Friday, 14 May 2010

Memorials............



Some very beautiful film of Lancasters in flight in HD.


Hullo ma wee blog,

Yesterday it was announced that there will be a £3.5 million memorial to the men of Bomber Command to be completed in London by 2012.  It brings to a conclusion the long fight for public recognition for the more than 55,500 Bomber Command aircrew killed in action during WWII. There has been a concerted campaign for public recognition since the end of the war, when the men felt that their sacrifice and effort was left ignored in the political aftermath of the war, due to the concerns over the area bombing campaign and the civilian losses resulting from it.

It was a fantastic announcement and one that obviously left me feeling a great degree of satisfaction.

From yesterdays Guardian newspaper.

"Just over 65 years after VE Day, Westminster council has finally given the go-ahead to a memorial dedicated to the memory of RAF Bomber Command and the bomber crews who flew over occupied Europe during the second world war and died in their thousands in what was one of the most dangerous missions for any wartime service personnel.

Among the UK's copious collection of war memorials are many famous and less well-known tributes: "the Few" of the Battle of Britain have two monuments, in Kent and in London; the Merchant Navy's memorial is at Tower Hill, London; the Desert Rats are commemorated at Thetford in Norfolk; Liverpool has a statue dedicated to those who crewed the ships of the Atlantic convoys, and there is another in Murmansk marking those lost in the Arctic convoys; and not forgetting the animals' war memorial next to Hyde Park in London. So why is it only now that the 55,573 bomber crew members killed – a casualty rate that meant a life expectancy of six weeks, only slightly longer than that of the estimated 540 fighter pilots killed in the Battle of Britain?

Winston Churchill said, in 1940: "The fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory." Yet Bomber Command's celebrated leader, Sir Arthur Harris, was not granted a memorial until 1992, and this monument to the crew has waited more than 65 years. There is a perception that the commemoration of the bomber crews' sacrifice was postponed because of a widespread moral unease about this aspect of Britain's wartime conduct: that dropping bombs on one's enemy is intrinsically unheroic; that the bombing of Germany was not "our finest hour"; that the heavy civilian loss of life was cruel and, some have argued, even criminal.

Was this memorial overdue or is it right to have qualms? If both are true, how can the two considerations be reconciled?"

I feel conflicted, upset and annoyed for being so, at myself today, when it has been announced that a new £80 Million memorial to the fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain is being added to the two that are already in existence. I feel of course it's right to commemorate, but is this overkill or am I just to close, too biased, too emotional.

Whatever the answer to that is, I feel somewhat sad, not for me but for the remaining bomber command aircrew, that the announcement today seems to take the shine of yesterdays 65 year long awaited result and once again throw into a sharp perspective just where the recognition lies.


what a shame.

see you later.

listening to BBC news.

2 comments:

coastkid said...

thats great news alistair...thanks for the info on that...

Rebecca S. said...

I guess all I have to say is that anyone who is sacrificed to war should be remembered. No matter the ethics, people gave their lives to the cause.
Incidentally, I'm listening to Grave Digger (a song on just that subject) by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Live at Radio City Music Hall. You might like that album.

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