Veterans give new memorial the thumbs up!
The official launch of the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Appeal took place on the 30thand 31st May at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre to an audience of over 350 guests including Bomber Command veterans. The events featured the unveiling of the winning design, The Spire of Names by Flight Engineer Sgt Syd Marshall, veteran of Bomber Command.
After a rousing video presentation (available to view here) an introduction from the vision behind the project, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth explained why the memorial was such an important project both to the Command and to the county. It will pay tribute to the 25,611 aircrew as listed in the Cathedral of Lincoln‘s Rolls of Honour, who came from the UK, The Commonwealth and the rest of the world, based on one of Lincolnshire’s 27 Bomber Command stations, who lost their lives in World War 2.
Newly appointed Vice Chief of Defence Staff and Appeal Trustee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, summarised the import of the Command to serving personnel and their pride in serving in the same force as these heroes.
Syd Marshall then told of his time serving with the Command. He was just 19 when he joined the 125,000 young men who flew on thousands of terrifying air raids to Germany.
“We went to remember them, and to pay tribute to the surviving veterans, all in their late eighties and nineties, who have waited such a long time to be remembered. The London Memorial is fantastic but to have one in Lincolnshire and that carries the names of those lost flying from the county is hugely important. The Interpretation Centre looks marvellous too; it will be wonderful to have a place to educate the next generations about the whole story of what happened to the Command”
Syd was joined by veterans Warrant Officer Buck Buckley, Flight Lieutenant Cyril Peters DFC and Flight Lieutenant Leslie Valentine who all gave the design their approval.
Created by award winning structural artist Walter Jack in conjunction with Atkins, one of the world’s leading design firms, the Spire of Names will stand as a significant and contemporarymemorial that will serve as not only a location for remembrance but also something that has international appeal for generations to come.
Walter Jack commented: “I am really delighted to be working on this project. I was struck firstly by the sheer numbers who gave their lives as volunteers to Bomber Command - and secondly by the stories of huge bravery and courage. If we can build something halfway worthy of these men we will have done well.”
Atkins Director Dominic Pask said: “We’ve designed all sorts of complex structures around the world but it’s not often you have the opportunity to apply these skills to a memorial which carries so much importance, so this is an extremely rewarding project to be involved in.”
The design process, which has been supported by the Arts Council of England, aimed to produce an iconic, significant and lasting national and international tribute to be erected on Canwick Hill above Lincoln and opposite the Cathedral. Lincoln Cathedral was used by the aircrews as a beacon to let them know that they had made it back safely. For those that didn’t make it back it was often the last marker they saw before leaving these shores.
The events got substantial coverage in the region’s media and the Express Newspaper group also covered the launch.
Can you help?
One of the many things the appeal would like to achieve is to tell the story of the people of the Command. In order to do this effectively we are looking for volunteers to help with the research. If you have any time spare and an interest in the history of the Command we would be very grateful for your support. There are lots of individual pieces of work held by various associations but we would like to build a comprehensive history including that information to bring those that served to life. To register your interest please email email@example.com
You can help by telling a friend all about us and what we're trying to achieve!
Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Office, Manor Farm, Holbeach Hurn, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE12 8LR
Registered Charity Number: 1144182
All postal donations should be forwarded to the above address.