World news story
Churchill’s Grandson Sir Nicholas Soames MP to attend Victory Day Commemorations in Moscow
Sir Nicholas Soames MP will arrive in Moscow on 9 May to take part in Russia’s Victory Day celebrations.
He is representing Her Majesty’s Government at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames MP said:
I am honoured to represent the British government at the commemorations in Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We share in this Victory Day, as Britain and Russia stood together with our allies against the Nazis.
My grandfather Winston Churchill praised Russia’s “incomparable service to a common cause”. My grandmother Clementine Churchill represented him here in Moscow at the first Victory Day in 1945 after a five-week goodwill tour to Russia as Chair of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund. I am therefore delighted to be here seventy years later as the UK representative to pay homage to the fallen and to commemorate our shared history and victory.
Sir Nicholas will attend the wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Flame, known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, alongside other international dignitaries attending the commemorations. He will also attend the reception at the Kremlin.
British veterans from the Arctic Convoy are also attending memorial events in St Petersburg over this weekend. In a message to the veterans Sir Nicholas thanked them for their immense bravery in an undertaking which Winston Churchill had described as “the worst journey in the world” and in which over 3000 British, American and Russian lives were lost.
During the visit, Sir Nicholas will also place a ceramic poppy from the Tower of London’s display last year in front of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Moscow marking his visit exactly seventy years after his grandmother Lady Clementine Churchill visited Moscow for Victory Day celebrations in 1945.
In addition to this visit, the British Embassy in Moscow has supported a number of events to commemorate this important historical commemoration across the Russia.
On 28 April, an exhibition on the Arctic Convoys, organised by the Polar Convoy Club of St Petersburg and supported by the British Consulate-General in St Petersburg opened at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Whilst the “Triumph and Tragedy” exhibition which showcases British, Russian and American images from the Second War, and supported by the British Consulate-General in Ekaterinburg will run until 30 May.
Notes to editors
- The Arctic Convoy Exhibition in St Petersburg marks the remarkable story of the Arctic Convoys and their vital role in delivering essential supplies to the Soviet Union during World War II. Between August 1941 and May 1945, around 1,400 merchant vessels escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and US Navy delivered essential supplies to the Soviet Union during World War II. 85 merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy ships were lost during the convoys and over 3,000 British servicemen died. Winston Churchill described the convoys as the ‘worst journey in the world’.
- The British Consulate-General in Ekaterinburg has supported a joint photographic exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which includes photographs of Winston Churchill, alongside others taken by British and American photographers, showing World War II events which are less well-known in Russia, such as the battle of Britain, the campaigns in North Africa and the Pacific, D-Day and fighting in Western Germany. It also includes works by some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, including Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, Robert Capa and Eugene Smith.