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Prime Minister visits Abbey on eve of VE Day

Thursday, 7th May 2020

Prime Minister visits Abbey on eve of VE Day

The Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP was welcomed to the Abbey tonight by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle on the eve of VE Day - 75 years to the day when Germany signed an unconditional surrender with the Allies to end the Second World War in Europe.

The Prime Minister was invited to light a candle at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, a moment of silence was kept to remember all those who lost their lives in the conflict and the Dean of Westminster said a short prayer and blessing.

Whilst he was at the Abbey the Prime Minister also visited the RAF Chapel where he inspected the Roll of Honour which contains the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrew killed or mortally wounded during the Battle of Britain.

In addition, he viewed the Combined Services Memorial in the west cloister - a monument commemorating officers and men of the Submarine Service of the Royal Navy, the Commandos, and all ranks of the Airborne Forces and Special Air Service, which was unveiled by Winston Churchill on 21st May 1948.

A Service of Thanksgiving for the 75th anniversary of VE Day attended by Her Majesty The Queen and the Prime Minister was due to take place tomorrow, Friday 8th May, at 11.00am. On 8th May 1945, 25,000 people attended short services of ‘thanksgiving for victory’ at the Abbey which were held hourly from 9.00am to 10.00pm.

The Abbey has continued to mark VE Day regularly with special services held on the 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th anniversaries, with thanks given for the reconciliation of former enemies and prayers said for lasting peace.

The Abbey has recorded a special podcast for VE Day featuring readings, music, address, prayers and blessing which will be released tomorrow morning at 9.00am.

More information about the Abbey’s role in VE Day can be found in Westminster Abbey and VE Day, an article specially produced to mark the 75th anniversary.

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It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

Martin - The Dean’s Verger

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