The famous Red Arrows will be flying over Britain today to celebrate and commemorate 80 years since Charles De Gaulle’s historic speech to occupied France. The Red Arrows and their French counterparts, La Patrouille de France, will fly over London and parts of the south of England.
President Macron is visiting the Prime Minister today for the occasion, and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will also meet the French President.
Four surviving veterans – Edgard Tupet-Thome, 100, Daniel Bouyjou-Cordier, 99, Hubert Germain, 99, and Pierre Simonet, 98 – of the Order of Liberation, an honour given by France to those who played an outstanding role in setting France free, will be given MBE’s today.
Mr Johnson and Mr Macron will view artifacts and letters at Downing Street from General de Gaulle’s time in London, as well as from his partnership with the UK’s wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill.
After the fall of France, General de Gaulle made a speech from London 18 June 1940.
Known as the “Appel”, or appeal, it rallied the country in support of the Resistance.
The statue of Churchill in London, which was boxed up following the bringing down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol, has been unboxed for the occasion.
The Red Arrows appearance to mark a war milestone has been made all the more poignant today after it was announced that Dame Vera Lynn, whose song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ became an anthem of hope throughout the war years and beyond, has died at the age of 103
The famous aerobatic team have been grounded for much of the lockdown, but were allowed to train in April and conducted a flypast over Buckingham Palace for the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
The team was founded in 1965 at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and is currently based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
They began in Gloucestershire, then moved to Cotswold Airport in 1966, and finally to RAF Scrampton, near Lincoln.
They got their name after a French journalist described them in 1965 as “Les Fleches Rouges” – meaning “the red arrows”.
In their first season, in 1965, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. The team initially comprised of seven members, but increased to nine in 1966.
As of 2020, they have performed more than 4,800 displays in 57 countries.