Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Minden Day 2009: Forever Friends Fest

With the Union Flag tucked away in the background and a giant EU flag billowing in centre stage, Britain's Major General Mungo Melvin, Germany's General Major Markus Kneip and a certain monsieur Bernard Chappedelaine from France shake hands on the "Friendship Bridge" during commemorations marking the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Minden (see below).

As you would expect these days, the event, which took place in the town of Minden in north Germany, had to made into a Eurofest. It rejoiced under the banner "Forever Friends in Europe", a name derived from a family of cute little toy bears.

The highlight of the festival was the construction of a military bridge over the river Weser - Friendship Bridge or in euro-speak, Die Brücke zwischen Heimat und Europa. Staged by 412 Amphibious Troop Royal Engineers (Volunteers) and the Bundeswehr's Heavy Engineer Regiment 130, the slick bridging display saw giant M3 rigs rapidly linked up to connect the banks in just minutes.

German divisions fought alongside British troops in 1759; it would be good if they could do so again in 2009. Then we would really know who our friends were.

MoD: Minden Regiments celebrate 250th battle anniversary