Five former victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery have submitted hundreds of official documents to the government demanding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledge Japan’s past atrocity and formally apologise. AP reports that support groups backing the women, who are from Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, said documents collected from around the world include clear evidence of coercion. Japan apologised in 1993 over the “comfort women” system of military prostitutes before and during the Second World War, but it insists there is no proof the women were systematically coerced by the government, citing the lack of official Japanese documents stating so.
D-Day veteran parachutes into Normandy again
An 89-year-old D-Day veteran has taken part in a re-enactment of the 1944 operation. In what was the first major event marking the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord, Jock Hutton parachuted on to the same field near Ranville where he and his comrades spearheaded the Allied assault on German-occupied Europe. The Scotsman was 19 and a member of 13th Battalion the Parachute Regiment, part of the British 6th Airborne Division, the Telegraph reports.
Grant awarded to Sir John Soane’s London ‘party house’
Pitzhanger Manor House, one of London’s architectural treasures, will be fully restored thanks to a £4.42 million Heritage Lottery Fund award. Built in the early years of the 19th century by leading architect Sir John Soane, the Grade I-listed historic manor house, which served as a weekend home, is a rare, surviving Regency villa and gardens, positioned in the now urbanised setting of Ealing Town Centre. The house will be reinstated to its former glory: important areas such as the north side of the building and the west elevation of Soane’s Eating Room, which are currently hidden by unsympathetic later additions to the building, will be revealed, and original rooms, currently closed to the public and used as offices, will be opened up.
“If I don’t come home”: letters from a D-Day captain
The heartfelt diary of a captain written during the 1944 Normandy invasion has just been published. Captain Alastair Bannerman, who featured in last night’s ITV documentary If I Don’t Come Home – Letters from D-Day, recorded his thoughts and emotions before, during and after the invasion. His diary, which is from today available to read as an ebook, charts the building suspense in the run-up to D-Day, as well as the unforgettable “colours” and “sounds” of the day itself. A 30-year-old father-of-two, Bannerman’s diary reads like an extended love letter to his wife. In it he describes his longing for “your understanding, your quiet love and your gentleness”, and his frustration that “duty and barbed wire, destiny and man’s madness have put thousands of miles between us”.
Newly refurbished Italian Cast Court to reopen in November
The V&A will open the newly refurbished Italian Cast Court this November as the first phase in the renovation of the museum’s day-lit courts. First opened in 1873, the Cast Courts were purpose built to house one of the most comprehensive collections of casts of post-classical European sculpture. Featuring some of the V&A’s largest objects, the two galleries are among the most popular in the museum. The Italian Cast Court will feature more than 60 of the V&A’s finest 19th-century reproductions of important Italian Renaissance monuments. It includes the five metre high cast of Michelangelo’s David (c1856), the set of electrotype doors cast from the Gates of Paradise at Florence Cathedral (c1867), and a plaster cast of a pulpit from Pisa Cathedral by Giovanni Pisano (c1865).
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