We spent the day in Bomber Command Country which of course is around Lincoln. There were 27 airfields around here during the War. We visited one of those airfields but first headed close to Lincoln and its beautiful Cathedral to visit the International Bomber Command Centre. The International Bomber Command Centre is a World-Class facility acknowledging the efforts of Bomber Command During WWII. The project also covers the stories of those who suffered because of the bombing campaigns and those whose survival was guaranteed by the humanitarian operations of Bomber Command. During WWII over a million men and women served or supported Bomber Command. They came from 62 nations across the world and were united in their efforts to protect the freedom we enjoy today. The service included Aircrew, Ground Crew, Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Auxiliary Air Transport, Auxiliary Transport Services, NAAFI and many others.
57,861 MEN AND WOMEN GAVE THEIR LIVES SUPPORTING BOMBER COMMAND
We arrived at the Centre and were met by staff who thought that as we arrived in a big coach, we had the 30 children expected!! However, a lovely greeting was given us, and arrangements made for us to immediately go on a guided tour of the Centre. Our guide took us through all the aspects of the Centre including how it stated and who was the force behind it. It was in fact the Chief Constable of the Shire, the then Queen's representative in the Shire, who put forward the suggestion and carried it through against any opposition as Bomber Command had not been given the recognition that it deserved for their efforts and sacrifice. The Centre is basically a Memorial to those lost in and supporting Bomber Command. There are now memorial pavers laid on each side of the approach to the actual Memorial Centre that has the high Spire representing 2 different wings of 2 of the Bombers, Lancaster, and Halifax. In fact, the height of the Spire at the centre is the same as the width of the Lancaster Bomber's wing spread, 31 metres. The pavers are paid for by family and organisations with inscriptions to individuals, crews, or groups who served and supported Bomber Command and those lost in the campaign.
At present there is a display of all those lost in the Dambusters' Raid, figures cut out of thin steel individually crafted as a direct likeness to each individual. Also, there are 2 other figures, Barnes Wallace who designed the Bomb and Guy Gibson who led the raid.
There are also trees planted around the Memorial with a plaque beneath each tree noting the Airfields in the area during the War and the Squadrons that flew from that airfield, plus casualty totals. Very moving tribute to those lost.
From that experience we moved off east to one of the airfields listed at the Memorial, East Kirkby. There we were fortunate to see a Lancaster Bomber taxying with some people aboard who had paid for that experience. The noise of the Merlin engines when they went to full throttle was a wonderful sound and there were many visitors there able to capture the moment. The airfield is a complete historical site with many artifacts from the period including a Mosquito airplane that itself takes people taxying on the tarmac plus other airplanes and vehicles. An American Mitchell Bomber is undergoing refurbishment and may, in the future, join the Lancaster and Mosquito as more than static displays. While there we had lunch and visited many of the original buildings. Then home to the Petwood Hotel for another Private Dinner in the Dambusters' Bar. Tomorrow, we head to York for more adventures.