16 May 2010

A memorial decades late

Late last week it was announced that a permanent monument is to be built to commemorate the thousands of Bomber Command aircrew who died during WWII.

Westminster Council gave permission for the open style pavilion at the Piccadilly entrance to Green Park. The memorial, which should be built by 2012, will commemorate the 55,573 crew of Bomber Command, with an average age of 22, who were killed in World War II.

The roof of the pavilion, made from Portland Stone, will be open to the sky and the open entrance will be made from melted down aluminium sections of a Halifax bomber shot down during the war and in which all seven of the crew were killed. It will also house a sculpture of the seven aircrew by the sculptor Philip Jackson.

The memorial will contain inscriptions, carvings, and a dedication. There will also be inscriptions from Winston Churchill, who said in a speech to Parliament in 1940: "The gratitude of every home in our island ... and indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who undaunted by odds, un-weakened by their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and their devotion."

It is high time that a memorial was raised to these brave men, nearly half of whom gave their lives during WWII., My father, a Bomber Command veteran himself (although by flying his first op at 16 he helped bring the average crew age down!) is glad that recognition comes at long last but, lie a lot of aircrew, he is not too pleased at the idea of Churchill quotes. Many veterans feel that Churchill sold Bomber Command down the river after the end of the war.

Further details about the memorial can be found at They Gave Everything


Claudia said...

I just finished reading every link of your link. Those wonderful, so very young, very brave men...Why did it take so long to acknowledge them in a public way, and recall their astonishing courage? My brother, who was in London, at the time of the blitzes, said the British answer, through their own pilots, was incredible. They were always on the go, no matter how many didn't return. He said the citizens were galvanised by the daring and perseverance of the RAF. We had some Canadians serving with them, their only chance to serve in this manner, as we owned no Bombers in Canada.

What a great man your father is! Imagine, being a Bomber Navigator at 16!!!Somehow, I can't envision any of today's 16-year-old being able to do a similar job.

The Memorial will reconnect your Dad with a very vivid part of his life. But to read, on the stone, all the names of the ones who didn't make it will be very emotional for him, I'm sure. All the best to the family, Jams.

jams o donnell said...

I just couldn't imagine doing what dad did at the age he was. Or even if older. Whatever one'sviews on the RAF's strategy, the bravery of these young men is awesome and so may did not live to have families.

OldTrumptonian said...

Long overdue, I hope they will be getting a campaign medal too.
Good to see the Halifax get a mention as well.

jams o donnell said...

Probably not now OT. As for campaing medals my dad is proud of his Aircrew Europe medal