Imperial War Museum Offers Vet Free Admission

Kenneth Bright, survivor of the Normandy landings, planned on going to the Imperial War Museum for one of the commemoration ceremonies marking the seventieth anniversary of Operation Overlord. They had originally planned to charge him the full ticket price for the proceedings, much to his chagrin. Now, after much complaint from the public, Kenneth Bright is able to get into the Imperial War Museum for the event with no charge at all.

Bright was a member of the Landing Craft Infantry under the Royal Navy, which meant he was responsible for aiding the transport of the men who stormed the beaches at ground level. The event he had planned on attending was an airshow, but the Imperial War Museum was charging him more than he was willing to pay. Even though enough civilians complained for them to change their mind, they did so too late for Bright to arrange transportation to the site and he will now have to make other plans for that day.

Rather than simply demanding free tickets, Bright wishes that they had at least offered a discount for veterans. The only discount he qualified for, however, was that extended to senior citizens. He finds it quite baffling that the Imperial War Museum would not favor veterans for such an event, especially given that they are in short supply and many of them will not be around for much longer. The public clearly agrees, as many people came forward and tried to pay his fee for him, the Mail Online reports.

Charity was not Bright’s demand, however, but rather respect. He did not wish to be pitied and paid for by civilians, but rather to be respected for risking his life on the beaches of Normandy, where several of his comrades died. The Imperial War Museum did not even favor senior citizens in general, refusing to offer them the same discounts for the airshow that they did for general admission. Bright is highly disappointed that it would take the complaints of several civilians for them to see the logic in offering concessions to D-Day veterans on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The Imperial War Museum has not issued anything amounting to an apology to those whose plans have had to change as the result of their late realization, but they have offered free admissions for veterans rather than the simple discounts that Bright had requested. This means that veterans who do not require as much advance notice are still able to attend the Imperial War Museum for the anniversary airshow without worrying about payment.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE