In recognition of the sacrifices made by World War II veterans and civilians, the British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has announced that Britain’s wartime generation is entitled to receive free passports. Under the new gratis passport scheme, which came into effect on October 18, every British Citizen born on or before September 2, 1929, will no longer have to pay for a UK passport.
Many veterans have already received free one-year passports to enable them to revisit battlefields during the 60th anniversary year of the D-day landings. The Home Secretary announced earlier this year that this would be extended to cover everyone who played a part in the war effort. They will now receive free passports for life.
During a recent visit to the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall to meet World War II veterans and civilians, Mr Blunkett said: “The years of the Second World War were amongst the darkest in our nation’s history. We must never forget the sacrifices made and the bravery shown by the entire wartime generation. They endured the horrors of the battlefield, terrible losses and unremitting hardship at home to secure our country’s freedom and prosperity.”
Remembrance Day is an annual reminder of that generation’s dignity and pride. “I want to thank and honour every adult who helped us defeat the Nazis and their allies – not just those in our brave armed forces, but those who played their part on the home front. Now the wartime generation – some 4.5 million people – will receive free passports for life in recognition of what they gave to secure our nation’s liberty and democracy.”
• For further information about the new Gratis Passport Scheme for applicants over 75 years old, and how a passport can be obtained in Portugal, visit www.uk-embassy.pt under Services, Passports, or contact the British Consulates in Lisbon, Porto or Portimão.