OVER 30 Zambian war veterans who served the British Armed Forces have been placed on a UK programme worth £11.8 million to receive funds to
enable them have at least two meals a day. According to a statement issued by the British High Commission in Lusaka, the programme designed to benefit 30 countries would be implemented through the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, a charity which has been supporting those veterans who served The British Crown for almost 100 years.
“Over 7,000 veterans of the Commonwealth including 35 surviving veterans (and widows) from Zambia who served the British Armed Forces will receive two meals a day through UK aid, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has confirmed…. The new Department for International Development (DFID) programme will provide regular cash transfers to Commonwealth veterans and their widows and widowers in more than 30 countries to prevent them from going hungry,” Secretary of State for DFID Penny Mordaunt said.
She added that the UK owed a tremendous amount to “these Commonwealth Veterans”.
“The British public would be shocked to know that those who have served alongside our Armed Forces would be living in such poverty…it is absolutely right to make this commitment. I think the British public would approve of us pledging this support because of the sacrifices the Commonwealth Veterans have made and because of the debt of gratitude we owe to them,” Mordaunt said.
And British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet said he was personally delighted that this scheme will benefit Zambian veterans
and their widows, many of whom he has met.
“On Sunday 11 November (today), after the Remembrance Service at the Lusaka Cenotaph, I look forward to the annual gathering of veterans and widows at the memorial in Burma Barracks.”
Today’s announcement follows a commitment in June by DFID to design a programme to support pre-independence war veterans.
And UK’s former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Richards, who will also represent the UK at the Mbala World War II centenary, said the scheme
would ensure that “these brave men and women” are sustained and cared for in their twilight years.
“As important, it will let them know that they have not been forgotten and their service and sacrifice is remembered…. Without this support, 4,500 veterans and 2,500 widows would be unable to secure the equivalent of one-meal-a-day. UK aid will mean that those who served in the British Armed Forces across the Commonwealth pre-independence will not live their later years in poverty,” said Lord Richards.