Airshow attacked for charging veterans
By Alison Purdy and Brian FarmerBRITAIN'S most famous military museum has been criticised by a retired RAF sergeant today for charging D-Day veterans to attend an air show being staged in their honour.
By Alison Purdy and Brian Farmer
BRITAIN'S most famous military museum has been criticised by a retired RAF sergeant today for charging D-Day veterans to attend an air show being staged in their honour.
The Imperial War Museum said servicemen and women involved in the Normandy landings on June 6 1944 must pay £8 to attend the D-Day anniversary air show at its aviation branch at Duxford, near Cambridge, on June 6.
Officials added the charge - a £5 reduction on the price of tickets for pensioners - was necessary to cover the cost of providing a special marquee for Normandy veterans.
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A spokeswoman said: "The Imperial War Museum could not fund the cost of this, so we are asking those who want to come and commemorate with us to pay a small charge of £8."
But Hamish Campbell, 70, from Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, said asking veterans to pay £8 for a show in their honour was insulting.
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"What sort of country have we become when, to celebrate a turning point in history, we ask those who sacrificed so much and saw unimaginable horrors to 'pay a reduced rate' to take part in a tribute to their very own efforts?" asked Mr Campbell, an information technology lecturer who spent more than 30 years in the RAF.
"As a veteran of later campaigns, my message to all those D-Day veterans within range of Duxford is this - on June 6, remember your fallen comrades, but keep your pride and stay away."
Mr Campbell added: "The Imperial War Museum has made a big mistake here. It's insulting. If it were an air show commemorating the Battle of Britain, would they be charging Douglas Bader to attend?
"At an air show to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day, those who took part should be VIP guests - they shouldn't have to pay. There wouldn't be any show without them, there might not even be an Imperial War Museum."
The air show will be the culmination of a week-long programme of events to commemorate the D-Day anniversary and will feature aircraft of the type that flew in 1944 including the Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang.
The spokeswoman said normal museum admission rates would apply for people wishing to attend, with adult tickets costing £18, senior citizens £13 and children £7. She added veterans had until Friday to book tickets.