This weekend military veterans from around the world; Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, USA, Wales and Zimbabwe, will attend the annual gathering of Veterans For Peace UK (VFP UK) in London.
The weekend includes a public conference on Saturday and culminates with a remembrance ceremony at The Cenotaph in London on Sunday 11 November, Armistice Day.
Full details including times and locations for the Annual Gathering can be found by clicking this LINK.
On Thursday 8 November VFP UK will be hosting the first cinema showing of the documentary “War School” at the Prince Charles cinema in the West End.
Annual General Meeting
On Friday 9 November VFP UK will hold their AGM at Friends House in Euston. Which will include a panel and discussion on the campaign for the UK to become a permanently neutral country.
On the evening of Friday 9 November VFP UK will be hosting a music event at The Water Rats in Kings Cross. Entry is free, donations will be kindly accepted on the door.
On Saturday 10 November VFP UK will host a public conference at Friends House, Euston. In the morning there will be a presentation from German veterans Florian Pfaff and Jurgen Rose. In the afternoon there will be a presentation from US veterans Barry Ladendorf and Dennis Stourt on their experiences during the Vietnam War.
On Sunday 11 November VFP UK and veterans from around the world will walk to The Cenotaph in Whitehall under the banner Never Again to carry out a solemn ceremony of remembrance.
Veterans For Peace UK is a politically independent ex-services organisation of men and women who have served in conflicts from WW2 through to Afghanistan. As a result of our collective experience we firmly believe that “War is not the solution to the problems we face in the 21st Century”. Our annual gathering attracts veterans from around the world who are committed to serving the cause of world peace.
I again watched the RBL Festival of Remembrance (via Youtube) from the comfort of my living room in South Carolina. I asked my wife if she would like to watch it with me to which she replied ‘no, because it’s allways the same’. Her words resonated with me and I had to agree with her that that is indeed the case.
Why do we celebrate, year after year a colossal failure of humanity and poltical and military incompetence year afer year? As a retired member of the RAF myself and someone who holds the UK Armed Forces in high esteem, I struggle with my ambvivilance and second guess myself. But then I watch more ex service members interviewed for the programme missing limbs and looking nothing like they were changed for ever, being paraded and applauded one moment and then forgotton as soon as life moved forward.
Is there a time when ‘remebrance’ from this perspective needs to end? We do not celebrate Trafalgar Day or other highly significant battles pivotal to national history so why do we continue to mark this abhorant more recent event? Today, the incompetence of the high command that sent so many young men to their deaths would be something that would be hushed up (Stephen Fry’ s General Melachard a good case in point to how accurate that blinding incompetence was) and silenced and not celebrated as it is today. One could also ask what was the point to any of it as Europe is held with utter contempt today by the British public as the current Brexit fiasco is almost to the point of bringing down a sitting prime minister. We should never forget such abhorant events like WW1, WW2 and our current oil and Petro Dollar wars, but only becuase they all have the same relevant questions……when will they end?
Wishing once again we could have been with you all.The past two years have seen us with our share of problems.In our and in our minds we turn to you on Remembrance full of pride and respect and love for all of you.We go to our local cenotaph with our White Poppies on and our hearts full of sadness for wasted lives for the greedy on their balcony and the politicians with there false care.
Brave men and women of VFP we need you now more than ever x
I hoped to walk respectfully with supporters behind you veterans today, but didn’t make it. And three or so years after hearing one of yours, an ex-para talk excellently at Guildford, I only looked at your website last night, and saw your other events going on in London from Thursday.
Can you inform me when and where else the film “War School” may be filmed?
The vet I mention above said in his talk that a UK weapons manufacturer of great size and serial notoriety – think, plane and missile sales to Saudis with which to obliterate Yemen – was funding a great part of the RBL Remembrance “season” marketing budget. Is it known if this is still the case?
I am the son of a regular army officer, an old infantry warrior who was with the Commandos for D Day, and later the amphibious landing at Walcheren, then served with his regiment in Peshawar before Partition, Korea, Malaya, Aden. He died last year, and had obituaries in two Scottish newspapers. While I doubt that he would have gone along with the stance of Veterans for Peace UK, being an “old school” loyal servant of the Established Order, and may not have understood your motivations fully, I feel confident that he would have had a quiet respect for you all and probably a realisation of the immense and different sort of courage and integrity and honour which you all show; he may even have seen in it as a form of courage which you all are repeatedly displaying in your campaign and message, which is purer and harder than he and you, as men and women drawn to soldiering, had to muster in battle in order to follow orders and “get on and do the job in hand to the best of our abilities.” Like so many veterans who saw large-scale conflict, he spoke little of that, and would never see himself as any sort of hero.
At least in WW2, as I have been reading about it in “With the Jocks – a soldier’s struggle for Europe, 1944-5”, written by pre-war artist and pacifist, turned extremely able platoon commander, Peter White, in putting up with the horror, extreme cold with freezing wetness, danger of shrapnel rain on half-flooded slit trenches, severe lack of sleep, hunger, continual loss of brothers-in-arms, usually going into confused attacks on unknown terrain after 36 hours of all those deprivations and trauma…at least there was a clarity in WW2 for all of them why and what they were fighting. That was what made the author feel he had to out aside his pacifism to share that burden.
In light of remarks by Mike Hastie, vet medic of Viet Nam, about the evil wrought large in The Pentagon, and of the crazy long war years of destruction of Syria by constantly shifting unholy alliances, while the Yemen catastrophe is allowed to happen, we can surely shout loud in our age of WMDs that war is a totally redundant way of solving conflicts!? Doomed we may look, with the double whammy of Climate Change and its denial by the US Republicans with power – but let’s “light a candle instead of cursing the darkness”, as you men and women do. Let’s get more educated and intelligent and evangelistic about non-violence, and hold on Martin Luther King Jnr’s hope and belief “that the arc of history bends towards justice!”
(but tho I may write grand sentiments, I’m no leader like my dad was!!).
Thanks, you ladies and gents, for leading the way – of truth.
We are not Veterans, but Quakers and will join you in solidarity again this year as you march to the cenotaph on Sunday.
In peace and friendship.
As an Army medic in Viet Nam, I am more convinced than ever what Martin Luther King Jr. said on April 4, 1967: ” The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” The most evil piece of real estate that has ever existed on the face of the Earth, is the Pentagon. If the world does not stand up and confront the United States Government, we as a species are doomed.
Debate about the Armistice
There needs to be discussion about conflict resolution.
Please note “The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading Government plans to commemorate the First World War Centenary with a range of events and programmes.”
Please see who is involved.
You can contact us at:
The Armistice Team
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street,
Warmest good wishes for a successful and worthwhile gathering from Peace Action Durham.
VforP Michael Elstub will be contributing to an Alternative Remembrance Event in Durham
We look forward to meeting him!
Thank you for these series of events – I hope you are seen and heard.
Can I suggest that in the headline to this post that you say Veterans for Peace ….
As many military veterans will be gathering this week and it is not clear from your headline that you are ‘for Peace.’