Bomber Command Memorial foundation stone laid

#1
Ministry of Defence said:
The foundation stone for a memorial to commemorate over 55,000 RAF Bomber Command airmen who were killed in World War Two was laid in Green Park, London, yesterday.

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#2
Not before bloody time.

It's a national disgrace these men were not properly commemorated or the surviving Bomber Command aircrew awarded proper recognition in 1945.
 
#4
It's a pity that the blokes that had the highest casulaty rate of any of the British arms during the war were ignored afterwards but better late than never -good news!
 
#6
Just before everyone gets in to some grieffest about the Bomber crews lack of memorial.

The IS a specific RAF memorial in London. Admittedly it covered all of the RAF. There has been a flying memorial (City of Lincoln but renamed now IIRC) with the RAF Memorial flight. Flying since the 1970s.

Back to Bomber Command. Britain was fcuked up royally by bombers. Admittedly they were German but, it is understandable why, perhaps, this sort of thing was quietly allowed to die down a bit. The fighters protected Britain, but the Bombers had more dire memories.

Worth pointing out that the Dutch have had a memorial to the crews of RAF Bomber Command for decades. But they remember a more humane mission for the crews... dropping food to a starving populace, cut off by the advancing allies from supplies after D Day.
 
T

Tinman74

Guest
#7
Just before everyone gets in to some grieffest about the Bomber crews lack of memorial.

The IS a specific RAF memorial in London. Admittedly it covered all of the RAF. There has been a flying memorial (City of Lincoln but renamed now IIRC) with the RAF Memorial flight.

Back to Bomber Command. Britain was fcuked up royally by bombers. Admittedly they were German but, it is understandable why, perhaps, this sort of thing was quietly allowed to die down a bit.

Worth pointing out that the Dutch have had a memorial to the crews of RAF Bomber Command for decades. But they remember a more humane mission for the crews... dropping food to a starving populace, cut off by the advancing allies from supplies after D Day.
i totally agree, the thought that these men can and have been tainted by the same brush as the SS, is abhorent we were at war at the time and Harris was a genius that payed for his service more than others, moving mud is always less photographic than dropping me109's over kent.
 
#8
Nothing to do with photogenic attributes.

As an aside is there a specific Fighter Command memorial? Excluding generic RAF/Armed Forces/those who died memorials and memorials to teh BoB?
 
#9
It's a pity that the blokes that had the highest casulaty rate of any of the British arms during the war were ignored afterwards but better late than never -good news!
Not to take away from Bomber Command but wasn't that the Merchant Navy?
 
#11
My Dad never talked about the war,apart from to an ex-Luftwaffe aircrewman who was the father of the owner of the Gasthaus they stayed at when they came out to visit me in Germany.The both of them got very drunk that night,the son translated for them both,both of them in tears.I suppose they realised they were doing the same job on different sides.I gather Dad & the Germans father kept in touch after my parents returned to the UK.
I took Dad around the war graves & he'd stop at certain ones like he knew the person there.The only thing Dad said about the war was that bombing Dresden should never have happened.
 
T

Tinman74

Guest
#12
Nothing to do with photogenic attributes.

As an aside is there a specific Fighter Command memorial? Excluding generic RAF/Armed Forces/those who died memorials and memorials to teh BoB?
ask a person about the RAF in WW2 they tend to respond spitfire, hurricane.. Bomber command took the fight to the enemy when we needed them to. Its public recgnition that counts for the few left alive!
 
#14
ask a person about the RAF in WW2 they tend to respond spitfire, hurricane.. Bomber command took the fight to the enemy when we needed them to. Its public recgnition that counts for the few left alive!
I am aware of such things. And it is fantastic news that this is finally getting going.

However, remember what Bomber Command did. British cities endured being on the receiving end for quite some time. I beleive that it was this, and the slightly pungent aroma of such bombings as Dresden and the American nuking of two cities that put paid to a public Bomber Command tribute at the time.
 
#15
Nothing to do with photogenic attributes.

As an aside is there a specific Fighter Command memorial? Excluding generic RAF/Armed Forces/those who died memorials and memorials to teh BoB?
The Battle of Britain Memorial is on the Embankment behind Main Building. Very impressive bit of bronze, too. Worth some time when you next visit CGS in Main Building!

There is a memorial to Fighter Command at Capel-le-Ferne in Folkestone. Pretty impressive, too.

The RAF also has a large memorial at Runnymede.

Litotes
 
#16
When was the Fighter Command one put up? The website doesn't seem to mention the date.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
The foundation stone for a memorial to commemorate over 55,000 RAF Bomber Command airmen who were killed in World War Two was laid in Green Park, London, yesterday.
Sorry you'll need to explain to me why the Mod feels the need to publish this?
Bit late to claim he glory when it should go to Robin Gibb and Sqn Leader Iveson and his muckers
Better still why don't you anounce a campaign medal for them?

