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Bomber Command Memorial

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Bomber Command Memorial

Old 14th May 2010, 16:43
  #21 (permalink)  
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I wondered how long before the old Bomber Command Medal argument would be revived. As Chugalug has pointed out, this has been discussed ad nauseam, usually by people talking from a depth of ignorance on the subject

Just so as we all know - Bomber Command were not uniquely denied a medal - no campaign medals were issued to formations after WW2 - all were theatre awards. Indeed the Aircrew Europe Star awarded to all Bomber Command Aircrew up to D Day is in itself almost exclusively a Bomber Command award, so Bomber Command aircrew did rather better than most in this respect.

I have also seen Harris's argument that the rigours undergone by groundcrew during long hours on Bomber Command airfields entitled them to something more than the Defence Medal. Try telling a fireman who served through the London Blitz that his services were less deserving than an airman on an airfield somewhere in East Anglia - and yet he had to be satisfied with just the Defence Medal.

I am 100% in support of the Bomber Command Memorial and look forward to seeing it completed - but let's let this business of the medal go at last.
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Old 14th May 2010, 17:31
  #22 (permalink)  
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Have to admit that I thin it a bit ironic that they will use a Churchill quote on the memorial when ...

Veterans of Bomber Command have always believed their fallen comrades became victims of political correctness after the war as politicians sought to distance themselves from the policy of area bombing, which led to widespread civilian casualties.

Even Churchill himself snubbed Bomber Command when he highlighted the vital contribution of every branch of the services in winning the war, but pointedly made no reference to the Bomber Boys.
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Old 14th May 2010, 20:08
  #23 (permalink)  
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Isn't it just wonderful? That there is, finally, to be a memorial, and in such a prominent site. I've read all the arguments over the years, about who said what etc, but all of that changed nothing because what was really fundamental about the whole issue was that 55, 000 young men, volunteers all, died.

Soon, there won't be any living links to those men, but as someone has said here there should be no limits set on the time we remember them, and the new memorial does just that. I would go futher and suggest that evey single name should be inscribed; there are precedents for doing so, and what more can we do than record permanently in stone the names of the dead?

On 1 March 2009,Some 200 veterans of the RAF’s World War II Bomber Command were joined by almost as many relatives, friends and onlookers to see the New Zealand Bomber Command Association’s memorial to fallen comrades unveiled in the Auckland War Memorial Museum .It is a much more modest affair compared to that proposed in London, being simply a freestanding bronze sculpture of a Lancaster crew with a Lancaster coming out of a marble background. It acknowledges the huge contribution New Zealand had made to Bomber Command and the sacrifice – some 6,000 had served and of these almost 2,000 had given their lives, by far the highest proportion of any country in the Commonwealth.

Last edited by Samuel; 14th May 2010 at 20:19.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 14:06
  #24 (permalink)  
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Dresden mayor to ask Boris Johnson: 'Don't build Bomber Command crews memorial' | Mail Online
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 14:10
  #25 (permalink)  
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Sounds like a good arguement for the memorial.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 14:24
  #26 (permalink)  
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Protecting The Legacy

When first unveiled, the statue of Sir Arthur Harris was vandalised several times. I suspect the same fate awaits the Bomber Command Memorial, unless some thought is given to its protection. Its location seems to offer free access for anybody who wants to attack it and I should have wished for a location which allowed the site to be closed off when not open to the public.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 16:56
  #27 (permalink)  
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I suspect the same fate awaits the Bomber Command Memorial
You may be right, but the Harris memorial was specifically targeted because of who he was (ie it wasn't random vandalism). I wonder, therefore, if the vandals may make a distinction between the instigator of the carpet bombing policy (who should have been aware that it wasn't working) and those who bravely carried out the orders. Far from guaranteed, I grant you (and there's always the risk from random vandalism, but here's hoping!
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 19:37
  #28 (permalink)  
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the instigator of the carpet bombing policy
So who was that then? Certainly not Harris who took over the Bombing Campaign which had already switched by fait accompli to bombing by night in the face of the huge losses sustained by day. That was the policy and it was Harris's duty to execute it. That he was an enthusiast of Strategic Bombing is hardly surprising as that was presumably what got him the job! I don't think that there was ever a policy of "Carpet Bombing" per se which was a journalistic rather than military description of the campaign. hence the urgent and costly endeavours to improve bombing accuracy right up to the very end. The reality was that if crews managed to find the target city they were to be congratulated, let alone the particular IP. To suggest that the average off target error achieved (5 miles at one point I believe) was a deliberate policy of Harris to ensure a "carpet of bombs" is a slur on him and his crews. City areas were targeted as it was unrealistic to expect anything more of Main Force. It was as good as you got by night over Europe in hostile skies with crews who mostly never survived long enough to qualify as experienced.
the Harris memorial was specifically targeted because of who he was
Well he was the AOC-in-C, diligently carrying out the orders of the Air Board and the War Cabinet. That they all abandoned him along with the Churchill, is a comment on them all rather than he. Same goes for the Neanderthals who "targeted" his statue. Sorry scratch the last, totally unwarranted slur on the Neanderthals!
Oh, one more thing. It didn't work? I have to disagree, crude as it was the Bombing Campaign was a war winning one in my view. Of course we would have had to not conduct it and still win for your view to be anything more than the prevailing "wisdom".
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 20:18
  #29 (permalink)  
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Wasn't Dresden a key junction for the Germans facing the red Army's advance?
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 20:45
  #30 (permalink)  
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While we are remembering Bomber Command it would be nice to also remember the men of the US 8th Army Air Force who carried the bomber offensive to Germany by day. I have no knowledge of the numbers of their losses, but they must have been on the same scale as that suffered by Bomber Command. The two Schweinfurt raids alone produced a horrific casualty list. I am not aware of a specific memorial to them in this country - does anyone know if there is one in the US?
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 21:01
  #31 (permalink)  
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Half of the U.S. Army Air Force’s casualties in WW II were suffered by Eighth Air Force (more than 47,000 casualties, with more than 26,000 dead). Seventeen Medals of Honor went to Eighth Air Force personnel during the war.
The biggest Cemetary is near Cambridge...

