Posts Tagged ‘years’

Couple of 67 years re-enact historic Times Square kiss for V-J Day

August 15th, 2014

Sydnor and Harriette Thompson, who have been married for 67 years, struck a pose next to a replica statue based on the photograph taken in New York City on 14 August 1945, the same day Japan surrendered and brought the war to an end.

Mr Thompson said the greatest thing he ever did was marrying his wife.

The event marked the start of a year-long effort to boost awareness of Victory-over-Japan Day, which reaches its 70th anniversary next year.

Source: ITN


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Two Lancaster bomber planes fly together for first time in 50 years

August 14th, 2014

Flying in the skies above RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, plane enthusiasts were treated on Wednesday to a display not seen since the filming of The Dambusters in the 1950s.

Two Lancaster bombers flew around together one behind the other for the first time in more that five decades.

Their reunion had been difficult because Lancaster Thumper is based in Britain as part of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial flight and the Lancaster Vera is based in a museum in Ontario in Canada.

But now the aircraft have been brought together for a series of air shows and events around the UK over the next few weeks.

The Avro Lancaster bomber is one of the most recognisable aircraft from the Second World War and was made famous in the Dambuster raids in 1943.


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D-Day veterans meet for the first time in 70 years

June 3rd, 2014

They may be a little frailer, but their wartime memories are still razor sharp.

British Normandy Veterans Joe Cattini and Denys Hunter met on Tuesday for the first time in 70 years since they took part in the D-Day landings on the Normandy Beaches.

Mr Cattini, 91, and Mr Hunter, 90, were both in the same unit of Herefordshire Yeomanry on Gold Beach on D-Day and attended a special ceremony at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard before setting off for France for the anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Friday 6th June is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom and the United States join forces to launch the historic attack on the beaches of Normandy, credited with the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

A series of events commemorating the anniversary are planned for the week with many heads of state travelling to the famous beaches to pay their respects to those who lost their lives.


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Royal Mint to cast coins from bullion recovered after 70 years on ocean floor

April 5th, 2014

The ship spent 70 years lost beneath the waves before being found in 2011, 300 miles off the Irish coast, at a depth of three miles, half a mile deeper than the Titanic.

The deepest rescue operation in maritime history was carried out by a US company and the silver bullion was recovered from the seabed.

A portion of it was passed to the Royal Mint which began striking the coins on Friday, edged with the name SS Gairsoppa.

Shane Bissett, the Royal Mint’s director of bullion and commemorative coin, said: “This incredible story marks yet another exciting moment in the Royal Mint’s fascinating 1,000-year history.

“The traditional Britannia coin design, Philip Nathan’s elegant portrayal of a windswept Britannia looking out to sea, is the perfect image for the coins struck from SS Gairsoppa’s long-lost cargo.

“We are so pleased to be able to bring these coins to the market at long last, albeit more than 70 years later than expected.”

In December 1940 the Royal Mint was running dangerously low in stocks of silver due to the onset of war and called in emergency supplies from India.

The SS Gairsoppa sailed from Calcutta carrying the silver under the protection of a naval convoy.

But after battling a heavy storm it began running short of coal off the coast of Southern Ireland and was forced to break free and head for the safety of Galway Harbour.

The slow merchant ship was spotted by a German U-boat patrolling the British waters and was torpedoed at 12.08am on 17 February 1941.

It sank within 20 minutes.

Three lifeboats were launched but only Second Officer Richard Ayres made it to land and survived to tell the tale.

His lifeboat started with 31 men but after spending 13 deadly days he was the only sailor to make it to dry land alive.

He was awarded an MBE in recognition of his heroic efforts to keep fellow survivors alive, as well as a War Medal for bravery at sea, and amazingly returned to sea nine months later.

The 412ft ship was eventually found sitting on the seabed 300 miles off the Irish coast in September 2011 by US marine exploration company Odyssey.

And after a five-year rescue operation on behalf of the Treasury they recovered the silver bullion from SS Gairsoppa at an astonishing depth of three miles.

Odyssey’s senior project manager Andrew Craig holds a Gairsoppa Coin (Wales News)

Andrew Craig, who project managed the five-year rescue operation, said: “Nobody has ever done anything like this before at this depth.

“There were so many unknowns and when you took a step back it looked incredibly daunting – but we just took each challenge as it came.

“Finally bringing the silver bullion back to the Royal Mint, 72 years after it should have arrived, will bring the incredible story of the ship and its crew to light.

“Not many people have heard about the SS Gairsoppa since it sank but now it will be one of the most famous wrecks to be worked on and those sailors will never be forgotten.”

The rescue operation recovered 2,792 silver bars totalling approximately 3.2 million troy ounces of silver – worth around £38,272,000 at current prices.

Mr Craig said the record-breaking depth of the salvage operation left them with unique challenges to overcome and some eye-watering operational costs.

He said: “For the final stage of the project to retrieve the silver bullion we chartered a boat at a cost of £100,000-a-day – and were there for two seasons for around 180 days.

“It took three and a half hours to send out remotely operated submersible down to the sea bed and then we had to work our way through the boat to find where the silver was stored.

“Up until the last 10 years the technology hasn’t been there to do anything like this.

“But after silver prices rocketed it became financially worhtwhile to give it a go and we believed we had the technology and skill to do it.

“This has been a great challenge for us but now we know we can work any depth of water.

“Coming to The Royal Mint and seeing the silver bullion coins struck was quite emotional – now after 72 years we have seen the story come full circle.”

Odyssey kept 80 per cent of the silver bullion they recovered and the Treasury were given 20 per cent.

Some of this is being used for the striking of the 99.9 pure quarter ounce silver Britannia bullion coins.

Royal Mint historian Dr Kevin Clancy added: “This shipment of silver bullion should have got here 72 years ago and now it has finally come home.

“I don’t think anything like this has happened before – bullion destined for us which didn’t make now finding it’s way here.”

“It’s a very romantic and evocative story.”


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