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Peter Ricketts

Ambassador to France from February 2012 to January 2016.

Part of UK in France

12th November 2012 Paris, France

Remembrance 2012: Lest we forget

The Cenotaph in London
The Cenotaph in London

I’m speaking to you just after the commemorations here of 11 November, when we  look back and remember those killed in all the wars in the last hundred years. This was my first time in Paris attending these commemorations and it was the privilege to be at the Arc de Triomphe where the Président de la République led the commemorations there.

Transcript (continued)

Also, in the afternoon, we had a big service in Notre-Dame Cathedral, organised by the Royal British Legion, on behalf of all the Commonwealth and allied countries who fought together in two World Wars.

Very moving occasion, Cathedral full of people for a very solemn ceremony. It is another reminder of the shared history and interests that we have with France, and an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of previous generations and indeed of the armed forces who are still fighting, for example in Afghanistan.

And we are moving into a period where there will be even more commemorations to do. In 2014, it will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. So we should be having a series of events which we are working to plan with the French authorities now, with a big emphasis on young people and bringing alive for young people the sacrifices of previous generations, and therefore the importance of all of us working to prevent conflict in Europe and elsewhere in the future.

This week will also be a big week for us because we have our Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg here on Wednesday to see Prime Minister Ayrault and also to  make other calls around Paris. Next time I talk to you I will give you a flavor of Mr Clegg’s visit.

1 comment on “Remembrance 2012: Lest we forget

    The project of a wind farm may soon completely disfigure the battlefield of Loos-en Gohelle, a major historical site of the Great War in the North of France.
    A French private company has planned a wind farm of 10, maybe 11 wind turbines on the territories of the towns of Vermelles and Auchy-les-Mines. That company has taken no account of the historical past of the site. Where thousands of young British soldiers bravely died, the tallest wind turbines in France (636 feet tall, twice as tall as Big Ben!!!) will soon appear. Among these, ten machines should be erected in front of the HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT, three near the ALONE TREE and two 400 yards away from the FERME DES BRIQUES and the QUARRY CEMETERY.
    The view from the towers of the LOOS DUD CORNER MEMORIAL will be completely spoilt. Why not wind farms on the Somme or Ypres battlefields? Fortunately, until now, these historical sites have been spared. But what will happen in the future if we let this kind of project be realized?
    In spite of the protest of a great part of the local population, especially because of the numerous nuisances caused by these machines (the nearest ones will only be 500 yards away from the houses) the local council of Auchy – les – Mines have agreed the building of these ugly monsters. However, today, they seem divided and will soon vote again for or against the project. As for the town of Vermelles, until now, they are in favour of the project. But things may rapidly change.
    Anyway, it is the Prefect of the Nord – Pas de Calais district who will take the final decision. Let’s remember that in 2004 the French and British mobilizations stopped the project of a dumping ground on that very area.
    Here are the British historical sites of the Great War within one mile of the wind turbines :
    – Memorial Dud Corner de Loos-en-Gohelle
    – Alone Tree de Loos-en-Gohelle
    – Haisnes Bois Carré British Cemetery (route de Vermelles, Hulluch)
    – Haisnes St Mary’s Advanced Dressing Station British Cemetery (Hulluch)
    – Quarry Cemetery (Auchy-les-Mines)
    – 46th (North Midland) Div (TF) Memorial 13 th Oct 1915
    In fact, the wind farm should be erected on the very site where thousands of young British soldiers died.
    We cannot permit it without protesting. Please, help us and support our claim !!

    You can contact us at: association.dnecv@gmail.com


    Bruno SCHMIT
    President of association DNECV (Défense de la Nature, de l’environnement et du Cadre de Vie d’Auchy Les Mines et ses alentours)

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