Here is a link: American Battle Monuments Commission

Despite what we grumble about them, we owe the US a great debt for their sacrifice (IMHO).

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Old 8th Sep 2010, 11:37
  #32 (permalink)  
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Thanks LJ - very impressive and very moving.
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Old 8th Sep 2010, 15:14
  #33 (permalink)  
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Eighth Air Force Memorial

There is a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. Not nearly as impressive as the one under discussion.

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Old 8th Sep 2010, 21:37
  #34 (permalink)  
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There is a memorial to the US airmen, including those of the 8th AF who did not return is located on the approaches to the entrance of the AAM at Duxford.

A series of etched glass panels...each plane representing one and its crew which did not return....

The number of planes per panel and then the number of panels gives an hint of the numbers...

The American Air Museum > Counting the Cost Memorial Sculpture
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Old 8th Sep 2010, 23:00
  #35 (permalink)  
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Just because some uninformed politicly correct revisionist may try to damage the Bomber command memorial is no reason not to build it......... It is vital that the nation is reminded of the price of freedom.

As to the Mayor of Dresden I would ask her to try to think what the victims of the gas chambers and ask what they would say about the people who were working towards the destruction of the Nazi's. I very much doubt that the victims of the Nazi's death camps would object to this memorial.

It seems very easy for this Mayor to forget the millions of men, women and children that the Nazi's sent to their deaths for no other reason that they did not fit in to Hitlers idea of what the human race should be.

I am proud of the efforts of Bomber command, I have no regrets of the actions that were taken as these were what was seen as what was required at the time and reasonable with the information avalable to those who were responsable for the planning of such raids.

There is no doubt that with the information avalable now the bomber offensive could have been better run, more effective and caused less destruction to the German civil population but this is looking back, it my opinion that the people involved did the best job that they could given the information and resorces that they had avalable at the time.

My message to to the Mayor of Dresden is to look inward to the German history of the 1930 to 1945 period and ask her if she feels proud of this?

I can look back and feel proud of all of the people who took some part in the destructon of the most evil govenment to ever soil the face of this planet.

I hold all the Bomber crews in the greatest of respect and cannot fail to remember the 55,000 who did not return. The very least we can do in their memory is to errect this memorial.
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Old 8th Sep 2010, 23:34
  #36 (permalink)  
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A and C

Well said fella

By the way:

Just because some uninformed politicly correct revisionist may try to damage the Bomber command memorial is no reason not to build it.........
Have you just shortlisted what will be mounted on a plinth nearby?

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Old 8th Sep 2010, 23:40
  #37 (permalink)  
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Well said A and C. The one thing that drives the survivors, conscious both of their own longevity and of the approaching and inevitable final curtain is that a proper national memorial to their fallen comrades, who enjoyed such brief lives and suffered all too often terrible and fearful ends, be at last provided. Rather than worry at how this reads in Dresden or for that matter any other German city and town that were their targets night after night from the very beginning to the very end of WW2 in Europe, we would do better to hang our heads in shame at the slight their sacrifice has suffered for some 65 years. 55573 dead and a mere simple stone set in a Cathedral to remember them by. We pride ourselves on our tolerance and understanding but we can also be very hard and very cruel!
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Old 8th Sep 2010, 23:54
  #38 (permalink)  
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As a British serviceman in Germany attached to the Bundeswehr I took my wife and children to visit the German Navy war memorial near Kiel. It is to all the U-Boat crews who lost their lives in WW2 fighting for their country. The memorial is beautiful and lists the 700 or more U-Boats sunk by date and lists their crews who died, thousands of them.
We were moved and humbled. Though the young men listed had been our enemies, had killed thousands of my own countrymen and women and nearly brought my country to its knees, I felt only humility and compassion for them and their families and saluted their bravery and sacrifice. They too were doing their duty.
Memorials to the fallen do not glorify war. They honour the sacrifice of those who fought in their country's defence and show the cost of war. We will remember them! Incidentally most of the money for this one comes from donations, not from the taxpayer.
The Bomber Command memorial is long overdue. Perhaps the Mayor of Dresden should visit the U-Boat memorial in her own country and think about what such memorials really represent before daring to meddle in our business.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 07:12
  #39 (permalink)  
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...On the issue regarding accusations that the official policy of RAF carpet bombing of German cities was carried out on orders originating from
ACM Harris - or that Harris was acting on policy and orders from the UK Govt and Air Ministry - and that Churchill distanced himself from Bomber Commands achievments towards the end of the war - Whilst acknowledging that without Churchill this nation may well not have survied the war - Never-the-less Churchill has 'form' for distancing himself from controversey and disasters - in what has been described as this nations greatest military disaster - The Fall of Singapore - whereby it is recorded that Churchill himself has some awkward questions to answere that
led up to the disaster and that he promised a 'full investigation' would be instigated after the war - but all conveniently swept under the carpet and forgotten - Leaving Churchill free of any possible accusations or blame.

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Old 9th Sep 2010, 11:55
  #40 (permalink)  
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I can look back and feel proud of all of the people who took some part in the destructon of the most evil govenment to ever soil the face of this planet.
Yes, I too cast my vote in this year's general election.

As for the lady Mayoress of Dresden: our country, our aircrew, our memorial, our business. Ironically this memorial concerns a previous occasion when a German politician aspired to dictate the internal affairs of the UK.
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