On 9 May 2015, vessels in United Kingdom ports and harbours are encouraged to sound a signal at a designated time of 1100 Hrs (1000 Hrs UTC) to commemorate and celebrate 70th anniversary of the VE Day.
Friday, 8 May 2015, is the anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), marking 70 years since the end of the second world war in Europe. The occasion will be celebrated the following day, 9 th May 2015, with events across the United Kingdom and it is befitting that UK merchant ships in ports, anchored or moored within the UK harbours are also included within this historic event.
Vessels berthed, anchored or moored in harbours are encouraged to use a commemorative sound signal, subject to local harbour authority’s approval, a single blast of 5 to 10 seconds’ duration on the ships’ whistle, at 1100 Hrs BST (1000 Hrs UTC), on Saturday 9 May 2015.
VE Day itself (Friday 8 May) will be a day of remembrance. A service of remembrance will be held at The Cenotaph, including a national two minute silence at 1500 Hrs BST, marking the moment Sir Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech formally announcing the end of the war. The Queen and the leaders of the political parties will be in attendance.
More information on VE Day can be found on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/search?q=VE+day
Notice to all Ship Owners, Ship Operators, Terminal Operators, Port Authorities, Classification Societies, Ships' Agents, Charterers, Shippers, Consignors, Training Providers, Masters, Officers and crews of UK Merchant Ships in port, at anchor or moored within harbours in UK
Over 200 beacons will be lit on Friday 8 May to mark Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
Friday 8 May
VE Day itself (Friday 8 May) will be a day of remembrance. A service of remembrance will be held at The Cenotaph, including a national 2 minute silence at 3pm, marking the moment Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech formally announcing the end of the war.
The Department for Education will be encouraging schools across the country to observe the 2 minute silence and to celebrate and commemorate in their own way – for example, by reading out Churchill’s historic speech, holding special VE Day-themed assemblies or organising tea parties.
In the evening a chain of over 100 beacons will be lit across the UK. Local communities that have already made plans for the day include Great Yarmouth, Island of Unst, Craig-Y-Dorth, Monmouthshire; Stokesby, Norfolk; and Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Saturday 9 May
Saturday 9 May will be a day of celebration. At around 11am, cathedrals across the country, from Durham to Canterbury, will be invited to ring their bells in celebration.
Festivities will peak with a star-studded 1940s themed concert held on Horse Guards Parade on Saturday night, featuring a line-up of international recording artists, stars and celebrities. The show will be one of the highlights of the year and will be broadcast that evening on BBC One.
Sunday 10 May
A service of thanksgiving will be held at Westminster Abbey, attended by veterans and their families, members of the Royal Family, representatives of allied nations and Commonwealth countries who fought alongside Britain in the conflict, along with other diplomatic representatives and senior members of government and the armed forces.
Following the service, there will be a parade of current personnel and veterans, supported by bands, from the Abbey along Whitehall, past the balcony of HM Treasury where Winston Churchill made his historic appearance before crowds on VE Day. Veterans who have taken part in the service and parade will then be invited to a reception in St James’s Park hosted by The Royal British Legion.
During the afternoon there will be a flypast of current and historic aircraft from the Royal Air Force – including the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster of the famous Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which played such a famous role in the European War. The Spitfire, with its unmistakable design, won the admiration of many for its daring role in the Battle of Britain, engaging in dogfights in the sky against enemy aircraft in the defence of the nation.
The Avro Lancaster is perhaps the most famous of the aircraft used by Bomber Command during the Second World War, used in many raids on enemy territory, including the famous Dambuster Raids on the Ruhr Valley.
Central London will also be transported back to the 1940s by a display of period vehicles from the 1940s in St James’s Park.
Further details on the commemorations, including event listings, are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ve-day-70th-anniversary. Information on how veterans will be able to join in the London celebrations, including how to get involved in the lighting of the VE Day Beacons on 8 May and participating in the parade on 10 May, will be announced shortly.
In the coming weeks, the government will also announce plans to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, which will include a day of major events on 15 August 2015.