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Before match, England fans and diplomats honour Battle of Stalingrad dead

VOLGOGRAD: England soccer fans and a top British diplomat paid tribute to those who died in the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II on Monday in a moving ceremony ahead of England's match against Tunisia, a gesture London hopes may help salve battered ties.

Monday's game, England's first of the World Cup, is being held in Volgograd, which until 1961 was called Stalingrad and was the location of the bloodiest battle of World War II when the Soviet Red Army, at a cost of over 1 million casualties, broke the back of advancing German forces


The British gesture, in a building known as the Hall of Military Glory which houses a statue of a hand holding a torch in which an eternal flame burns, is likely to be well received in Russia where the battle site is regarded as sacred ground.

Etched into the hall's walls is the slogan: "Yes, we were mere mortals, and only a few of us survived, but we all fulfilled our patriotic duty to the sacred Motherland."

The Russian city, which sits on the River Volga close to where England will be playing, is twinned with the English city of Coventry which also suffered heavy bombing during World War II. The late Queen Mother was an honorary citizen of Volgograd in recognition of her post-war relief work for its citizens.

Marking 70 years since the Coventry Blitz

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jun 20th, 2018 at 09:40:34 PM EST

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