Veterans of the Second World War on the red carpet at the London premiere of film Darkest Hour

Veterans who fought in the Second World War were given red carpet treatment at the London premiere of 'Darkest Hour' thanks to military charity SSAFA.

Forces Radio BFBS presenter Tim Humphries has more...

The veterans, Dougie Shelley, who served in the Arctic Convoys and Bernard Mabey, a mechanic in the Dambusters Squadron, rubbed shoulders with celebrities at the first screening of ‘Darkest Hour.’ The invite came from SSAFA and film marketing company, Damaris Media.

Both veterans attend SSAFA’s Southend Lunch Club and the charity’s Director of Communications Justine Baynes says.

“When they were offered the chance to go they couldn’t wait, and they loved the whole experience of being on the red carpet.”

'Darkest Hour’ is a thrilling account inspired by the true story of Winston Churchill's first weeks in office at the beginning of the Second World War. Starring BAFTA Award-winner Gary Oldman, ‘Darkest Hour’ takes a revelatory look at the man behind the icon.


Screenwriter Anthony McCarten’s original intentions were to show Churchill’s motivations for writing some of the best known war speeches of all time. However, he says he discovered a different side of Churchill emerging from the pages of history.

“You found a man who was changing his position by the day and sometimes by the hour. He actually seriously entertained the idea of a peace deal with Adolf Hitler. As soon as I discovered that I thought, well that’s news to me.”

More than 70 years on from the Second World War, with around 500 employees and 6,000 volunteers, SSAFA is still ready to help the Armed Forces community whenever and wherever support is needed.

More from Forces Network: Travelling With Churchill Through His Darkest Hour

The veterans, Dougie Shelley and Bernard Mabey, lived through the period in history depicted on screen and Justine Baynes of SSAFA says the pair took away new insights into the Second World War.

“To have a window into a modern day interpretation into the political decisions behind their operations was absolutely fascinating for them.”

‘Darkest Hour’ will be at selected Forces Cinemas in February.

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