back to article Free passports for WWII generation hit 500,000

The UK government has announced today that it has just issued its 500,000th free passport under rules which offer free travel documents as a reward to senior citizens who were adults during World War II. "It gives me great pleasure to announce this milestone in a scheme which honours every adult who helped defeat the evils of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Britons born on or before 2 September 1929

    So a 10-16 year old was that much more "tremendously brave" than a 9-15 year old?

    Why are they doing this? It seems unnecessary, and well, just odd.

  2. Mark
    Joke

    This will be scary for some

    "papers, please".

    For those germans who moved here, the russians who are eligible and moved durring the cold war and people under nazi occupation in their youth.

    But at least this time, we're giving them to the populace for free!

    Oh, hang on, I don't think the Nazis charged for their papiren either...

  3. Matt

    So

    you fought hard to keep our freedoms and to celebrate us taking them away, here's a free passport.

    Nice.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    The Government herald the success of Biometrics with the sale of their 500,000th biometric passport! Also we have succesfully collected the biometric data on 500,000 potential suspect err citizens which will aid us in the fight against terrorism!

  5. Dave Bell

    Too worn-out to travel

    My parents would qualify for a free ID document.

    Unless they will need it to board an ambulance, I doubt they'll bother.

  6. Pete Silver badge

    ... provided they can afford the travel insurance

    To be an adult (18 or more) in 1945 means you're at least 81 now.

    Most insurance companies won't take on new business for people who are above a given age - frequently somewhere in their 70's. Even for existing customers, the T's and C's are so onerous - with exclusions, conditions and excesses that it's not unusual for the insurance to cost more than the trip, even with a £1000 excess.

    So the government's "generosity" is tempered to a huge degree by the fact that most OAPs simply can't afford to travel abroad, whether they wanted to or not. I'm sure they realised this when they introduced the scheme in 2004 - having waited long enough to ensure that most people wouldn't or couldn't take up the offer.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    WHat happened to traditional values ?

    A captain should go down with his ship so why isn't West at the bottom of the Falklands sea ?

    Just a jolly bad show old bean

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You know when you are tired when...

    When I first read the title I thought it said Free passports for the Wii generation. What have Wii users done to defeat the evils of Nazism?

  9. Austin Chamberlain
    Unhappy

    Being careful

    Maybe the Home Office was worried that someone who fought against fascism for real would have something to say about being forced to pay for a biometric internal passport. It would be a bit of a PR nightmare to have an resisting war veteran pensioner tasered into submission to get his fingerprints ...

  10. Mad Mike
    Pirate

    Bravery

    There are several angles on this. Without doubt everybody during the war (from the youngest to the oldest) was brave. However, they did not totally fight for the future generations, but also for their generation, so let's stop this selfless bit. Yes, it's obviously much better for us to have grown up in Britain without the Nazis, but I'm sure they feel better for that too.

    Given that, what about todays armed forces. Is someone who fought in Afghanistan and maybe lost both legs any less brave or deserving of a free passport than a WWII survivor?

    This is all a publicity stunt. They know it won't cost much as few people old enough to qualify will still want them. But, they can strut around on stage looking all nice and warm and cuddly. Makes you sick. Just like the generals in WWI sitting in their nice chateau behind the lines whilst sending hundreds of thousands over the top to be slaughtered.

    On top of this, the similarities between this government and the Nazis are startling. Identification papers, being told what to do and believe all the time etc.etc.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt

    Or,

    "Last time round you helped stop this country from being run by a dictator. Please leave now while we try again."

  12. Owen Kerr
    Thumb Up

    Very generous of them

    Ireland provide free passports to all OAPs.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He bloody well should have....

    "A captain should go down with his ship so why isn't West at the bottom of the Falklands sea ?

    Just a jolly bad show old bean"

    ....Because my friends father went down on the Ardent defending his men, unlike yes man West who has gone after promotion after promotion, with some very suspect politics.

  14. Dave B

    Freebies for War

    How about those brave souls who help to defeat the evils of Terrorism? Do they get free stuff? After all, those old-time, ever-so-dapper, germans were just Axis but now we have to deal with an Axis of EVIL - not just murderous but lacking any sense of style. Cut the beard bin laden, and get a sharp suit - I want my goody bag!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    After being shafted by British Gas...

    Quite a few OAP's are more likely having to struggle to save enough to pay their heating, food and council tax bills, let alone gad about on trips abroad!

    How about scrapping the council tax bills for these people? Oh sorry that would mean giving them something really useful and making some fecking sense, we can't allow the government to start making sense now can we?!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Without doubt?

    >Without doubt everybody during the war (from the youngest to the oldest) was brave.

    I don't think you can really say that, some will have been utter cowards.

