of Defence marked “Secret UK Eyes A” about travel arrangements....