More than 120 veterans sign open letter against Brexit on 75th Anniversary of D-Day - People's Vote

More than 120 veterans sign open letter against Brexit on 75th Anniversary of D-Day

122 British veterans have written an open letter warning of the impact that Brexit could have on peace in Europe and calling for a the public to be given the final say.  

Their initiative comes as world leaders, members of the Royal Family and the armed forces gather to mark the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

More than 150,000 soldiers from the UK, US, Canada and France landed on the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944, in what was the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.

By the end of the day thousands had been killed or injured in a bid to secure a foothold along the coast of Nazi occupied France and begin the task of liberating western Europe.

Signatories of today’s letter include those who have served in the army, navy and air force, and who taken part in both past and modern-day conflicts.

They include Brigadier Stephen Goodall who saw action in Burma (Myanmar) during WW2, as well as the co-founders of Veterans for Europe; Stuart Thomson, (Royal Air Force), Duncan Hodgkins (Army) and Steve Gavin (Royal Navy).

 

In the letter, the veterans say:

“As former members of the armed forces and veterans of more recent conflicts, we have served alongside soldiers from other European nations, supporting each other while under fire or facing danger.

“We have learnt that war stinks, that peace is the natural goal for civilisation, and that Europeans are our brothers in arms. But that peace and friendship is now threatened by Brexit. 

 

And they write:

“NATO does not keep the peace in Europe – it keeps peace FOR Europe. It is the EU that keeps peace IN Europe, because when you trade, you do not fight.”

Stuart Thomson, from Worcestershire, was a corporal in the RAF, served in Gulf War 1, twice in the Former Yugoslavia campaign, and is a co-founder of Veterans for Europe.

 

He said:

“On D-Day, seventy-five years ago, our brave forbears went over the Channel to help our friends who had been under oppression for almost 5 years.

“They went there to help the French, Belgians, Dutch, Norwegians, Danes, and even Germans who were oppressed by the Nazis. Thirteen nations, including British, Irish, French and Dutch, also Belgians, Poles and Czechs - from all branches of the services - were part of that liberation coalition. As Europeans, we were stronger together then and should be stronger together now. We also remember the sacrifice of Commonwealth and US forces at this important time.

“During my own service, I’ve been on operations with Dutch and French, been on exercise with Germans, Italians, Danes and Czechs and they are all great soldiers. Brexit has already shown us up to be unreliable allies, and it’s revealed an ugly, dark side of our society. Would Dutch or French soldiers trust us now? What has happened since 2016 is very disturbing, and it’s clear that the military aspects of Brexit weren’t thought about properly.

“Politicians trying to force us out of the EU without going back to the people are cowards, not leaders. They have no mandate and no right to behave this way. Those of us who fought for democracy are demanding a democratic People’s Vote to hold them to account.”

/ends

 

The full text of the letter and list of signatories is here:

Seventy-five years ago, 156,000 brave international troops, including 61,000 Britons, were taking part in Operation Overlord – the largest seaborne invasion in history. Their aim was to secure a foothold on the coast of Normandy and begin the task of freeing mainland Europe from Nazi oppression and persecution.

By the end of D-Day, ten thousand of those soldiers were injured or dead. Remembering their efforts and sacrifices in order to liberate Europe, will be an important and poignant moment.

In the aftermath of WW2, as much of the continent, including Britain – lay in ruins, it was Winston Churchill himself who urged European countries to come together in order to find lasting peace, through “the creation of a European family.”

His words helped inspire the creation of the Common Market, later to become the European Union, with one main purpose – to create lasting peace, by entwining our economies and societies together on a continent once ravaged by war.

NATO does not keep the peace in Europe – it keeps peace FOR Europe. It is the EU that keeps peace IN Europe, because when you trade, you do not fight.

As former members of the armed forces and veterans of more recent conflicts, we have served alongside soldiers from other European nations, supporting each other while under fire or facing danger.

We have learnt that war stinks, that peace is the natural goal for civilisation, and that Europeans are our brothers in arms.

But that peace and friendship is now threatened by Brexit. 

Peace in Europe is not something that should be taken for granted.

We should be proud to lead in Europe, proud that our friends respect us and can rely on us.

