A memorial to Bomber Command was officially unveiled on June 28th 2012 by Queen Elizabeth II. The Bomber Command Memorial is in Green Park, central London, and commemorates the 55,573 men who died flying with Bomber Command. The memorial cost £7.5 million: £6 million to build with £1.5 million for the initial upkeep.
The memorial is made of Portland stone and its centre piece is a nine feet bronze sculpture by Philip Jackson of a seven-man Lancaster bomber crew returning from a mission. The memorial’s ceiling mimics the criss-cross geodetic air frame of a Wellington bomber and is constructed of aluminium recovered from a Handley Page Halifax III bomber shot down over Belgium on May 12th, 1944, killing its eight crew members. LW682 was recovered from a swamp in Schendelbeke in 1997 with three of the crew still in the aircraft. They – Wilbur Bentz (pilot), John Summerhayes (mid-upper gunner) and Fred Roach (tail gunner) were buried with the other crew members at Geraardsbergen.
The memorial received the support of the Germans as an inscription can be found on the memorial that commemorates all those who lost their lives during the bombings.
“The inscription is a further gesture of reconciliation between Britain and Germany.” Heike Grossmann, spokeswoman for the Mayor of Dresden.
The architect of the memorial pavilion is Liam O’Connor.
The last surviving member of the legendary Dambuster Raid, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson was at the unveiling:
“I’ve been disappointed in the past because it’s taken so long to get a memorial but having seen it I can say it’s a great tribute to the men who died. I think it’s extremely important that it is there to remind us of what those fellows gave their lives for.”
“I like the fact that the memorial shows the crew looking like they have come back, tired, and just wanting to get to bed. I know that feeling.” Colin Frazer
“It’s a focus point so we can remember the victims, and also of enormous comfort to relatives, who have done so much to bring it about.” Ron Clark, DFC.
The RAF Benevolent Fund will maintain the memorial at an expected cost of £1.5 per year.
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