    >Quite a few OAP's are more likely having to struggle to save enough to pay their heating

    Quite a few are minted.

    Nothing against the OAP's of course, I'm just suspicious of the motives.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will never get this....

    If you can afford to go abroad you can afford a passport. Yes, some of these people risked there lives for the country, but so have many otheres befor and since.

    It seems like a waste of money to me, and the only reason for it being that they are an age group that have a high voteing turn out. The only thing this is about is there will be an election soon.

  18. Anonymous John

    I was an adult for most of the Cold War.

    Why can't I have one for helping to defeat the evils of Communism?

  19. Tim Elphick
    Pirate

    Re: Fw: FW: Free Passports READ THIS! IT REALLY WORKS!!!!

    I agree that people who qualify for this are perhaps not the most inclined to be travelling around the world. Though I dare say some might love it.

    You could probably read quite abit into the fact that they seem to be struggling to give biometric passports away. Free is free, after all. I've accepted some terrible junk on this basis. It suggests to me that 8 out of 9 have rejected the kind and generous offer.

    I haven't really been keeping track, but I've been shocked recently to learn of the price of passports. I seem to remember mine being about 30 squid way back in 2001.

    Perhaps the recipients of these passports could actually save this way by spending the winter abroad, thus avoiding the need to pay their pensions, savings, and unlocked equity to British Gas.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ObJoke

    An elderly English gentleman of 83 arrived in Paris by plane.

    At the French immigration desk, the man took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on bag.

    "You have been to France before, monsieur?" the Immigration officer asked, sarcastically.

    The elderly gentleman admitted he had been to France previously.

    "Then you should know well enough to have your passport ready."

    The English gentleman says, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."

    "Impossible. All Englishmen have to show their passports on arrival in France !"

    The elderly gentleman gave the French Immigration Officer a long hard look.

    Then he quietly explained.

    "Well, the last time I was here, I came ashore on Juno Beach on D- Day in June 1944, and I couldn't find any fcuking Frenchmen to show it to"

  21. N Silver badge

    Hmm...

    smacks of "I wanna buy your vote" to me

  22. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down

    Price of passports

    I just had to pay $265 (£135 or so at current exchange rates) for a new U.K. passport here in Canada, earlier this year. And it doesn't look very sodding biometric to me - I didn't have to let the Home Office robots come over and take a tongue swab or anything (I'm sure this is in the planning stages), just send in a photo as per usual. There is a mysterious black square laminated on the "reserved for official comments" page though - is that RFID?

    Anyhow, yes, apparently the cost of a bog standard brown-passport-with-a-photo-in-it has somehow gone up 400% in the last few years. Either that or they're milking us poor expiring-passport suckers to pay for their bloody national Who's Been A Naughty Peasant database. If only it hadn't been due to expire until next year I could've done without another U.K. passport ever.

  23. Pete "oranges" B.
    Black Helicopters

    Was I the only one whose first thought was...

    ...have they gotten bored with "1984" and started moving towards "Starship Troopers" instead? Any one?

    Of course, I should be one to talk, here in the US passports cost at least that much, but we seemed to have introduced our own, systematized, version of bribing officials know as "expedition," which if I remember correctly, comes in several packages and can almost double the cost. Good work America, extort your citizens by threating to expose them to the full and wondrous efficiency of the bureaucracy.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't find the passport channel...

    ...on my WII...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not That My Opinion Counts in Briton, But...

    If passports are opened to WWII adult survivors, why not all other wars including the "War on Terror" (Iraq and Afghanistan)? Sounds very politically suspicious to me...

    However, I wish to say to the WWII survivors that you've done a great deed in protecting your country while the U.S. got out of isolationism in the 1930s and early 1940s. Thank you and forgive the over-sexed Yanks who tried to make a macho impression on your female citizens...

  26. hokkyokusei

    @ObJoke

    An Englishman? On Juno? Was he lost?

  27. Jane
    Thumb Up

    What's all this about travelling, young man?

    Thanks to the money laundering regulations, every one has to provide ID when opening a bank/savings account. Over 80s mostly don't have a driving licence - if they're in a home they don't have utility bills either. A passport's the only option - and how are they going to afford that on a state pension?

    Free passports for all OAPs please!

  28. Rich

    My dad wouldn't get one of these

    Coz he wasn't 18 during the war. He did have a Saturday job in the Mosquito factory though - it all sounds a bit unfair.

    What about those of us who risked being nuked in the Cold War (i.e. everyone over 19 or so)?

    Wouldn't it be fairer to give a free passport to all Boer War veterans if they get the form signed by both parents?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Excellent

    With any luck doing a "west" will enter universal parlance. Can I send my best wishes to El Reg for all their endeavors in this regard, be assured I will be using it at all future social occasions.

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