Just along Green Park at Hyde Park Corner, lies one of the most evocative of London’s war memorials in honour of Bomber Command – the Royal Air Force.
I have passed this spot at least a hundred times since it was unveiled on 28th June 2012 by Her Majesty The Queen however I have never, until very recently, wandered over to take a closer look.
It was designed by architect Liam O’Connor and the classical portico is made from Portland Stone, housing a unique sculpture of seven life-sized Bomber Command aircrew, created by Philip Jackson.
The result of a 70-year battle to win recognition for the contribution and sacrifice made by the 125,000 men who served in Bomber Command, the crew stand endlessly looking out to the sky, ever alert, ever ready to answer the call to battle.
Bomber Command was launched in 1936 and played a critical role in World War II. This memorial pays tribute both to this band of 125,000 men making up Bomber Command – all volunteers – and to the nearly 50% who died – the 55,573 young men who lost their lives during the conflict. All were very young, many in their late teens and were drawn not only from the UK and Commonwealth but Allied nations too.
The roof replicated the geodetic construction used in the Wellington bomber and contains sections of aluminium recovered from a Halifax bomber shot down over Belgium in 1944. All their crew was lost.
The seven columns reflect the seven statues making up the memorial. It can’t help but move you and on this 11th day of the 11th month, we will remember them.
Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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