The 12th April 2018 bought the long anticipated official opening of the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) in Lincoln – a memorial dedicated to all of Bomber Command and particularly the 57,861 who gave their lives during the campaign.
The centre has taken over 8 years to complete and includes a memorial spire (the same wingspan of a Lancaster Bomber), a peace garden and the Chadwick Centre which tells the story of Bomber Command through a variety of interactive exhibits, displays and archives.
The hard work and dedication of the late Tony Worth CVO, IBCC Chief Executive Nicky Barr and her incredible team to get the centre finished whilst some surviving Bomber Command veterans are still with us to see it – finally came to fruition. It had been a privilege to raise and contribute a small amount to this amazing project previously through fundraising activity – particularly running the Woodhall Spa 10k where I raised over £1,000 with friend Dave Newson.
Over 300 veterans with their families attended the event, along with circa 4,000 members of public. Unfortunately the weather didn’t read the script and low cloud, fog and freezing temperatures scuppered planned flypasts and accelerated some of the memorial service by John Sergeant – so to get the veterans back safely in the warmth of their marquee.
I was lucky to be able to attend along with my wife and her brother – both for whom it was also a very personal occasion as they finally saw the memorial stone dedicated to their grandfather – Sgt Robert ‘Bob’ Howes, Lancaster Rear Gunner of 44 & 207 Sqns. This on the Ribbon of Remembrance which joins the path from the Chadwick Centre up to the Memorial Spire.
A privilege to have been in the company of probably the last huge gathering of Bomber veterans – some of whom had been flown in especially from Australia and Canada to be there! Despite the weather they all appeared to have enjoyed a special day as did we.