I assume once it's built the ******* will want to hrow paint over it like they did with Sir Arthur Harris'
No doubt the peace loving people of Germany will remind us what a war crime area bombing was and teh Mayor of Dresden will tell us not one Nazi lived there
Never produce a old Jew to back that claim up though do they?
 
#18
As a percentage of men committed, no as I understand it.

I've always felt that they should have got their own campaign medal.
Too many civvies blown to pieces to get all triumphalist about.
Perhaps I’ve misunderstood what you’ve said here and you were being ironic, but I really don’t think the award of a campaign medal for Bomber Command aircrew is in any way triumphalist. Instead, it would offer a small measure of recognition for the enormous efforts and sacrifices made.

Rather than triumphant, the few former Bomber Command aircrew members I’ve met have always been extraordinarily humble about their often dreadful experiences. Many still and will always suffer because of the loss of so many colleagues and some are wracked by a sense of remorse even though their actions were almost always necessary and the decisions out of their hands in any case. And this says nothing about the wives and families that so many left behind and their recognition.

A campaign medal is long overdue in my opinion and it’s an issue of national shame that this situation wasn’t resolved a long time ago.

As I said, If I’ve misunderstood your post then I apologise.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
No doubt the peace loving people of Germany will remind us what a war crime area bombing was and the Mayor of Dresden will tell us not one Nazi lived there. Never produce a old Jew to back that claim up though do they?
The Luftwaffe pioneered area bombing - starting with Guernica in the Spanish civil war. The Blitz over the UK was pure area bombing - at night and aimed at city centres rather than purely military targets. They even used electronic bombing aids (X-Gerat, etc) a couple of years before the RAF. Before the Germans start bleating that Bomber Command's area bombing campaign was a war crime, they should remember that the Luftwaffe caused 60,000 UK casualties - the bulk of which occurred before the RAF got into its stride.

I have nothing but admiration for the Bomber Command aircrew - to keep flying when you know the odds of survival are heavily stacked against you takes a special kind of courage.

Yet, if there is blame to be allocated about the RAF area bombing campaign - and let us not forget it killed 600,000 German civilians - it should be aimed at the British command structure. Churchill (for example) was one of the most strident supporters of the bombing campaign during the war, yet rapidly distanced himself from it afterwards when the scale of destruction in Germany became apparent upon their surrender.

The Bomber Command war went through a number of stages:

(1) Learning (1939 - 1941)

Here Bomber Command was building up strength, experience and technique. They turned away from daylight bombing in 1939 when it became clear that bombers could not survive in daylight, but lacked the means to do serious damage to German cities. Indeed, RAF aircrew were being killed faster than German civilians at this time.

(2) Becoming Effective (1942 - 1943)

'Bomber' Harris arrived and began to transform the effectiveness of Bomber Command. You might argue that Harris's obsession with area bombing and refusal to contemplate alternatives mitigates against his claim to be one of the great commanders, but you can't deny his leadership skills in taking a slightly ramshackle organisation and turning it into a militarily effective striking force. It was during this period that area bombing began to really have an impact on Germany - the fire storm in Hamburg being the most destructive example.

(3) Turning Away (Jan - June 1944)

This was where Harris made his maximum effort to win the war by strategic bombing - the battle of Berlin, etc. It failed in that the Luftwaffe began to inflict casualties above the rate that Bomber Command could sustain. The orders to Harris to support the preparations for the Normandy invasion saved Harris - it is difficult to see him being allowed to sustain the level of casualties he was for much longer.

(4) Destruction (July 1944 - May 1945)

It was after the Allied invasion of France started to degrade the German defence system that Bomber Command achieved its maximum destructiveness. Bomber Command strength went up as casualty rates fell, and after the German radar system and night fighter force went into decline, they began to tear the heart out of numerous German cities. By the spring of 1945, a single Bomber Command raid of 750 aircraft was capable of destroying a city and causing massive casualties.

It is this latter period where the finger of blame should should be pointed at the British command system. There were alternatives to area bombing. The attack on oil was having a major effect of Germany's ability to supply fuel for ships, vehicles and aircraft, while the attack on the rail network had a serious effect on industrial production. Yet Harris was allowed to carry on his area bombing campaign - simply because none of his senior commanders (Portal, Churchill etc) had the political or moral will to order him to carry out the alternative forms of attack or resign.

Much of the post war opprobrium that Bomber Command has attracted comes from this latter phase of bombing. Would Bomber Command's hugely courageous aircrew - who had no say in the strategy they were ordered to pursue - be remembered more kindly if Harris's commanders had the will to order him to pursue other tactics in later 1944 and early 1945?

Wordsmith
 
#20
Much of the post war opprobrium that Bomber Command has attracted comes from this latter phase of bombing. Would Bomber Command's hugely courageous aircrew - who had no say in the strategy they were ordered to pursue - be remembered more kindly if Harris's commanders had the will to order him to pursue other tactics in later 1944 and early 1945?
The men themselves were still bladdy heroes thought.
 

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