Victory in Europe Day

Victory in Europe Day

Today we celebrate not only victory in Europe, but also a personal victory for the League in having our national broadcaster, the ABC, broadcast the Queen’s VE Day Message in Australia.

On this page we bring to you the Queen’s speech together with the speech of her father King George VI exactly 75 years ago, and also other videos relating to VE Day and the Queen.

Today is a moment in history with the Queen following her father, George VI, in celebrating such a momentous occasion for there was a time when so many believed that Britain would fall under the jackboots of the Nazi terror.

So many of our members would have listened to the stories told by their parents and grandparents who took part in that dreadful war against the aggressors both in the east and in the West. Of course, we will later this year, on the 15th August, celebrate VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day but today is a day when we can remember all those who have gone before and celebrate in their great victory.

I was privileged to call the redoubtable Nancy Wake, a friend. She was a patron of the Australian Monarchist League. She had travelled from Australia to Britain before the war and married a Frenchman. She stayed in France after Germany invaded and together with her husband established an underground network to enable British airmen and others to escape the clutches of the Nazis. She had to escape to Britain herself, but was sent back by the British as an agent to work with the French resistance during which time she even had to kill the enemy, one with her bare hands. Her husband, opting to stay in France, was later tortured and killed by the Gestapo soon after she fled to Britain.

She was a guest at a Monarchist League garden party at Fairwater in Sydney over 20 years ago at which I met her for the first time. After being introduced by Nancy Bird Walton, also a patron, her first words were “you can get me a bloody gin and tonic.”

I met with her near London just before she died. She was bedridden in a nursing home and when I walked into her room, the first words she uttered were “you can get me a bloody gin and tonic” but this time she added “and get one for you also.” She was a formidable character the like of which we will probably never see again. It is people like her as well as all those Australians who so bravely took part in the World War that we will remember and reflect on today as we watch the Queen’s message.

May God bless all those who have served and are serving in times of war and peace.

Philip Benwell
National Chair



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