War veteran's pilgrimage to site of Germany's secret weapon research establishment
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the raid on Peenemunde, Germany’s secret weapon research establishment. The V2 weapons developed here were part of Hitler’s plan to win the war by subjecting Britain to a terrorising deluge of rockets and robot aircraft.
Peenemunde was such an important target that RAF crews were ordered to attack from suicidal altitudes, and to commit to repeating the attack until Peenemunde was destroyed. The raid cost the RAF over 200 aircrew, as well as causing the accidental death of 500 forced labourers.
The V2 weapons were eventually built by slave labour from concentration camps, and in underground factories an estimated 20,000 prisoners were worked to death. Missiles launched from urban sites in the Netherlands between September 1944 and March 1945 caused over 6,000 casualties in Britain, as well as hundreds of Dutch civilian deaths.
This Pilgrimage will enable you to pay homage to all those who suffered in the battle of the V2 weapons, and to visit some of the associated sites and memorials.
Tour highlights include:
• Peenemunde museum.
• Karlshagen Concentration Camp Memorial – the source of labour for Peenemunde.
• Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemetery in Berlin, where many of the aircrew from the raid are buried.
• See copies of briefing documents used in the raid.
• Acts of Remembrance in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.
• Opportunity to meet people from Wassenaar and Chiswick, the communities affected by the first V2 raid.
• The secret underground factory where V2s were constructed,
and the concentration camp that housed the slave labour.
• Personal grave visits in Germany and the Netherlands.
April 7, 2008