That’s why we, as former members of the armed forces, all support a People’s Vote on Brexit.

 

Signatories:

First name

Surname

Location

When served

Rank

Nick

Senior

Merseyside

1988 - 2011

Wing Commander

Ayo

Adebiyi

Kent

1999 - 2012

Sergeant

Richard

Aixill

Staffordshire

1982 -1988

Lance Corporal

Derek

Andrews

France

1975 - 1984

Lt. Commander

Hugh

Atwood

Spain

1997 - 2000

Trooper

Nick

Balsdon

Devon

1985 - 1990

Sapper

Richard

Bardsley

Wiltshire

1983 - 1989

SAC

Linda

Barrett

Liverpool

1976 - 1979

SACW

Richard

Bateman

Derbyshire

1971 - 1984

Staff Sergeant

John

Bellamy

Norfolk

 

Corporal, RAF

Ian

Bennett

 

1972 - 1996

RSM (God)

Patricia

Bennett

 

1976 - 1986

Corporal

Roger

Bishop

Somerset

 

Petty Officer Stores Royal Navy.

Pritam

Biswas

Merseyside

2004 - 2010

Captain

Anthony

Bohan

France

1972 - 1994

WO2

John

Bradshaw

Warwickshire

1964 - 1965

Trooper

Richard

Browne

Belfast

1991 - 1999

Lance Corporal

Clifford

Capel

Germany

1974 - 1996

Major

S.F

Carnson TD

Powys

 

Major (Retd)

Mick

Carter

Sussex

1967 - 1976

Gunner

Andy

Cartwright

 

1981 - 1990

 

Henryk

Chabrowski

Dorset

 

Sqn Ldr

Michael

Chaloner

Yorkshire

 

 

Dr Nigel

Clarke

Belguim

1978 - 1986

 

Harriet

Clough

Bristol

 

Lance Corporal

Sinead

Connolly

 

1991 - 2011

Leading Articifer

Robert

Davis

Suffolk

 

Staff Sergeant

Nick

Dawson

Aberdeen

 

Staff Sergeant

Steve

Dean

Yorkshire

 

Squadron Leader RAF rtd

Mike

Dickinson

Luxembourg

1966 - 1992

 

Clive

Earby

   

LAC

Tony

Ellingham

Nottinghamshire

1965 - 1988

Staff Sergeant

Catherine

Ellison

Belfast

1985 - 2012

Staff Sergeant

Dave

Evans

Bristol

2008 - 2016

 

Jed

Falby

Devon

 

RAF SAC

Peter

Flynn

Devon

1969 - 1070

Signaller

Simon

Frost

Wiltshire

1978 - 2002

Staff Sergeant

Matt

Furey-King

Bristol

2003 - 2009

Corporal

Steve

Gavin

Liverpool

 

Able Seaman (S)

Geoff

Gibbs

Buckinghamshire

Leading Hand, Royal Navy

Helen

Godsall

Stockton-on-Tees

SACW

Stephen

Goodall

Devon

1942-1973

Brigadier

Alex

Gordon

Devon

 

Corporal

Miles

Greenford

Scotland

1982 - 1991

Corporal

Jocelyn

Gronow

Shropshire

 

 

Julian

Gronow

Shropshire

   

Tim

Guy

Buckinghamshire

Signaller

Chris

Hall

London

   

Aiden

Handyside

 

1971 - 2000

WO1

Michael

Harvey

Essex

 

Retired army veteran

Nick

Hawkins

Warwickshire

 

Commander RN

Matthew

Heap

Wiltshire

2000 - 2019

Lieutenant

Gary Hemming

Hemming

Nottinghamshire

1979 - 1984

Junior Technician

John

Hillcoat

Yorkshire

 

.

Duncan

Hodgkins

Warwickshire

1982 - 1992

Corporal

Dave

Holden

Leicestershire

 

Corporal

Richard

Holding

Leicestershire

 

Chief Articifer

Richard

Holding

Leicestershire

 

Royal Navy CCMEA (EL)(SM)

Paul 

Houghland

Pembrokeshire

1986 - 1995

 

Michael

Hughes

Spain

1979 - 1986

Lance Corporal

Graham

James

Gloucestershire

 

Chris

Johnson

Berkshire

1973 - 1998

Sergeant

Patricia

Johnstome

Cornwall

1960 - 1964

 

Maurice Philip

Jones

Wales

 

Sergeant

Philip

Kerrison

Wiltshire

1961 - 1999

Squadron Leader

Murray

Kirkby

Devon

1977 - 2000

Petty Officer

Pete

Knight

Gloucestershire

Sergeant

Steven La Pensée

La Pensée

Hampshire

   

Stuart James

Lawrence

Hampshire

 

Captain MBE, RD, RNR

Richard

Lines

Ceredigion

 

WO1

Harry

Lomax

Warwickshire

 

WO2 {QMS{AC}}     {ex Royal Artillery}

Steve

Lyons

Yorkshire

1968 - 1990

Chief Tech

Simon

MacMichael

Cambridgshire

1984 - 1987

 

Tim

Malburn

Luxembourg

 

AEM2

Phil

Martell

West Midlands

Gunner

Maureen

McGee (now Shaw)

Hampshire

 

Petty Officer Wren

Scott

McIntosh

Scotland

1974 - 1982

Lieutenant

Geoff

Morris

Cheshire

 

Flight Lieutenant (1955- 1958)

Andrew

Morrison

West Sussex

 

Corporal, Royal Marines

Thomas

Murphy

Warwickshire

1985 - 1991

Corporal

Nick

Murray

London

 

Higher Exxecutive Officer

Robert

Mutch

Aberdeenshire

 

 

Colin

Noble

 

1991 - 2013

Corporal

Mark

Nuttall

Yorkshire

1992 - 1999

Leading Nurse

John

O'Connell

Leicestershire

1973 - 1986

Corporal

Matt

Ottaway

Buckinghamshire

Captain

Marc

Owen

London

 

Captain

Mary

Palmer

 

1975 - 1978

SACW

Terry

Patrick

Suffolk

1980 - 1984

Corporal

Christopher

Pelley

Surrey

 

Commander RN

Mark

Pendleton

South Wales

1982 - 1995

Lieutenant

Rob

Possnett

 

1978 - 1985

Lance Corporal

Peter

Radford

West Sussex

 

Sergeant (RAF)

William

Rathouse

London

1986 - 1995

Signaller

Brian

Reff

Hertfordshire

 

Sqn Ldr

Michael

Rickard

East Sussex

 

 

Michael

Ritson

Somerset

 

Leading Electrical Mechanic – Royal Navy

Katherine

Robinson

Devon

 

 

Andrew

Rowlands

Manchester

 

WEM

Bernard

Rumbold

Wiltshire

1977 - 1993

Wing Commander

Dave

Scott

Sussex

1979 - 1995

Squadron Leader

Nick

Senior

Merseyside

1988 - 2011

Wing Commander

Stuart

Sessions MBE

1973 - 1993

Major

Neil

Smallman

The Netherlands

1991 - 1997

Captain

Eddy

Smerdon

Germany

1984 - 1999

Corporal

Les

Snell

Wirral

1971 - 1996

Leading Articifer

Ray

Souter

Lincolnshire

1982 - 1987

 

Don

Steele MBE

Wiltshire

 

Colonel (Retd)

Tom

Stewart

Cheshire

1980 - 1990

 

Sue

Storey

Somerset

 

 

Ian

Tebby

Texas

1980 - 1992

Squadron Leader

Gareth

Thomas

Spain

 

Junior Technician

Stuart

Thomson

Worcestershire

1987 - 2000

Corporal

Michael

Thorne

London

 

Brigadier

Colin

Trevelion

Essex

1980 - 1986

Marine Mechanic

Roy

Venables

Yorkshire

1958 - 1971

 

Bernard

Wakefield- Heath

Oxfordshire

1975 - 1997

Sergeant

David

Wayland

 

1958 - 1965

 

Simon

Webb

Oxfordshire

1996 - 2003

Lance Corporal

Jim

Westlake

Spain

 

Leading Hand

Raymond

White

County Durham

 

David

Williams

Surrey

1962 - 1974

Staff Sergeant