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Heroes Return 2

Providing Lottery funding to help World War II veterans take part in commemorative visits
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To commemorate the events leading up to the end of World War II, the Big Lottery Fund set up the Heroes Return programme, which funds veterans, and their spouses and carers, to revisit the places where they served and remember the sacrifice made by their fallen friends and comrades.

The Big Lottery Fund was sad to hear of the passing of Cwmbran WW2 veteran Dennis Whitcombe in July 2014. Mr Whitcombe and comrades from the Pontypool Branch of the Royal Welsh Regimental Association went on a Heroes Return trip in 2010 to attend a Remembrance Day service in Weymouth. You can read about his trip and his heroic efforts during the war. We would like to thank his family for sharing his experiences with us, he will be sadly missed. 

Funding size:
£165 - £8,140
Total available:
Application deadline:
01/01/2016 00:00:00

What’s it all about?

The Heroes Return 2 programme is now closed as planned.

Since 2004 we are proud to have provided £29 million to support over 58,000 veterans of the Second World War and their spouses and carers to undertake commemorative visits.

You can read about some of their experiences here:
Heroes Return
Memories of War
Heroes Return blog
Second World War commemorative booklets

You may also be interested in the following:

The Big Lottery Fund has invested £35 million in the Forces in Mind Trust supporting the psychological well-being and successful and sustainable transition of veterans and their families into civilian life

Veterans Reunited Evaluation

Review of our programmes that have supported older people

There are a number of organisations that support veterans. You can find out about some of them here:

Veterans UK
The British Legion
COBSEO (Confederation of Service Charities)

Heroes Return 2 provides Lottery funding to help World War II veterans that saw active service and are resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland to take part in commemorative visits (within the UK and overseas) to mark the anniversary of events that led to the end of WWII.

Big Lottery Fund Chair of Peter Ainsworth speaks about the veterans and the programme.

Heroes Return by BigLotteryFund

Download the podcast transcript

Who can apply?

WWII veterans resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland who saw active service overseas with or alongside the British and Allied Armed Forces in the Second World War. WWII veterans may be accompanied by a spouse and/or carer. Widows and widowers of WWII veterans are also eligible, in most cases.

We have extended our Heroes Return programme to enable veterans to apply for funding to make second trips. The programme deadline for closure will now be end of 2015. This will ensure Second World War veterans from the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland who have already been funded since the programme opened in 2009, will have a second opportunity to apply for a grant towards travel and accommodation expenses to enable them to make trips back to places across the world where they served, or make a commemorative visit in the UK.

What can you apply for?

The amount we will award is a fixed amount per veteran, depending on the number of people taking part and the destination. This means that the amount of grant we will award will depend on where you visit.


Organisation Types

  • Individual
  • Voluntary or community organisation


  • Veterans