Monday 8 March 2021
As recommended by British Second World War veterans, the international LRE (Liberation Route Europe) organisation has today launched its national branch in the United Kingdom to be known as LRE UK.
The LRE Foundation is an international organisation behind various remembrance projects such as Liberation Route Europe – the certified Cultural Route following in the footsteps of the Allied advance in WWII – and Europe Remembers – the online portal for remembrance events and sites throughout Europe.
By establishing LRE UK, the foundation intends to extend its network, and connect and promote the main sites of the WWII British history and heritage by including them in the Liberation Route Europe trails network.
Historian and battlefield guide, Ben Mayne has been appointed as director of the LRE UK and will help the LRE Foundation on setting up new projects in the country. Rémi Praud, managing director of the LRE Foundation, about this new step forward: “We are happy with the development of this new national branch. It is a great way to improve our work in the UK and to extend our activities. We thank Ben and those who supported this launch and we are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation with our members and new partners in the UK”.
The LRE UK’s main ambition is to develop the Liberation Route UK, a network of British remembrance trails that will link to the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails, an international route connecting sites that commemorate the British and Allies advance to liberate Europe in WWII.
The Hampshire county and the city of Portsmouth will serve as a starting base, given their incredible role during the preparation and execution of the D-Day. With this network of trails, the LRE UK will work to highlight a vast British cultural landscape that, for the most part, has remained hidden in the past 75 years. In collaboration with the LRE Foundation’s partners, in the country and abroad, the LRE UK will strive to make this core part of British history more visible and accessible to visitors from across the world.
Ben Mayne, director of the LRE UK: “It is with great honour that I have accepted the responsibility to create the LRE UK. As an historian and battlefield guide, I know the importance of creating a lasting legacy for the younger generations and prompting the history and heritage that surround us.
"LRE UK will look to work alongside councils, tourism boards, schools, forestry commissions and museums to develop further the Liberation Route UK trails network. As seen when developing the LRE Italy branch back in 2014, this initial phase will require time, efforts and funding. We hope that the National Lottery Heritage Fund will provide us with the support we need to develop this project further.”
The national branch is off to a successful start since it will have four extraordinary ambassadors to support its development. Alan King, Mervyn King, and Reg Charles, British veterans who took part in the D-Day and the liberation of continental Europe, together with Andrew Wright, son of the late Fred Wright, Royal Engineers, will form a committee that will provide the LRE UK’s network with suggestions and recommendations. This is the start of a long road, through which the LRE UK aims to promote the history and heritage of WWII and transmit the lasting legacy of the veterans.
** LRE Foundation is the international network connecting people and organisations that preserve and value the memory, meaning and heritage of WWII. It organises and manages projects and events, has national branches, members and partners around the world.
** Liberation Route Europe is the transnational itinerary that links the main regions along the advance of the Allied Forces in 1943-1945. Since 2019, it is a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. From this year on, people will be able to experience the Route as a network of trails.
** Europe Remembers is initiative of the LRE Foundation that enable people to reflect on the complex heritage of WWII from multiple historical perspectives. Started on the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, it brings together sites, museums, and events in a collaborative travel portal, with a special eye on the multiple experiences of WWII and its consequences.