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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree April 2018 > International Bomber Command Centre Archives

International Bomber Command Centre Archives

High on a hill overlooking the city of Lincoln, an awe-inspiring memorial has taken shape. Angela Youngmaninvestigates the significance of this for the people who served in Bomber Command and to their descendants todayf

RESTORING A CHAPTER OF WWII HISTORY

The memorial, with a Lancaster Bomber on a fly past

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) is not only a memorial to those who died but is a living archive offering hitherto unavailable and unique records for family historians.

‘This is the first time the International Bomber Command has been recognised’, explains Nicky Barr, director of the centre. ‘They were the only group who were not mentioned in Churchill’s Victory Speech in 1945. We get veterans, their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren coming here. When the Spire memorial was unveiled in 2015, 312 veterans from across the world visited. It was the biggest gathering of Bomber Boys since 1946. It was the proudest and most emotional day of my life.’

Unacknowledged

In the aftermath of the war, few wanted to acknowledge the work of Bomber Command due to the issues surrounding the bombing of cities like Dresden and Hamburg on the orders of Churchill at Stalin’s request. The death toll was horrendous as was the sheer scale of destruction, resulting in severe criticism of Bomber Command. Yet these were the people who had also conducted some of the most outstanding missions such as the Dambusters, people who had flown night after night on bombing missions throughout Continental Europe. The death rate within Bomber Command was high – second only to serving in submarines. Life spans were short; many died on their first bombing operation.

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