Luxembourg-UK relations were further reinforced through historical diplomacy when Britons and Luxembourgers marked the centenary of the Royal Air Force in the presence of the grand duke on Thursday.
Around 26 RAF air crew were buried at eight different sites in Luxembourg during WWII, and countless more who crashed were “spirited away across the border by the Luxembourg resistance,” British ambassador John Marshall explained, thanking Luxembourgers, during the reception at his residence.
The British embassy had underlined the deep ties between Luxembourg and the RAF by organising an exhibition of RAF memorabilia from private collectors Daniel Jordao and Erny Kohn as well as information banners. The first guest to view the exhibition at the embassy residence was Grand Duke Henri. Residents and visitors will have a chance to view it when it tours Luxembourg communes in May.
“Because these links are so strong, faced with matters like Brexit, the ties between Luxembourg and the UK will remain strong because we have to stick together and defend the values that are so important to us,” Patrick Heck, director of defence directorate in the Luxembourg government, said.
He thanked Marshall for “All the initiatives you’ve taken show the strength of the links between Luxembourg and the UK, not only during the second world war, but you’ve published a book, all that you’ve done.”
Heck was referring to the LuxUK Links book, an initiative showcasing the ties between the two nations, which began with a series of tweets by the ambassador. The book is expected to be officially released in May.
The RAF is the oldest independent air force in the world. Founded on 1 April 1918, by merging the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, today it counts over 33,000 active personnel and more than 2,200 reserve personnel.
A number of RAF members, retired and active, attended Thursday’s ceremony. “Not a day has passed when I have not taken pride in being part of such a professional and capable organisation and working alongside such talent and motivated people,” Air Commandor Anthony Beasant, who has served for 32 years, said, adding: “All of us serving today feel a great weight to uphold the legacy of those who came before us and to inspire those of tomorrow.”