Yesterday saw the official ‘unveiling’ of the Bomber Command memorial in London. This is to remember the 55,000+ airmen who lost their lives serving their country. These were not the spitfire and hurricane pilots who were vaunted as our saviours after the war (the few who took on the might of the Luftwaffe). No these were the men who took the war to Europe in their Lancasters, Wellingtons and the like. The death and mayhem they caused is still a subject that causes controversy, however we were at war and I always find it somewhat bizarre when we grade acts and behaviour in war-time situations.
The bottom line is that these men were doing what they were told – no more no less – so they should not have be judged and ‘hidden away’ for over 60 years. The memorial has come too late for the majority who fought to see. That is very sad.
I have always had a ‘soft spot’ for the aircraft of the second world war period, and in particular the Lancaster. My late father was trained to fly as part of the Imperial Program which trained pilots in America and Canada. He returned to the UK to be trained on Lancs as a flight engineer towards the end of the war (there was a shortage of Engineers). He was put with a crew just as hostilities in Europe finished – consequently he never saw action, but it always makes me think of what might have been (or not in my case!)
So I do hope that the memorial becomes a regular addition to the activities on remembrance day, they really do deserve it!