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Cruise bans historian’s lectures on the Second World War after German passengers complain

A RESPECTED British historian booked for a military lecture series has been axed and told don’t mention the war – after scores of complaints from Germans.

Veteran speaker Jeff Chandler, 83, was signed up to give talks on Essex-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ maiden round-the-world trip.

Jeff Chandler is a respected historian and has been working as a guest speaker on cruises since 2009
Not known refer to copyright holder
Jeff Chandler is a respected historian and has been working as a guest speaker on cruises since 2009[/caption]

He delivered his first on the 120-day voyage on the evacuation of Dunkirk but some of the passengers took offence and complained.

Mr Chandler, from Swindon, then gave his second on the Crimea and announced his next was due to be about wartime leader Winston Churchill.

But around 30 of the 88 German travellers on board complain and his programme of talks were suddenly axed by CMV.

CMV cancelled Jeff Chandler’s lectures after 30 German passengers complained

It meant a planned talk on Anzac Day on the Gallipoli campaign by Jeff has also been canned, disappointing the Aussies on the ship.

Freedom of speech campaigners and supportive travellers on board the Magellan liner blasted the ban.

Former Met Police officer and passenger, Ted Keogh, said it was an utter disgrace.

He added: “Jeff is a great speaker and simply tells it like it was without any bias.

“If some guests found the subject matter uncomfortable, surely they could just stay away from the talks?

“To silence him like this is appalling.”

George Woollons, from Hull, said thought it might be a reaction to the Brexit vote.

He said: “Maybe they are getting their own back.

“Either way its a terrible decision.

“Cow towing to a few Germans is pretty pathetic.”

The German passengers complained after Jeff Chandler gave a lecture on the evacuation of Dunkirk
The German passengers complained after Jeff Chandler gave a lecture on the evacuation of Dunkirk

MP Philip Davies, who is not on the ship, said it seemed strange when informed of the row.

He added: “I am not entirely sure if they couldn’t operate on the basis, if you don’t like it, don’t go.

“As a historian, presumably he was going to give them just the facts.

“It seems a shame others are going to miss out because some people don’t want to be reminded of some aspects of history.”

Mr Chandler – who has spoken on numerous cruises – was understood to be bitterly disappointed but unable to comment because he was still under contract.

He was brought on board in Singapore with a contract to deliver a series of lectures on 19th and 20th century military history.

Due to the nature of the trip, which arrives back in the UK on May 5, he is still on the boat which has just cruised along the Suez Canal.

His lecture slots have been taken by a German professor.

Winston Churchill
Jeff Chandler was due to give a talk on the wartime leader Winston Churchill

Mr Chandler is a popular speaker and in 2012, the Silver Surfers website lavished him with praise for his informative style.

David George wrote of his work on P&O’s Arcadia: “On board there was much to keep us busy.

“Each morning, guest speaker Jeff Chandler presented talks about military battles and heroes like Winston Churchill and Douglas Bader.”

A YouTube video of the historian talking about D-Day shows an example of him speaking, with no suggestion of any offensive content.

And the CMV’s own website seems happy with his work, trumpeting him as a speaker on an upcoming 28-day cruise to Canada in August.

“Since March 2009 he [Mr Chandler] has been a regular guest speaker on cruise ships and has made over 275 presentations worldwide. His very popular talks are praised for being well informed and well balanced.”

A spokesman for CMV confirmed it acted and stopped the talks after complaints from passengers.

He said: “We are very sorry to hear that some passengers were not satisfied with the cancellation of a series of history lectures covering the 19th and 20th century.

“This was an informed decision based not on the quality and standard of the lectures themselves, but rather certain allegations by passengers as to the overall conduct of the particular lecturer on board.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused due to the regrettable cancellation of these lectures."